Frankenstein, A Longman Cultural Edition

Mary J Shelley / Susan J. Wolfson  
Total pages
June 2006
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From the Longman Cultural Editions series, this second edition of Frankenstein presents Mary Shelley's remarkable novel in several provocative and illuminating contexts: cultural, critical, and literary.

Series Editor Susan J. Wolfson presents the 1818 version of Mary Shelley's famous novel in its cultural and historical contexts. Like all great works of fiction, Frankenstein gains depth and dimension from its 'conversation' with contemporary texts, especially those by Shelley's own parents, husband, and friends. In addition to the 1818 text, this cultural edition features the introduction to and a sample revision of the 1831 version. A lively introduction to the edition is complemented by a chronology coordinating Shelley's life with key historical events and a speculative calendar of the novel's events in the late eighteenth century.

Handsomely produced and affordably priced, each Cultural Edition consists of the complete text of an important literary work, reliably edited, headed by an inviting introduction, supplemented by helpful annotations, accompanied by a table of significant dates and a guide for further study, then followed by contextual materials that reveal the conversations and controversies of its historical moment.

See all the Longman Cultural Editions at


  • Contains the complete 1818 edition of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, with a provocative introduction to Mary Shelley and her novel, and helpful footnotes that identify sources, references, and allusions.
  • A sample of the 1831 revision, the adoption of Elizabeth Lavenza by the Frankensteins, provides a contrast to the rejected creature, replete with overtones of racial thinking and class prejudice.
  • Table of dates presents Mary Shelley's life and the development of Frankenstein in relation to key historical events and publications during the age.
  • Texts from Shelley's Romantic contemporaries in the section on 'Monsters, Visionaries and Mary Shelley' provide the contexts for allusions, references, and collateral productions, such as Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, Wollstonecraft's Story of Jemima from Maria, Mary Shelley's journal entry on the death of her baby, Percy Shelley's poetry, Byron's poetry, and Dr. Spock on 'Baby and Child Care.'
  • Selections from 14 contemporary reviews of the 1818 novel, including those by Sir Walter Scott and Percy Shelley, reveal the reviewers' shock and the popularly held belief that 'only a man could write this novel.”
  • An entire section on the connection between Frankenstein and Milton's Paradise Lost in 'Milton's Satan and Romantic Imaginations' demonstrates the complex references to Milton's work throughout the novel. The selections include Paradise Lost and the chapter in Genesis (1-2) from the Old Testament, along with Shelley's contemporary Romantics on Satan: Godwin, Byron, Keats, Hazlitt, Percy Shelley, and DeQuincey.
  • An extensive bibliography provides direction for further reading, including the history of stage and cinematic interpretations.

New to this Edition

  • 'Frankentalk,' a unit on the durability of Frankenstein in the popular press, discusses everything from national budgets and genetic engineering to cuisine and fashion statements.
  • Containsthe complete text of Richard Brinsley Peake’s Frankenstein, A Romantic Drama, the first stage version of Frankenstein in 1823.
  • New selections in 'The Story-Telling Compact' focus on the ghost-story, featuring Byron’s A Fragment and Polidori’s The Vampyre , which inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations   


About Longman Cultural Editions   


About This Edition   




Table of Dates   


Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818)   

            Volume I   

            Volume II   

            Volume III   

from Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1831)   

            M. W. S.’s Introduction   

            Some Additions to Robert Walton’s first letters   

            Some Additions and Revisions to Victor Frankenstein’s Narrative   

                        Victor’s childhood and the adoption of Elizabeth–Victor’s enchantment with occult science and his encounter with modern science–Victor’s departure for University of ­Ingolstadt–Clerval’s straits–Victor meets Professors Krempe and Waldman–Victor’s health suffers–Elizabeth’s report on Ernest Frankenstein–Clerval’s lament for William–Victor’s anguish over Justine and William–­Victor’s continuing agony–[Creature’s story of framing Justine]–Victor’s plans for a second creature–Clerval’s imperial ambitions–Victor’s apprehensions for his family, his longing for oblivion–Victor’s secret



Monsters, Visionaries, and Mary Shelley    

Aesthetic Adventures    

Edmund Burke on “the Sublime and the Beautiful”    

Mary Wollstonecraft on Burke’s genderings    

William Gilpin on “the Picturesque”    

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere (1798)    

Mary Wollstonecraft, from Maria, or The Wrongs of Woman: Jemima’s story    

Mary Godwin (Shelley), from her journal of 1815: the death of her first baby    

Percy Bysshe Shelley, from Alasto; or, The Spirit of Solitude    

Mary Shelley, with Percy Bysshe Shelley, from History of a Six Weeks’ Tour: Alpine scenery    

Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mont Blanc    

George Gordon, Lord Byron    

            from Manfred, A Dramatic Poem    

            from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto the Third: Alpine thunderstorm    

Leigh Hunt, from Blue-Stocking Revels, or The Feast of the Violets    

Dr. Benjamin Spock, from Baby and Child Care    

The Story-Telling Compact   

George Gordon, Lord Byron, A Fragment    

John William Polidori, The Vampyre    

God, Adam, and Satan   

Genesis: chapters 2 and 3 (King James Bible)  

John Milton, from Paradise Lost    

William Godwin, from Political Justice  

George Gordon, Lord Byron, Prometheus   

William Hazlitt, remarks on Satan, from Lectures on the
English Poet    

Percy Bysshe Shelley

            from Prometheus Unbound    

            from A Defence of Poetry    

Richard Brinsley Peake, Frankenstein, A Romantic Drama in Three Acts   


Reviews and Reactions   

            [John Wilson Croker], Quarterly Review, January 1818    

            [Walter Scott], Blackwood’s Edinburgh Review, March 1818    

            (Scot’s) Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany, March 1818    

            Belle Assemblée, March 1818    

            British Critic, April 1818    

            Gentleman’s Magazine, April 1818    

            Monthly Review, April 1818    

            Literary Panorama, June 1818    

            Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, March 1823    

            London Morning Post, reviews of Peake’s Frankenstein, July 1823    

            George Canning, remarks in Parliament, March 1824    

            Knight’s Quarterly Magazine, August 1824    

            London Literary Gazette, 1831    

            [Percy Bysshe Shelley, posthumous], Anthenæum, November 1832    

            Frankentalk: “Frankenstein” in the Popular Press of Today            

Further Reading and Viewing      


Susan J. Wolfson is professor of English at Princeton University. In addition to this present volume, her editorial work includes  Felicia Hemans (Princeton UP, 2000) and the Longman Cultural Edition of John Keats.  With Claudia Johnson, she is coeditor of the Longman Cultural Edition of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. With Peter Manning, she is coeditor of the Romantics volume in The Longman Anthology of British Literature, and Selected Poems of Lord Byron (Penguin, 2005).  Her critical books include the prize-winning Formal Charges: The Shaping of Poetry in British Romanticism (Stanford UP, 1997) and Borderlines: The Shiftings of Gender in British Romanticism (Stanford UP, 2007).