Frankenstein’s Birthday

                                                                    ~ posted by David W.

Frontispiece_to_Frankenstein_1831

On this day in 1818, Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein: Or, The Modern Prometheus was first published to great sensation and controversy. Contemporary reviewers termed it “uncouth,” “impious,” “shocking,” and “a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity.” One critic, surmising that the book’s anonymous author might be a woman, opined that as the authoress had forgotten the gentleness of her sex,  we should “therefore dismiss the novel without further comment.” And nobody ever heard of Frankenstein again.

Well, not quite. From that day to this Shelley’s brilliant creation has entered our imaginations in countless ways, from terrifying to thought-provoking to quaint and kooky.

CC_No_26_Frankenstein_2You’ll find a great survey of Frankenstein’s impact on our culture in Susan Tyler Hitchock’s Frankenstein: A Cultural History. For your browsing pleasure, we’ve assembled a list of Frankenstein’s Curious Progeny, including multiple editions of the original novel and others inspired by it, non-fiction accounts of Shelley, her circle and the storied curse that dogged their heels, and film treatments from James Wale’s iconic 1931 Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff, to the far less memorable yet somehow unforgettable 1966 Drive-In flick Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, and everything in between.

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