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review 2020-06-06 11:02
Matilda - Mary Shelley

(This is not the edition I read, I read the Little Black Classics edition, but it is hard enough already to find the books currently on BookLikes)


Frankenstein is one of the books that has been on my TBR the longest, but this week's Little Black Classic was a less well known work by Mary Shelley which was not published until long after her death.

One thing that is clear from Matilda, is that Mary Shelley can write well. Unfortunately, the story did not really work for me. Matilda looks back at her - miserable - life on her deathbed, which basically bottles down to her being miserable for all her life but for a few passing moments.

Still, not a lot happens and it mainly her feeling dreadful. Maybe it was not the right book for me at the moment, but I did not like it much nor did I care about Matilda or any of the other characters in the story.

~Little Black Classics #116~

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review 2020-04-20 15:57
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley,Maurice Hindle

by Mary Shelley


Frankenstein starts out in a format that I usually don't like much, that of reading letters that give information, but it is done with strangely beautiful writing and I do think I would have read the whole book in this format if it had been written that way. However, this only forms a sort of lengthy prologue to the story proper and changes to standard prose chapters in Chapter One.


What strikes me is the quality of the writing. There is something about books written in this era that allows first person exposition to be carried by the poetic phrasing of another age. The main character's enthusiasm is tangible and although we may not understand exactly what he has in mind at first, his desire to accomplish something really special translates well and grips us within his developing thoughts.


I soon learned that the old black and white movie that I grew up with has little to do with the book. Rather than the grunting hulk that we see in the classic film, the monster is while very large and deformed, very eloquent in speech and of high intelligence. Though he can kill accidentally as happened in the film, most of his deeds are done consciously with malice, due to what he refers to as " Misery in deformity." He is a cold blooded killer rather than the confused being depicted in the film.


The writing is exceptional. Frankenstein's passion of words conveys a rapturous emotional state when he is sure he has discovered the secret to life and gathers what he will need to conduct his experiments, to create life. Unlike the film, we learn about Frankenstein's family, who play significant roles in his story. At times the creature seems to have a generous and sensitive nature and is highly intelligent. He speaks poetically and the reader could almost sympathise with him, especially when Frankenstein behaves amazingly stupidly toward the end.


Much of the horror is conveyed through the protagonist's emotional reactions. The story actually drags out towards the ending, but it was an amazing read and has much to say about the nature of man and how he can be affected by kindness or cruelty. I can see why it became a classic.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-04-07 16:22
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley,Marilyn Butler

TITLE:  Frankenstein


AUTHOR:  Mary Shelley


PUBLICATION:  Oxford World's Classics,

                            1818 Text


PUBLICATION DATE:  2009 (originally 1818)


FORMAT:  Paperback


ISBN-13:  9780199537150



Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.



I've never read Frankenstein before, or seen any of the movie adaptations, so didn't know what to expect.  This is a story-within-a-story epistolary novel that starts off slowly but picks up pace in the second and third parts. The writing has it's moments, and on occasion was downright beautiful.  I can see why English literature teachers love this novel - so many themes and ideas.  I was, however, expecting more on how Frankenstein created the monster.  This aspect was covered in all of one short paragraph.  I also found Frankenstein's a bit daft for such an intelligent man.  He wanted to create a being but simply had no thought for what to do with it (him?) once created?  Frankenstein should have created a dog.  That would have created less drama for both the monster and the Frankenstein family.  None the less, an enjoyable story.



NOTE ON 1818 EDITION:  This was the original novel as written by Mary Shelley.  Later she revised it slightly to improve grammar.  In 1831, Mary Shelley published a substantially modified edition of the novel, for reasons that can be summarized as political correctness and making the novel more "respectable" to the public.  The Oxford 1818 edition provides a list of changes made for comparison.



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review 2020-03-03 03:26
Lord Byron was not a nice man
The Poet and the Vampyre: The Curse of Byron and the Birth of Literature's Greatest Monsters - Andrew McConnell Stott

Back in 2014 I read a book called The Seven Lives of John Murray which gave a somewhat one-sided description of Lord Byron (keeping in mind his relationship to the publishing house and its publisher). However, I still felt I had a pretty firm grasp on the man and his relationship to Percy Shelley. And then I read The Poet and the Vampyre: The Curse of Byron and the Birth of Literature's Greatest Monsters by Andrew McConnell Stott. The author primarily uses historical material from two people who knew Byron and the Shelley's well (and kept detailed diaries and letters): Claire Clairmont (Mary's step sister) and John Polidori (Byron's physician). Because John Murray's relationship to Byron was mainly a professional one the veil wasn't quite lifted as to what sort of a man he really was and I'm sorry to tell you this but he was a mean-spirited bully. Much of Byron's suffering was of his own making and he made sure to share the wealth with others. He drew creative people to him like a moth to a flame but they were undoubtedly going to be burnt once they got too close. I especially felt sorry for Mary and her sister Claire. Claire was totally besotted with Byron and much like the other women in his life when she became a yoke around his neck he discarded her. (Don't even get me started on the child they had together.) Poor Mary suffered just as much if not more so than her sister. There was so much loss her in her life, ya'll. (Rather than spoil all the history I'll leave it at that to whet your appetite.) Now John Polidori was a name I don't recall ever seeing before but as an aspiring writer and devotee of Byron he of course did not make it away from him unscathed. [A/N: I should point out that there all being together happened during one summer and yet it makes for a lot of historical material especially considering the correspondence that flowed between them afterwards.]


All in all, this was a very interesting historical novel which gave a much less biased depiction of the major players than what I had already read. Honestly, my one complaint is that I felt there was no one central character in this book which made it feel somewhat unmoored. Is this a book about Byron or a book about Shelley? Either way, neither one comes out especially smelling like roses (although Shelley would be my choice any day of the week over that scoundrel Byron). 9/10


*By the way, this book was generously sent to me from my cooler than cool friend Katie who works as an editor over at Pegasus Books. Thanks for always looking out, Katie! (Obviously, this in no way influenced my review but I do appreciate the free lit.)*


What's Up Next: It Takes One by Kate Locke


What I'm Currently Reading: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Source: readingforthehckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2020-02-23 00:37
Reading progress update: I've read 68%.
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley,Maurice Hindle

I don't get the hype. Most of this story is vague and lacking in details. But then the writing tries to hide it by using flowery prose. I'm going to finish this just to say I did, but it's just... lacking.

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