Frankenstein

Frankenstein

by Mary Shelley

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Overview


Two hundred years have passed since Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, and yet it’s still considered a literary classic, one of the most recognizable stories in popular culture, and a horror icon around the world.

Pasaron doscientos años desde que Mary Shelley escribió Frankenstein y todavía hoy es considerado no sólo un clásico de la literatura, sino una de las historias más reconocidas de la cultura popular y un ícono del terror a lo largo del mundo.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781480477070
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 03/18/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 258
Sales rank: 10,981
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Mary Shelley (1797–1851) was the only daughter of the political philosopher William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, celebrated author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. At the age of sixteen, Shelley (then Mary Godwin) scandalized English society by eloping with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was married. Best known for the genre-defining Frankenstein (1818), she was a prolific writer of fiction, travelogues, and biographies during her lifetime, and was instrumental in securing the literary reputation of Percy Shelley after his tragic death.

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Chapter One

I am by birth a Genevese; and my family is one of the most distinguished of that republic. My ancestors had been for many years counsellors and syndics; and my father had filled several public situations with honour and reputation. He was respected by all who knew him for his integrity and indefatigable attention to public business. He passed his younger days perpetually occupied by the affairs of his country; a variety of circumstances had prevented his marrying early, nor was it until the decline of life that he became a husband and the father of a family.

As the circumstances of his marriage illustrate his character, I cannot refrain from relating them. One of his most intimate friends was a merchant, who, from a flourishing state, fell, through numerous mischances, into poverty. This man, whose name was Beaufort, was of a proud and unbending disposition, and could not bear to live in poverty and oblivion in the same country where he had formerly been distinguished for his rank and magnificence. Having paid his debts, therefore, in the most honourable manner, he retreated with his daughter to the town of Lucerne, where he lived unknown and in wretchedness. My father loved Beaufort with the truest friendship, and was deeply grieved by his retreat in these unfortunate circumstances. He bitterly deplored the false pride which led his friend to a conduct so little worthy of the affection that united them. He lost no time in endeavouring to seek him out, with the hope of persuading him to begin the world again through his credit and assistance.

Beaufort had taken effectual measures to conceal himself; and it was ten months before my father discovered his abode. Overjoyed at this discovery, he hastened to the house, which was situated in a mean street, near the Reuss. But when he entered, misery and despair alone welcomed him. Beaufort had saved but a very small sum of money from the wreck of his fortunes; but it was sufficient to provide him with sustenance for some months, and in the meantime he hoped to procure some respectable employment in a merchant's house. The interval was, consequently, spent in inaction; his grief only became more deep and rankling when he had leisure for reflection; and at length it took so fast hold of his mind that at the end of three months he lay on a bed of sickness, incapable of any exertion.

His daughter attended him with the greatest tenderness; but she saw with despair that their little fund was rapidly decreasing, and that there was no other prospect of support. But Caroline Beaufort possessed a mind of an uncommon mould; and her courage rose to support her in her adversity. She procured plain work; she plaited straw; and by various means contrived to earn a pittance scarcely sufficient to support life.

Several months passed in this manner. Her father grew worse; her time was more entirely occupied in attending him; her means of subsistence decreased; and in the tenth month her father died in her arms, leaving her an orphan and a beggar. This last blow overcame her; and she knelt by Beaufort's coffin, weeping bitterly, when my father entered the chamber. He came like a protecting spirit to the poor girl, who committed herself to his care; and after the interment of his friend, he conducted her to Geneva, and placed her under the protection of a relation. Two years after this event Caroline became his wife.

There was a considerable difference between the ages of my parents, but this circumstance seemed to unite them only closer in bonds of devoted affection. There was a sense of justice in my father's upright mind, which rendered it necessary that he should approve highly to love strongly. Perhaps during former years he had suffered from the late discovered unworthiness of one beloved, and so was disposed to set a greater value on tried worth. There was a show of gratitude and worship in his attachment to my mother, differing wholly from the doating fondness of age, for it was inspired by reverence for her virtues, and a desire to be the means of, in some degree, recompensing her for the sorrows she had endured, but which gave inexpressible grace to his behaviour to her. Everything was made to yield to her wishes and her convenience. He strove to shelter her, as a fair exotic is sheltered by the gardener, from every rougher wind, and to surround her with all that could tend to excite pleasurable emotion in her soft and benevolent mind. Her health, and even the tranquillity of her hitherto constant spirit, had been shaken by what she had gone through. During the two years that had elapsed previous to their marriage my father had gradually relinquished all his public functions; and immediately after their union they sought the pleasant climate of italy, and the change of scene and interest attendant on a tour through that land of wonders, as a restorative for her weakened frame.

