Cover image for The new annotated Frankenstein
Title:
The new annotated Frankenstein
Uniform Title:
Frankenstein
ISBN:
9780871409492
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
lxxix, 352 pages : illustrations, maps ; 27 cm
Summary:
"'Remarkably, a nineteen-year-old, writing her first novel, penned a tale that combines tragedy, morality, social commentary, and a thoughtful examination of the very nature of knowledge,' writes ... author Leslie S. Klinger in his foreword to The New Annotated Frankenstein. Despite its undeniable status as one of the most influential works of fiction ever written, Mary Shelley's novel is often reductively dismissed as the wellspring for tacky monster films or as a cautionary tale about experimental science gone haywire. Now, two centuries after the first publication of Frankenstein, Klinger revives Shelley's gothic masterpiece by reproducing her original text with the most lavishly illustrated and comprehensively annotated edition to date. Featuring over 200 illustrations and nearly 1,000 annotations, this sumptuous volume recaptures Shelley's early nineteenth-century world with historical precision and imaginative breadth, tracing the social and political roots of the author's revolutionary brand of Romanticism. Braiding together decades of scholarship with his own keen insights, Klinger recounts Frankenstein's indelible contributions to the realms of science fiction, feminist theory, and modern intellectual history--not to mention film history and popular culture. The result of Klinger's exhaustive research is a multifaceted portrait of one of Western literature's most divinely gifted prodigies, a young novelist who defied her era's restrictions on female ambitions by independently supporting herself and her children as a writer and editor. Born in a world of men in the midst of a political and an emerging industrial revolution, Shelley crafted a horror story that, beyond its incisive commentary on her own milieu, is widely recognized as the first work of science fiction. The daughter of a pioneering feminist and an Enlightenment philosopher, Shelley lived and wrote at the center of British Romanticism, the 'exuberant, young movement' that rebelled against tradition and reason and 'with a rebellious scream gave birth to a world of gods and monsters' (Guillermo del Toro). Following his best-selling The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft and The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Klinger not only considers Shelley's original 1818 text but, for the first time in any annotated volume, traces the effects of her significant revisions in the 1823 and 1831 editions. With an afterword by renowned literary scholar Anne K. Mellor, The New Annotated Frankenstein celebrates the prescient genius and undying legacy of the world's 'first truly modern myth.' "--Jacket.
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Summary

Summary

"Remarkably, a nineteen-year-old, writing her first novel, penned a tale that combines tragedy, morality, social commentary, and a thoughtful examination of the very nature of knowledge," writes best-selling author Leslie S. Klinger in his foreword to The New Annotated Frankenstein. Despite its undeniable status as one of the most influential works of fiction ever written, Mary Shelley's novel is often reductively dismissed as the wellspring for tacky monster films or as a cautionary tale about experimental science gone haywire. Now, two centuries after the first publication of Frankenstein, Klinger revives Shelley's gothic masterpiece by reproducing her original text with the most lavishly illustrated and comprehensively annotated edition to date.Featuring over 200 illustrations and nearly 1,000 annotations, this sumptuous volume recaptures Shelley's early nineteenth-century world with historical precision and imaginative breadth, tracing the social and political roots of the author's revolutionary brand of Romanticism. Braiding together decades of scholarship with his own keen insights, Klinger recounts Frankenstein's indelible contributions to the realms of science fiction, feminist theory, and modern intellectual history--not to mention film history and popular culture. The result of Klinger's exhaustive research is a multifaceted portrait of one of Western literature's most divinely gifted prodigies, a young novelist who defied her era's restrictions on female ambitions by independently supporting herself and her children as a writer and editor.Born in a world of men in the midst of a political and an emerging industrial revolution, Shelley crafted a horror story that, beyond its incisive commentary on her own milieu, is widely recognized as the first work of science fiction. The daughter of a pioneering feminist and an Enlightenment philosopher, Shelley lived and wrote at the center of British Romanticism, the "exuberant, young movement" that rebelled against tradition and reason and "with a rebellious scream gave birth to a world of gods and monsters" (del Toro).Following his best-selling The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft and The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Klinger not only considers Shelley's original 1818 text but, for the first time in any annotated volume, traces the effects of her significant revisions in the 1823 and 1831 editions. With an afterword by renowned literary scholar Anne K. Mellor, The New Annotated Frankenstein celebrates the prescient genius and undying legacy of the world's "first truly modern myth."The New Annotated Frankenstein includes:Nearly 1,000 notes that provide information and historical context on every aspect of Frankenstein and of Mary Shelley's lifeOver 200 illustrations, including original artwork from the 1831 edition and dozens of photographs of real-world locations that appear in the novelExtensive listings of films and theatrical adaptationsAn introduction by Guillermo del Toro and an afterword by Anne K. Mellor


Author Notes

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. She died from a brain tumor on February 1, 1851 at the age of 54. (Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Klinger, editor of the critically acclaimed annotated editions of Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, and H. P. Lovecraft, is back with a gorgeous, compelling, and simply fascinating volume just in time for the 200th anniversary of its source material's publication. Klinger does not presume to add to the comprehensive body of scholarship on Shelley's novel; he wants to illuminate the original text itself and showcase how complex and engaging it was and still is. Of the many revelations in this work, one of the most surprising is how deep the autobiographical aspects of this monster novel run. Klinger provides a detailed comparison of the 1818 and 1831 texts, something that has never been done before in a single annotated volume. The result is that we see a surprising shift in Shelley's tone and her judgment of the characters in the ensuing years, a shift that can be traced to her life experiences over that time. Klinger has included numerous high-quality images sprinkled throughout the book, which add to our appreciation of this seminal text. Klinger also includes six appendixes and an afterword by Anne K. Mellor that addresses the larger themes of the novel and its place in popular culture. The resulting volume will find a huge audience in libraries, from amateur scholars to students to genre fans. Klinger has not only given us a useful reference work but he has also reminded us all just how fun Frankenstein still is to just read.--Spratford, Becky Copyright 2017 Booklist


Library Journal Review

Klinger's (The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes; The New Annotated Dracula) annotated edition of Frankenstein revivifies Mary Shelley's 1818 novel with results not unlike Dr. Frankenstein's own experiments: the edition breathes life into the story while suffering from its own ambition. Klinger recognizes the difficulty of his project in the foreword. He notes that Frankenstein's creature possesses a "cultural familiarity" that makes it difficult to disentangle centuries of interpretation from the source text. At times, his notes, which dominate many pages and marginalize Shelley's words, make the text hard to read. Many references could have been compressed or relegated to the appendixes. The book also contains an introduction by screenwriter and director Guillermo del Toro and an afterword by Anne K. Mellor (distinguished professor of English and women's studies, UCLA; Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters). Verdict Some criticisms notwithstanding, the text would make a fine addition to a course on popular culture or film studies.-Emily Bowles, Univ. of Wisconsin Coll. & Extension, Madison © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.