Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus

By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley | Go to book overview

Introduction (to the 1831 edition)

THE PUBLISHERS of the Standard Novels,1 in selecting ' Frankenstein' for one of their series, expressed a wish that I should furnish them with some account of the origin of the story. I am the more willing to comply, because I shall thus give a general answer to the question, so very frequently asked me -- 'How I, then a young girl, came to think of, and to dilate upon, very hideous an idea?' It is true that I am very averse to bringing myself forward in print; but as my account will only appear as an appendage to a former production, and as it will be confined to such topics as have connection with my authorship alone, I can scarcely accuse myself of a personal intrusion.

It is not singular that, as the daughter of two persons of distinguished literary celebrity, I should very early in life have thought of writing. As a child I scribbled; and my favourite pastime, during the hours given me for recreation, was to 'write stories.' Still I had a dearer pleasure than this, which was the formation of castles in the air -- the indulging in waking dreams -- the following up trains of thought, which had for their subject the formation of a succession of imaginary incidents. My dreams were at once more fantastic and agreeable than my writings. In the latter I was a close imitator -- rather doing as others had done, than putting down the suggestions of my own mind. What I wrote was intended at least for one other eye -- my childhood's companion and friend; but my dreams were all my own; I accounted for them to nobody; they were my refuge when annoyed -- my dearest pleasure when free.

I lived principally in the country as a girl, and passed a considerable time in Scotland. I made occasional visits to the more picturesque parts; but my habitual residence was on the blank and dreary northern shores of the Tay, near Dundee. Blank and dreary on retrospection I call them; they were not so to me then. They were the eyry of freedom, and the pleasant region where unheeded I could commune with the creatures of my fancy. I wrote then -- but in a most common-place style. It was beneath the trees of the grounds belonging to our house, or on the bleak sides of the woodless mountains near, that my true

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1
Messrs. Colburn & Bentley, 1831.

-7-

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Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 5
  • Introduction- (to the 1831 Edition) 7
  • Letter 1 13
  • Letter 2 16
  • Letter 3 19
  • Letter 4 20
  • Chapter 1 27
  • Chapter 2 31
  • Chapter 3 36
  • Chapter 4 42
  • Chapter 5 48
  • Chapter 6 54
  • Chapter 7 60
  • Chapter 8 69
  • Chapter 9 76
  • Chapter 10 81
  • Chapter 11 87
  • Chapter 12 93
  • Chapter 13 98
  • Chapter 14 103
  • Chapter 15 108
  • Chapter 16 115
  • Chapter 17 122
  • Chapter 18 127
  • Chapter 19 134
  • Chapter 20 140
  • Chapter 21 148
  • Chapter 22 157
  • Chapter 23 165
  • Chapter 24 171
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