From Italy they visted Germany and France. I, their eldest child, was born in Naples, and as an infant accompanied them in their rambles. I remained for several years their only child. Much as they were attached to each other, they seemed to draw inexhaustible stores of affection from a very mine of love to bestow them upon me. My mother's tender caresses, and my father's smile of benevolent pleasure while regarding me, are my first recollections. I was their plaything and their idol, and something better—their child, the innocent and helpless creature bestowed on them by Heaven, whom to bring up to good, and whose future lot it was in their hands to direct to happiness or misery, according as they fulfilled their duties towards me. With this deep consciousness of what they owed towards the being to which they had given life, added to the active spirit of tenderness that animated both, it may be imagined that while during every hour of my infant life I received a lesson of patience, of charity, and of self control, I was so guided by a silken cord that all seemed but one train of enjoyment to me.

For a long time I was their only care. My mother had much desired to have a daughter, but I continued their single offspring. When I was about five years old, while making an excursion beyond the frontiers of Italy, they passed a week on the shores of the Lake of Como. Their benevolent disposition often made them enter the cottages of the poor. This, to my mother, was more than a duty; it was a necessity, a passion—remembering what she had suffered, and how she had been relieved—for her to act in her turn the guardian angel to the afflicted. During one of their walks a poor cot in the foldings of a vale attracted their notice as being singularly disconsolate, while the number of half-clothed children gathered about it spoke of penury in its worst shape. One day, when my father had gone by himself to Milan, my mother, accompanied by me, visited this abode. She found a peasant and his wife, hard working, bent down by care and labour, distributing a scanty meal to five hungry babes. Among these there was one which attracted my mother far above all the rest. She appeared of a different stock. The four others were dark eyed, hardy little vagrants; this child was thin, and very fair. Her hair was the brightest living gold, and, despite the poverty of her clothing, seemed to set a crown of distinction on her head. Her brow was clear and ample, her blue eyes cloudless, and her lips and the moulding of her face so expressive of sensibility and sweetness, that none could behold her without looking on her as of a distinct species, a being heaven-sent, and bearing a celestial stamp in all her features.

The peasant woman, perceiving that my mother fixed eyes of wonder and admiration on this lovely girl, eagerly communicated her history. She was not her child, but the daughter of a Milanese nobleman. Her mother was a German, and had died on giving her birth. The infant had been placed with these good people to nurse: they were better off then. They had not been long married, and their eldest child was but just born. The father of their charge was one of those Italians nursed in the memory of the antique glory of Italy—one among the schiavi ognor frementi, who exerted himself to obtain the liberty of his country. He became the victim of its weakness. Whether he had died, or still lingered in the dungeons of Austria, was not known. His property was confiscated, his child became an orphan and a beggar. She continued with her foster parents, and bloomed in their rude abode, fairer than a garden rose among dark-leaved brambles.

When my father returned from Milan, he found playing with me in the hall of our villa a child fairer than pictured cherub—a creature who seemed to shed radiance from her looks, and whose form and motions were lighter than the chamois of the hills. The apparition was soon explained. With his permission my mother prevailed on her rustic guardians to yield their charge to her. They were fond of the sweet orphan. Her presence had seemed a blessing to them; but it would be unfair to her to keep her in poverty and want, when Providence afforded her such powerful protection. They consulted their village priest, and the result was that Elizabeth Lavenza became the inmate of my parents' house—my more than sister the beautiful and adored companion of all my occupations and my pleasures.

Every one loved Elizabeth. The passionate and almost reverential attachment with which all regarded her became, while I shared it, my pride and my delight. On the evening previous to her being brought to my home, my mother had said playfully—"I have a pretty present for my Victor—to-morrow he shall have it." And when, on the morrow, she presented Elizabeth to me as her promised gift, I, with childish seriousness, interpreted her words literally, and looked upon Elizabeth as mine—mine to protect, love, and cherish. All praises bestowed on her, I received as made to a possession of my own. We called each other familiarly by the name of cousin. No word, no expression could body forth the kind of relation in which she stood to me—my more than sister, since till death she was to be mine only.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Frankenstein"
by .
Copyright © 2003 Mary Shelley.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Mystery on the ice -- The dead come back to life -- Death in the family -- A broken promise -- The end of Frankenstein.

