Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who through a strangely unorthodox experiment creates a grotesque yet sentient being. Victor, repulsed by the thing that he has created, abandons the monster. The creature in turn saddened by this rejection, departs as well. What follows is a series of tragic events. There is no greater novel in the monster genre than “Frankenstein” and no more well known monster than the one that is at the center of this novel. However, the monster of “Frankenstein” is more than the common lumbering moronic giant that is most often represented. Frankenstein’s monster is in reality a thinking intelligent being who is tormented by a world in which he does not belong. In this depiction Shelley draws upon the universal human themes of creation, the nature of existence, and the need for acceptance. For it is without this acceptance that the true monster, the violent nature of humanity, emerges. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper and includes introductions by Sir Walter Scott and Mary Shelley.
Frankenstein, loved by many decades of readers and praised by such eminent literary critics as Harold Bloom, seems hardly to need a recommendation. If you haven’t read it recently, though, you may not remember the sweeping force of the prose, the grotesque, surreal imagery, and the multilayered doppelgänger themes of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece. As fantasy writer Jane Yolen writes of this (the reviewer’s favorite) edition, “The strong black and whites of the main text [illustrations] are dark and brooding, with unremitting shadows and stark contrasts. But the central conversation with the monster–who owes nothing to the overused movie image … but is rather the novel’s charnel-house composite–is where [Barry] Moser’s illustrations show their greatest power … The viewer can all but smell the powerful stench of the monster’s breath as its words spill out across the page. Strong book-making for one of the world’s strongest and most remarkable books.
Highbridge Audio; Abridged edition (October 1, 1994)