Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one of the masterpieces of nineteenth-century Gothicism. While stay-ing in the Swiss Alps in 1816 with her lover Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and others, Mary, then eighteen, began to concoct the story of Dr. Victor Frankenstein and the monster he brings to life by electricity. Written in a time of great personal tragedy, it is a subversive and morbid story warning against the dehumanization of art and the corrupting influence of science. Packed with allusions and literary references, it is also one of the best thrillers ever written. Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus was an instant bestseller on publication in 1818. The prototype of the science fiction novel, it has spawned countless imitations and adaptations but retains its original power.
This Modern Library edition includes a new Introduction by Wendy Steiner, the chair of the English department at the University of Pennsylvania and author of The Scandal of Pleasure.
Mary Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in 1797 in London. She eloped to France with Shelley, whom she married in 1816. After Frankenstein, she wrote several novels, including Valperga and Falkner, and edited editions of the poetry of Shelley, who had died in 1822. Mary Shelley died in London in 1851.
About the Author
Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was born in 1797, the daughter of two of the leading radical writers of the age. Her mother died just days after her birth and she was educated at home by her father and encouraged in literary pursuits. She eloped with and subsequently married the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, but their life together was full of hardship. The couple were ruined by disapproving parents and Mary lost three of her four children. Although its subject matter was extremely dark, her first novel Frankenstein (1818) was an instant sensation. Subsequent works such as Mathilda (1819), Valperga (1823) and The Last Man (1826) were less successful but are now finally receiving the critical acclaim that they deserve.