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“The new Penguin Horror editions, selected by Guillermo del Toro, feature some of the best art-direction (by Paul Buckley) I've seen in a cover in quite some time.” – Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

"Each cover does a pretty spectacular job of evoking the mood of the title in bold, screenprint-style iconography." – Dan Solomon, Fast Company

EBOOK COMMENTARY

Out of that vampire-laden fug of gruesomeness known as the English Gothic Romance, only the forbidding acrid name of Frankenstein remains in general usage... Mary Shelley had courage, she was inspired. Frankenstein has entertained, delighted and harrowed generations of readers to this day.

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Frankenstein 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1166 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very misunderstood story that sparked a concept that took on a life of it's own. There is no scary castle, no hunchback, or villigars with pitch forks! It is a story not about a monster but about what could happen when man kind tries to play creator. You end up feeling sorry for the creature.
jenmaynard More than 1 year ago
Often considered the first science fiction novel, Mary Shelley had the creative spark for Frankenstein at the age of 18 and first published it as a 22-year-old. A story inspired by other gothic writings, contemporary scientific theories, and by tragedies in her own life (the death of her young child, a father who had disowned her), not to mention her poet husband Percy Shelley (who would drown the following year) and the philosophies of other poets in her young and influential circle of friends, this novel is a thought-provoking and ground-breaking work that has inspired countless stories about our desire to overcome death and our search for what it means to be human. It's not your modern horror thriller or what is generally depicted in film (instead of grunts, Frankenstein's real monster is eloquently tragic), the plot is often plodding, and some current readers might not find this a good read. But for those who enjoy a more philosophically centered gothic tale, Frankenstein is immortal.
songcatchers More than 1 year ago
My first thought on completing Frankenstein was this: I love this book! I really didn't know what to expect when I began reading this. We've all seen Frankenstein and his "monster" portrayed through numerous media outlets and I wasn't sure how any of these compared to the original story created by Mary Shelley. From page one I was drawn in and riveted by the narrative. I was hooked on Victor Frankenstein with his ambition and his creation who showed such strong emotions. Frankenstein's creation is an infantile being born into the body of a monster. We watch as this "monster" teaches himself writing, language, geography, history. He reads from Milton's Paradise Lost and from Plutarch's Lives. Learning brought such joy to him. It was so sad to see the "monster's" attitude toward man (and especially Frankenstein in particular) go from such love and delight to dark feelings and hate. Frankenstein and his race pushed the "monster" away and shunned him because he didn't look like them. They never gave him a chance to prove his worth among them. I believe it was society that created the "monster", and not soley Victor, but it was Victor who reaped the punishment. Frankenstein, the novel, brings up some thought provoking questions dealing with science and life and what it means to be human. You'll have to read the book yourself and draw your own conclusions.

