Mary Shelley's classic horror, Frankenstein, has been popular with readers since its first publication in 1818. Although the image of Frankenstein is an enduring motif in our society, the many film and stage adaptations fail to do justice to the novel's complex ethical and philosophical themes: nature versus nurture, good against evil and,(echoing modern concerns on the genetic manipulation of organisms) how far Humanity may justifiably meddle with any living creature.
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.