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Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus
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Author Mary Shelley
Illustrator Theodor von Holst (1831 Ed.)
Published on Published 1818, Re-published 1831
Published by Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones
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Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is the original 1818 science fiction novel written by Mary Shelley.


The story begins with a series of letter written by Captain Robert Walton adressed to his sister, relaying the events of his nautical voyage to the North Pole. One day, Captain Walton and his crew notice a very large figure on a dog sled making his way across the ice. A few hours later they find a man floating on a chunk of ice, nearly frozen to death. Bringing him aboard, he recovers, and reveals that his name is Victor Frankenstein. Captain Walton befriends Frankenstein, and finally he decides to tell Walton his story, which Walton records and sends to his sister.

Victor Frankenstein was born into a wealthy family in Geneva, Switzerland. He spent his childhood with his cousin, Elizabeth Lavenza (who had been living with his family since he was 4 years of age), and his friend, Henry Clerval. As a child, Frankenstein becomes obsessed with out of use natural philosophy books, written by ancient authors which hold no place in modern science. Later, he decides to enroll in the University of Ingolstadt in Germany. Before his departure, his mother dies of scarlet fever. Before her death, she expresses hope of a future marraige between him and Elizabeth. At the University, he excels at a rapid rate in subjects such as chemistry and natural philosophy, and it is there that he begins experiments with reanimating dead tissue.

For 2 years he works feverishly in his experiments to create life, but when he completes his work, he is terrified of the Creature that he had created with his own hands. He runs out of his apartment and meets his friend, Henry Clerval. He falls seriously ill due to his traumatic experience in seeing the Monster, which had since escaped his apartment, and is nursed back to health by Clerval. After his recovery he receives a letter from Geneva stating that his youngest brother, William had been murdered. After arriving at Geneva, he goes to the scene of the murder, and sees none other than the Monster that escaped his apartment. Williams nanny, Justine, is falsly hanged for his murder after William's necklace is found in her pocket. Frankenstein takes a trip to the mountains with his family in hope of finding momentary peace. While walking by himself, he meets the Monster, who takes him up to a cottage on the mountain and relays it's story, hoping to gain pity from Frankenstein.

The Monster starts it's story with its being driven from a village by the terrified villagers. The Monster then begins spying on a family of villagers unseen. He is facinated by them, and becomes determined to learn their language that he may speak to them. Upon listening closely to their conversations, he learns the name os the family, which consisted of a blind father, known only by his suriname, De Lacy, a son, named Felix, and a daughter, named Agatha. Later Felix gains a Arab Bride, promised to him by her lying father; his wife comes to him against the commands of her father. She does not speak their language, so the Monster benefits by watching the lessons given to her, and finally becomes fluent in French, and can also read. Later on, it finds a bag containing Frankenstein's papers, and finds out that he is and experiment, hated by it's creator.

One day, when Agatha, Felix and his bride go for a walk, it decides to indroduce itself to the blind father, hoping to gain his favor before the children lay eyes on his deformity. His plan fails, and Felix chases him out of the house. The family, traumatized, leaves the house, and the Monster angrily burns it to the ground. It is here that it meets William, and hoping to take him as a companion, he grabs him. But, when he learns he is a relative of his creator, he kills him, and then slips his necklace into the pocket of Justine. He then makes a proposition to Frankenstein. If he would make a female as deformed as he was to be his companion, he would never have to see him again.

Frankenstein goes with Clerval on a trip through Europe, but then leaves him to create a second creature on a remote island off of Scotland. He begins his work, and sees the Monster watching him, but then thinks of the consequences of a second monster, and destroys it. The Monster vows revenge, and when Frankenstein returns to shore he is accused of commiting the murder of Clerval. He falls into a fit of hysteria. When he recovers, he is acquitted and is taking back to Geneva by his father. When he returns, he marries Elizabeth, and on his wedding night he prepares for a fight with the Monster, who then kills Elizabeth. His father then dies. He again falls into insanity. He recovers, and goes to claim revenge on the Monster that had ruined his life. He chases it relentlessly and finally meets Captain Walton.

After giving his story to Walton, he dies, asking Walton to complete his task and destroy the monster, should he meet it. Later, Walton walks into the room in which Frankenstein's body lay, and sees the Monster standing there. The Monster expresses remorse over his crimes, and says that it will go to the most northern part of the world to die.