"So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein-more, far more, will I achieve: treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This, in my opinion has to be the most thought provoking in all of literature. I can't think of a novel more worthy of dicussing in a book club or just in general. It's authenticity still rings true in the twenty first century. It is a scientific study of whether or not we should tamper with God's creation or life, itself. This is the story of man's creation resulting in monstrous consequenses. The topic of conversation is regarding whether or not the monster really is a monster. Meaning he is not born monstrous but becomes so because he is shunned and turned away because of his frightening physical appearance. Would the monster be able to live in society with man if man had just given him a fair opportunity? Perhaps, but should he be given that opportunity under unnatural circumstances? After all, he is not human and created by God but by man. The question of who is a worse monster, him or Victor? Victor by far, for allowing the catastrophes to worsen repeatedly without properly handling the situation. The monster was his ruination from the first which goes back to should it have been attempted in the first place? Was it successful?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great book!!! I'm not a big fan of Science Fiction novels, but this one was great!!! When reading it, you don't feel like you are reading a Science fiction novel, you feel like you are reading a very sad, disturbing book about when humans should leave nature alone! You will never see Science and progress in it the same after you read this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this novel in my Science Fiction class in college. The novel was excellent with great written language, so beautiful. If you a big fan of Frankenstein movies, I would recommend that if you read this novel, don't expect the movies and the novel to be alike. The creature is so different than most of the Hollywood Frankensteins on film. The creature is somewhat a natural philosopher, but I won't give away too much! In other words, this novel is a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so well writen. Even though it starts slow, the middle to end parts are so well done it makes up for the sluggish start. Also, anyone who says the book isnt well writen probably doesnt have the attention span to finish the first coupple of chapters or was probably expecting frankenstein to fight dracula before the end of the book
The_Booker More than 1 year ago
Should I review a classic? Really, what's the point? This book is historic and mandatory reading for many high schools and a true insight into the European era it was written (1818). Language, thoughts, opinions, attitudes, social classes, locations - it's all there. It's like a time machine and that aspect of the book is fasinating. Then there's the classic elements... This is true gothic horror. It's not blood and guts and "shoot'em up" that is all too necessary to hold an audiences' attention in today's world. "Frankenstein" is psychological terror in the same vein as "what's hiding around the corner." We follow Victor's inner thoughts and paranoia as he sinks deeper and deeper into depression, fear and finally resolve that he must kill the monster he created or die trying. As someone who was an avid reader in high school - but not the mandatory assignments, (my personal classics are more modern works) - it is quite a few years after my graduation. I picked up "Frankenstein" because it is my son's mandatory summer reader. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. But again - reviewing a classic? Okay - some may find this a lame excuse, but I only rated it 4 out of 5 stars because of my upbringing in the modern "shoot'em up" world. The meanings were all there for me - man vs God, man vs woman, etc... But there were too many coincidences within the story that made me shake my head in disbelief. Europe is a continent and not someone's neighborhood where even then it would be difficult to find someone hiding from you. But if you can shut down your reasoning and throw disbelief to the howling wind, "Frankenstein" has the fear factor to keep you awake and wondering at night who or what could be lurking around your neighborhood. One final note: For any high schooler thinking about skipping this mandatory reading assignment and watching the movie instead, just plan on testing for a GED after you wise up. The Boris Karloff version sticks to the book about as closely as the Abbott and Costello film. In fact, check out Gene Wilder in "Young Frankenstein" and write your report on that one. At least your teacher will have a few laughs grading your paper!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The writing style is dated and can be challenging. Once I let the story grab me though, I found a story I only thought I knew. Not a "horror" story by todays standards, but a thought provoking story of science for science sake.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For Mary Shelley to produce such an amazing book as Frankenstein at the age of 21 is outstanding. The way that she has a story within a story-- that’s within a story, was so innovative. Her themes are very poignant and haunting. She explores and questions the boundaries of death, nature, good vs. evil, and justice. It’s very captivating because she explores the deepest and darkest places of human nature. The story begins with Victor Frankenstein’s ambitious love for science. The man goes as far as to cheat death itself, and he certainly heeds the consequences. She suggests that while accomplishing great feats in science, there will always be consequences. Shelley uses Frankenstein’s Monster who at first only desires a connection and human compassion, but he was shunned because of his hideous appearance and soon grows pure hatred for the human race. His heart wrenching self-discovering journey emphasizes on the small human interactions that we may take for granted. It’s just a very conflicting situation for the reader. He does go as far as to murder innocent people out of revenge, but you still can’t help to feel a bit of sorrow and guilt for the poor creature who only wanted the simplest thing in life: love. Mary Shelley’s work will always be a classic work that was ahead of it’s time. It’s an intense and eye opening tale that will stay with the reader for years to come.
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
