Shelley's enduringly popular and rich gothic tale confronts some of the most feared innovations of evolutionism and science--topics such as degeneracy, hereditary disease, and humankind's ability to act as creator of the modern world. This new edition, based on the harder and wittier 1818 version of the text, draws on new research and examines the novel in the context of the controversial radical sciences developing in the years following the Napoleonic Wars, and shows the relationship of Frankenstein's experiment to the contemporary debate between champions of materialistic science and proponents of received religion.
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." Includes an illuminating afterword by Joyce Carol Oates.