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Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus | [Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley]

Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus

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. Includes introduction and commentary by Mary Shelley. Required reading for any fan of science fiction and horror genres. A classic.
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Publisher's Summary

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. Includes introduction and commentary by Mary Shelley. Required reading for any fan of science fiction and horror genres. A classic.

Public Domain (P)2011 Trout Lake Media

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4.1 (152 )
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  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 05-21-12
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 05-21-12

    A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.

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    "A Monster of Fiction"

    Love the complexity of Shelley's narrative and the poetry of her prose. Jim does a good job of narrating this monster.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean Sudbury, Ontario, Canada 05-05-13
    Sean Sudbury, Ontario, Canada 05-05-13 Member Since 2010

    I am a reader of books.

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    "Observations On Character, Setting and Perspective"

    Some Observations on Character, Setting and Perspective

    CHARACTER
    One of the novel's main themes is the unjust treatment towards the supposedly monstrous, towards someone or something that is different; in this case physically different. However, while the Monster is certainly a physically revolting abomination, he is not necessarily a moral monster or, at least, not an unreasonable monster. Indeed, the Monster’s immoral crimes and faults can be seen not necessarily as his own but are the consequence of his being so thoroughly ostracized.

    Despite the Monster’s physical deformities, it is Dr. Frankenstein who proves himself the more monstrous, ill receptive and unreasonable. It is Dr. Frankenstein who cannot get past his creation's horrible, physical nature, to sympathize with or at least listen to his creation's plight. This seemingly contradictory interaction between one who is reasonable but physically repulsive, and one who is unreasonable but physically normal, helps to communicate the novel's main theme of the unjustly accused monster.

    The language that Dr. Frankenstein uses about and towards his creation is consistently inflammatory: ‘wretch; too horrible for human eyes; vile insect; abhorred monster; fiend; devil; detested’. On the other hand, the Monster, attempting to create a dialogue with and appeal to Dr. Frankenstein, uses mitigating, reasoning, empathetic language: ‘thou are bound by ties; do your duty towards me; comply with my conditions; be calm; I entreat you; I will be even mild and docile; justice; clemency and affection; benevolent and good; virtuous; entreaties’.

    Not just for the sake of a richer, more interesting read are Dr. Frankenstein and his Monster not simple, one-dimensional characters but, in order to further illustrate the main theme of the novel, they are also multifaceted and oxymoronic. By contrasting the Monster’s physically freakish appearance and Dr. Frankenstein’s obstinate refusal to accept him as anything but a devil, with the Monster’s fluency and sound reason, Shelley here brings home her novel’s theme of, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, so to speak.

    SETTING
    One important setting is deep in the French Alps. The introductory chapter to the French Alps setting especially abounds with descriptions of the glacial mountain-scape, but even during the dialogue between Frankenstein and his creation there are ample descriptions of its awe-inspiring, fearful nature: 'the crevices in the ice; the cold gale; the temperature of the place is not fitting to your fine sensations; snowy precipices; the air was cold, and the rain again began to descend'.

    There is an ironic difference between how Dr. Frankenstein and the Monster experience this setting. To Dr. Frankenstein it is hostile and uninhabitable, but to the Monster it is homely: “the desert mountains and dreary glaciers are my refuge... the caves of ice, which I only do not fear, are a dwelling to me... These bleak skies I hail...”. That the Monster can make a comfortable dwelling of what we would certainly find, and which Shelley’s language describes as, an inhospitable wasteland, exemplifies the Monster’s inhuman or otherworldly nature.

    PERSPECTIVE
    This novel is largely written from the first-person perspective of Dr. Frankenstein and, because of this, the Monster can only be described to us through Frankenstein’s particular viewpoint. Shelley’s task is to describe and illustrate the Monster’s virtue to us strictly through what he says and does to Dr. Frankenstein, since it is only through Dr. Frankenstein’s inner monologue that we come to know the Monster. Dr. Frankenstein, however, is an unreliable narrator. He is furious and hysterical, albeit not without good reason, and seems eager to sooner engage in “mortal combat” with his enemy than heed his words.

    On the other hand, the convincingly persuasive and reasonable language that the Monster uses would make him seem more of a classical rhetorician than a brute beast. In light of all the Monster’s eloquence is revealed the biases and unreasonable, malicious ill will present in Dr. Frankenstein’s first-person narration. This again supports the theme, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. If the reader had up to this point the idea of the monster as nothing but pure evil, their misconceptions might also be dispelled along with the character of Dr. Frankenstein who, as it were, concedes to the Monster’s request and follows him to the hut to listen to his story.

    Also, I think that the cold settings in much of the novel serve as a metaphor for the cold, emotionally detached sterility of the scientific method.

    Copyright, 2013

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael A. Russell Seattle, WA United States 05-28-12
    Michael A. Russell Seattle, WA United States 05-28-12 Member Since 2012

    RomSteady

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    "Great performance of a timeless classic"

    Jim Donaldson does a great job with the narration of "Frankenstein." Every character has its own distinctive voice (with the exception of the namesake doctor, whose voice changes when the point of view shifts from third- to first-person and back). My only wish would have been that they had hired a female to read Mary Shelley's introduction.

    Please note that there are four "doubled-up" lines in this performance that should have been caught during editing, which gives the impression that the Audible player "skipped." No skipping...just a couple of line re-reads. Almost all of them are near the beginning, and one is about three-quarters of the way through, so they're needle-in-a-haystack things at best.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 03-21-12
    Mary 03-21-12 Listener Since 2009
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    "Loved it - Scarier than the Movies"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    This was very suspenseful. Even though the exposition at the beginning was a bit slow, by the time you get to chapter 13, the story starts moving and you're hooked.


    How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

    Yes.


    Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

    Shelly builds the story slowly. By the time disaster strikes, you care about each of the characters.


    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    Very good.


    Do you have any additional comments?

    I listened because I wanted to check a classic book off my list. I was surprised by thoroughly enjoying it. It's too bad the movies didn't follow the original story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce 12-27-12
    Bruce 12-27-12

    Successfully against the odds I learnt life's path, rules and history by osmosis due to a modest yet real reading barrier. Now I can embrace history, classics and pulp with the spoken word. Thanks Audible

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    "Better than all the Movies"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Frankenstein to be better than the print version?

    The deep fear of The Monster builds as you realise theta human's are worse and in effect created him as themselves.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Victor meets the Monster in the Glacier and is entreated to listen to words which would otherwise melt granite hearts


    Did Jim Donaldson do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    I thought the Creature was the main weak link the other was the Narator who blended with Victor and was hard to differentiate


    Who was the most memorable character of Frankenstein and why?

    The Monster, I felt for him


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Graeme Merrylands, Australia 10-27-12
    Graeme Merrylands, Australia 10-27-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Now I know why this is a "classic""
    What did you love best about Frankenstein?

    The battle of wills between creator and his creation. Just like any fantasy you need to give the author permission to take you on a ride. This was surprisingly quite a strong story, even if the science behind its premise is dubious, particularly well over a century after its writing.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The "monster". I did not realise he was a creature of such humanity and need. The story was still in my thoughts a week or so after finishing it.


    Have you listened to any of Jim Donaldson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. I was expecting a poor performance as it was priced lower than other versions of the book, but it was read very well and would definitely happily listen to the narrator again.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, but I did get through it very quickly and was always grateful for a chance to get back in the car and renew the story.One exception - The beginning of the book is told in letters, and apart from perhaps the final 2 letters, the rest are completely irrelevant to the story, and why they were part of the published book is a mystery to me.


    Any additional comments?

    There are a couple of random instances where the narration repeats itself for a few words. Although its very minor and probably only totals maybe 15-20 seconds over the entire book, its the worst editing I've encountered on Audible. (That comment is not aimed at putting people off this version of the book - I definitely recommend this book).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jayellpi London, ON, Canada 04-16-12
    Jayellpi London, ON, Canada 04-16-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A classic that should not be overlooked"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Frankenstein to be better than the print version?

    I am in a book club and Frankenstein was one of the picks. As I didn't have time to read the print version I decided to try the audio book instead. I was not disappointed. The reader had a very expressive voice and held my attention. If I could find a negative in it I would say I always had the impression the reader should have a british accent. This one has an American accent. That is really not of importance though. Overall it was very well done. I have heard some "free" versions of the book but all the voices sound mechanical and robotic. This one is worth the few dollars I spent on it.

    Regarding the story itself ... there were areas that just were very unbelievable. The idea that a man could basically book learn advanced biology and mathematics to the point of bringing life to dead things in just a few years is just way beyond the imagination. Some things just didn't make a lot of sense. But then one has to realize that the book was written by an 18 year old girl living in the 1800's. That is remarkable!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I think Victor Frankenstein was my favorite character. Although I have to say I am not sure who was the real monster ... Victor or his creation.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene where Victor was creating a mate for his first creation and became overwhelmed with emotion and destroyed it before completion while the monster watched from the window.


    If you could take any character from Frankenstein out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I think perhaps Victors wife. I would try to convince her to stay clear of Victor as any involvement with him would no doubt end badly. She of course would not have listened.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank 10-14-14
    Frank 10-14-14
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    "A Very Good Performance of a Classic Novel"

    This audiobook was actually my first complete experience of this novel. I'd started it a couple of times, but it's very hard for me to read printed text, listening to prose is so much easier for me.

    So anyway, the novel is very, very perfect. This edition, I think, is very well done. The narrator does a great job with all of the characters. Sometimes, especially in older novels, some of the female characters done by male narrators seem kind of put on, as do almost any character with any type of an accent.

    But this narrator does a very, very good job. The different accents are bold and authentic and done with an air of meaning and authority that I really, really liked.

    Jim Donaldson's speech patterns are also very clear and easy to understand.

    I think he does a great job reading this classic novel, making it very enjoyable and very accessible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick Kintigh Chicago, IL USA 04-29-14
    Rick Kintigh Chicago, IL USA 04-29-14 Member Since 2011
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    "A letter, of a tale, of a tale of woe and wonder."
    Any additional comments?

    Frankenstein is a classic novel, that could have been immeasurably improved by being a classic short story. There are aspects i have problems with. Victor Frankenstein is impossibly brilliant, but a painfully forgetful and self-deluded man. I cannot help but wonder where the story could have gone if he had remained engaged in the implications of his creation. The creature himself is astoundingly well-spoken and far more astute than the tremulant Frankenstein. With his inexhaustible capacity for self awareness and self improvement i would hope that he would sequester himself in some Swiss cabin and become a philosopher or poet rather than a murderous wretch. I also cannot think of a more distanced POV than having a meaningless frame story where the actual narrative is told as a dictation. This steals all the immediacy and energy out of the telling. What Shelly did masterfully was create a thought provoking investigation into the custodial relationship man has to life on this planet as we begin to impose mastery over the natural world. Advancements in genetic and surgical capability make the implications bare even greater weight today then she could have envisioned at the time of the writing. This work is exceptional if for no other reason then the generations of writers, philosophers, and scientists it affected, inspired and enriched. For all its flaws Frankenstein is an astonishing accomplishment and a foundation of science fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremy 09-30-13
    Jeremy 09-30-13
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    "OK"
    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Sometimes I had to turn up the volume to hear the narrator.


    Any additional comments?

    It puts me to sleep after an hour or so. Not the easiest book to get through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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