This book was deep and intellectually stimulated. While the writing was inconsistant, very descriptive in some parts and vague in others, you really had to pay attention or else miss something important. The plot and characters were intriguing, and I wish they were explored more. I never found it thrilling, but it was nice to read. I can see why its a classic and recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not your typical Frankenstein that you see from Hollywood. It is a great book that you can sit down and read. You read something new in it everytime you read it. Great for conversation in the classroom and book clubs. This book has you think about alot of things that relate to life. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book for summer reading. It is a very good book, however my biggest complaint is that Shelly has little emotion when describing the monster. I understand leaving some things to the imagination, however the creation of the monster was way too quick and there was no real emotional tie from Victor to the monster. That was written too fast and did not allow any time for emotional growth. Other than that, it is a great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Frankenstein is the simple best book ever written (in my opinion). It relates to various sides of our lives, it is philosophical and exciting to read. It should be a must read for humanity because it teaches important lessons for life. It is very deep and emotional. Please do not think of any horror pictures that misinterpret the book, and thus mislead you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first started reading this book I did not know what to expect. I found myself surprised at the differences between the book and the movie versions I had seen. It is a very well written book and I really liked how Mary Shelly developed the character of the frankenstien monster as an intelligent and lonely creature. The book had a much deeper message than I expected. I was expecting to read just another horror story and found myself stumbling upon a masterpiece.
Anonymous 10 days ago
Allthough Frankenstein was a good book to read, I was a little dissappointed as some parts dragged out to long. If you are expecting Hollywoods Frankenstien this isnt it. The twoshare very little except the name. And there was a monster that is about it.
Anonymous 5 months ago
This is the 4th time I've read this book. I find something new each time. I appreciate it more and more as I get older.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Mary+has+a+bad+tendency+to+ramble+and+repeat...Alot.+I%27m+glad+I+can+at+least+now+say+I%27ve+read+Frankenstein.+
Anonymous 12 months ago
I really like this book i recomend it
ConfuzzledShannon More than 1 year ago
Scientist Victor Frankenstein is obsessed with finding a way to reanimate human life after death. After he successfully fulfills his desire he immediately regrets it, condemning the new horrific life form to live in hiding. As Frankenstein’s new monster learns to understand those around him and his own existence he begins to hate his creator. The monster enacts revenge on Victor by taking away those he loves, only stopping if the doctor does what the monster asks for. The very start of the book reminded me of Moby Dick, at least the little I read of it. Victor Frankenstein obsession with creating life is very much like Ahab’s obsession with finding the whale. Then the middle of the book was like The Picture Of Dorian Grey which a book I really liked and very much about doing good or evil and how it affects those around yourself. It ends again like Moby Dick as Victor new obsession directs him. The middle of the book had me interested because it is really a discussion on what being human is or could be, and regret. Actually, it is about even more than that so much you could a book about and people probably have. I for one not a fan of the scenes where Dr. Frankenstein was channeling Ahab from Moby Dick. His obsession is part of the reason I couldn’t finish Moby Dick. Luckily Frankenstein is much shorter than Moby Dick. I am glad I took the time to read this. It is a book that is so much different than what the movies and tv have done. In fact, there is so much difference in the movies I am really curious why or how they came up with things...like the character Igor...no where in the book. The monster having a square head and bolts on the neck...nope not in the book. I am not a big fan of most classics but this one that I did enjoy.
Hardy_Zuri More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for a college level English class. Even though this book was for an educational purpose at the time needed it, I found it to be exciting and interesting. There was a lot of adventure and guessing to keep me reading and wanting more. Frankenstein is a definite page-turner and will have you thinking about creation and what is considered beauty. The storylines of the characters are beautifully put together, so you can get a mental picture of who they are and what they look like, which is what I love about reading. The characters are exciting within themselves and do not rely on the main character to be interesting. This book will have you thinking about love, beauty, loyalty and family and what those really mean to you. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a small enough book you can toss in your bag and take with you on the go. It is a good read and you get invested in each character and start to feel empathy for the ones you wouldn't even think of. The movie is quite good as well, but the book has more imagination and feeling. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something thought-provoking and interesting. Even though this book is both Gothic and Science fiction it is not dark and dreary.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an awesome book . I am glad I bought . For a very old story and horror story of its time. Is very awesome
Pool_Boy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another reviewer commented '...This is verrrrry nineteenth-century Romantic, dramatic and melancholy and doomed destiny, played out over beautiful scenery without and horrible scenery within....' And I agree.While I am glad to have finally read the book, and actually got over the Romantic/Gothic whatever style of the writing (so much so that I could probably read other books from this era), I found it a real chore to finish. I just did not care what happened to anybody -- I never felt hope for Frankenstein, the creature, or the friends and family. Perhaps I am jaded, but it was not a riveting or compelling story to me. The one thing I did enjoy about the book was that it was absolutely nothing like all of the silly movies, pulp fiction rip offs or comics of this original story. And the story, despite my not really liking the whole package that much, was quite original. I really liked the fact that the creature was intelligent and could speak (shockingly well).Ah well, on to new stories.
Cyanide_Cola on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. A essential reading for any horror fan. The story itself is timeless. It's one of those books that everyone should read at least once. I enjoyed this book when I read it back in high school and I still love it today.
JanaRose1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This classic by Mary Shelley was one of my favorites as a teenager. After re-reading it, I still feel the same. This book is the story of Dr. Frankenstein and the monster that he created. Immediately repulsed, Dr. Frankenstein rejects the monster, leaving it to roam Europe on its own. After hiding near a family, the monster learns how to talk and communicate and realizes that he is missing companionship. When Dr. Frankenstein refuses to create a companion for him, the monster begins killing his family. Overall, this is a book well worth reading.