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FrankensteinAnnotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds$
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Mary Shelley, David H. Guston, Ed Finn, and Jason Scott Robert

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262533287

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262533287.001.0001

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Introduction to Frankenstein (1831)

Introduction to Frankenstein (1831)

(p.189) Introduction to Frankenstein (1831)

Mary Shelley

, David H. Guston, Ed Finn, Jason Scott Robert, Joey Eschrich, Mary Drago
The MIT Press

In her introduction to the 1831 “Standard Novels” edition of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley accedes to the ongoing requests that she explain how she “then a young girl, came to think of, and to dilate upon, so very hideous an idea?” After describing a bit about her childhood, Mary then describes the gathering of her, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and their friends in the cold, wet summer of 1816 and the challenge issued by Lord Byron to “each write a ghost story.” After suffering from “that blank incapability of invention which is the greatest misery of authorship,” Mary finally conceives of the central image of the revivification of the creature and its abandonment by his creator. Mary also describes the contributions that Percy made to the original work and describes as merely stylistic the alterations she made between the original and the 1831 edition.

Keywords:   Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, John Polidori, ghost stories, Frankenstein, Revisions

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