If you're reading this review, you only have one question. You're not looking for a book review, you already know it's a classic. You already know this is the most original, and one of the best, and best-written horror stories in literature. You may or may not like the story, but that's a matter of personal taste. A lot of people don't like Shakespeare, but no one questions whether he was a good writer or not. If you don't like the writing style, it's because you aren't familiar with the English of this period. Nearly eighty years before Stoker's "Dracula" ( an idea stolen from Polidori's "The Vampyre", which was an idea stolen from LeFanu's "Carmilla"), this most-original horror masterpiece was born. So, your only question is, "Is this really the uncensored 1818 version? Because I've only seen one other verified version, and it's over twenty dollars in paperback. All the others claiming to be the 1818 version have been disproved." YES, as far as I can...
It's surprising how many times this novel has been edited and re-created. Or not surprising, since it is so unsettling one wants to rewrite the key scenes and ending to suit modern emotional sensibilities. We had a great book club reading of it where everyone read a different version and we all got different impressions. But the eloquence and genius of Mary Shelley was evident and strong in this version and I find her original impulses (even marrying Victor to his first cousin) pure and quite defensible. This is an enduring masterpiece because we continue to make monsters with technology (and as parents) when we are blinded by our own lust to create, and when we do not take responsibility or show love for the created thing.
This book claims to be the 1818 original text, but it is NOT. THIS IS THE 1831 EDITION! I specifically needed the 1818 edition for my literature class, and the 1831 edition is substantially different. The overall theme/tone is different (the original emphasizes free will, while the later edition emphasizes the role of fate). There are many other small changes- in the 1831 edition Ernest becomes a soldier, while in the original he is a farmer; in the 1831 edition Elizabeth is an orphan adopted by Victor's family, while in the original she is his blood cousin; in the 1831 edition (unlike the original), Henry Clerval has to defy his father in order to go to college. I became suspicious that I had the wrong edition during class, and then looked up these differences and confirmed that THIS BOOK IS THE 1831 EDITION! If you need a particular edition for a class, be warned that this book is falsely advertised.
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