Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
The title character in Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818), Victor Frankenstein is the prototypical “mad scientist” who creates a monster by which he is eventually killed. Since the popular 1931 Hollywood movie based on the novel, the name Frankenstein has become popularly attached to the creature itself, who has become one of the best-known monsters in the Western world.
The novel has little in common with the famous film version. A combination of Gothic horror story, science fiction, and social criticism, the book tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a Swiss student of natural science who creates an artificial man from pieces of corpses and brings his creature to life. Although it initially seeks affection, the monster inspires loathing in everyone who meets it. Lonely and miserable, the monster turns upon its creator, who eventually loses his life. The monster in turn, filled with grief for its crimes, decides to end its own life, drifting off into the Arctic Ocean on an ice raft. The book was based on European Romantic ideas. Its subtitle points to Shelley’s theme of the potentially tragic risks involved in the irresponsible use of science’s power. Victor, like the character Prometheus of Greek mythology, steals the power of the gods by giving life to the creature and must suffer for it.
Adapted from Encyclopaedia Britannica https://school.eb.com.au/levels/high/article/Frankenstein/323820
Critical Insights: Mary Shelley by
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2016
Best known as the author of the ubiquitous Gothic novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley lived an eventful, though grief-stricken life, between troubled finances, her father's disownment, and the death of multiple children. Topics discussed in this compilation include autobiographical elements and themes in her work, the influence of Frankenstein today, and her relationship with her husband, Romantic poet-philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Mary Shelley: A Biography by
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2013
Painting a portrait of a gothic icon, this biography recounts Mary Shelley's dramatic life, from her youth and turbulent marriage to her career as writer and editor. At the age of 20, Mary Shelley secured her place in history by writing Frankenstein, now acknowledged as one of the great literary classics. The daughter of radical philosopher William Godwin and pioneering feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley led an unconventional life, which is depicted—with previously unpublished material—in this remarkable biography that was originally released in 1987 as a thorough revision of Muriel Spark's 1951 book Child of Light. Spark lends her own talents as an accomplished writer and her sharp intelligence to this fascinating examination of Mary Shelley's life and writings.