Frankenstein

ISBN-10: 0553212478
ISBN-13: 9780553212471
Edition: 2003 (Reprint)
List price: $5.95 Buy it from $0.95
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Description: "I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts  kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I  saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and  then, on the working of some powerful engine, show  signs of life and stir with an uneasy,  More...

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Book details

List price: $5.95
Copyright year: 2003
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 5/1/1984
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 4.00" wide x 6.90" long x 0.45" tall
Weight: 0.286
Language: English

"I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts  kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I  saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and  then, on the working of some powerful engine, show  signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital  motion." A summer evening's ghost stories,  lonely insomnia in a moonlit Alpine's room, and a  runaway imagination--fired by philosophical  discussions with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley about  science, galvanism, and the origins of  life--conspired to produce for Marry Shelley this haunting  night specter. By morning, it had become the germ of  her Romantic  masterpiece, Frankenstein. Written in 1816 when she was only  nineteen, Mary Shelley's novel of "The Modern  Prometheus" chillingly dramatized the dangerous  potential of life begotten upon a laboratory table. A  frightening creation myth for our own time,  Frankenstein remains one of the greatest  horror stories ever written and is an undisputed  classic of its kind.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in England on August 30, 1797. Her parents were two celebrated liberal thinkers, William Godwin, a social philosopher, and Mary Wollstonecraft, a women's rights advocate. Eleven days after Mary's birth, her mother died of puerperal fever. Four motherless years later, Godwin married Mary Jane Clairmont, bringing her and her two children into the same household with Mary and her half-sister, Fanny. Mary's idolization of her father, his detached and rational treatment of their bond, and her step-mother's preference for her own children created a tense and awkward home. Mary's education and free-thinking were encouraged, so it should not surprise us today that at the age of sixteen she ran off with the brilliant, nineteen-year old and unhappily married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley became her ideal, but their life together was a difficult one. Traumas plagued them: Shelley's wife and Mary's half-sister both committed suicide; Mary and Shelley wed shortly after he was widowed but social disapproval forced them from England; three of their children died in infancy or childhood; and while Shelley was an aristocrat and a genius, he was also moody and had little money. Mary conceived of her magnum opus, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, when she was only nineteen when Lord Byron suggested they tell ghost stories at a house party. The resulting book took over two years to write and can be seen as the brilliant creation of a powerful but tormented mind. The story of Frankenstein has endured nearly two centuries and countless variations because of its timeless exploration of the tension between our quest for knowledge and our thirst for good. Shelley drowned when Mary was only 24, leaving her with an infant and debts. Mary died in 1851 at the age of 54 from a brain tumor.

Diane Johnson is an American-born novelist and essayist. A two-time finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in three different genres--essay, biography,and fiction--she is the author of the bestselling novel Le Divorce, a 1997 National Book Award finalist, as well as twelve other books, including the novels Persian Nights, Health and Happiness, Lying Low, The Shadow Knows, and Burning (all available in Plume editions).  She is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and splits her time between San Francisco and Paris.

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