This is the last of my books for the Winter Classics Challenge. This is another one that I really have a hard time believing that I haven’t read it before now. I read the Penguin Classics edition which is the revised version that Mary Shelley did in 1831. There were some changes from the initial 1818 version, but they weren’t substantial storyline changes.
This edition is divided into 3 volumes. It’s extremely layered storytelling – it begins with a sea captain’s letter to his sister telling what Victor Frankenstein has related to him. Within that are more layers of story as told to Frankenstein himself. The first volume is mostly about Victor Frankenstein as he grows up and eventually creates his monster (who is never given a name). This first volume was where I had the most difficulty staying focused. In the middle volume the Monster has the opportunity to tell his own story and does so quite eloquently. This is where the book became much more compelling to me and I had a hard time putting it down. The creature demands that Frankenstein create a mate for him, Frankenstein only sees the potential for more ‘monsters’ of his own making and doesn’t want to comply. This sets up the inevitable confrontations in the third volume.
Forget every movie you ever saw about Frankenstein and read the book.