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This article is about the novel. For the characters, see Victor Frankenstein or Frankenstein's monster. For other uses, see Frankenstein (disambiguation).
or, The Modern Prometheus
Volume I, first edition
Author Mary Shelley
Genre Horror, Gothic, Romance, science fiction
Published 1818 (Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones)
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel written by British author Mary Shelley about eccentric scientist Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty. The first edition was published anonymously in London in 1818. Shelley's name appears on the second edition, published in France in 1823.
Shelley had travelled in the region of Geneva, where much of the story takes place, and the topics of galvanism and other similar occult ideas were themes of conversation among her companions, particularly her future husband, Percy Shelley. The storyline emerged from a dream. Mary, Percy, Lord Byron, and John Polidori decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. After thinking for days about what her possible storyline could be, Shelley dreamt about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what he had made. She then wrote Frankenstein.
Frankenstein is infused with some elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement and is also considered to be one of the earliest examples of science fiction. Brian Aldiss has argued that it should be considered the first true science fiction story, because unlike in previous stories with fantastical elements resembling those of later science fiction, the central character "makes a deliberate decision" and "turns to modern experiments in the laboratory" to achieve fantastic results. It has had a considerable influence across literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories, films, and plays.
Since publication of the novel, the name "Frankenstein" is often used to refer to the monster itself, as is done in the stage adaptation by Peggy Webling. This usage is sometimes considered erroneous, but usage commentators regard the monster sense of "Frankenstein" as well-established and an acceptable usage. In the novel, the monster is identified via words such as "creature", "monster", "fiend", "wretch", "vile insect", "daemon", "being", and "it". Speaking to Victor Frankenstein, the monster refers to himself as "the Adam of your labors", and elsewhere as someone who "would have" been "your Adam", but is instead "your fallen angel."
1.1 Captain Walton's introductory frame narrative
1.2 Victor Frankenstein's narrative
1.3 Captain Walton's concluding frame narrative
4 Name origins
4.1 The monster
4.2 Victor Frankenstein's surname
4.3 Victor Frankenstein's given name
4.4 Modern Prometheus
5 Shelley's sources
7 Derivative works
8 Films, plays and television
9 See also
12 External links
A variety of different editions
Frankenstein is written in the form of a frame story that starts with Captain Robert Walton writing letters to his sister.
Captain Walton's introductory frame narrative
The novel Frankenstein is written in epistolary form, documenting a correspondence between Captain Robert Walton and his sister, Margaret Walton Saville. Walton is a failed writer who sets out to explore the North Pole and expand his scientific knowledge in hopes of achieving fame. During the voyage the crew spots a dog sled mastered by a gigantic figure. A few hours later, the crew rescues a nearly frozen and emaciated man named Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein has been in pursuit of the gigantic man observed by Walton's