Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was first published in 1818 and stands as a seminal work in the Gothic and science fiction genres. The novel follows the ambitious scientist Victor Frankenstein, who, driven by a desire to overcome death and unlock the secrets of life, creates a human-like creature from reanimated body parts. The story unfolds through a series of letters and narratives, recounting Victor’s journey and the consequences of his creation. Set against the backdrop of Europe in the late 18th century, the novel explores themes of scientific ethics, the nature of monstrosity, and the consequences of playing god.
The icy landscapes of the Swiss Alps, the gloomy atmosphere of Ingolstadt, and the desolate expanses where the creature roams contribute to the novel’s evocative setting. Frankenstein is often considered a reflection of the cultural and scientific anxieties of the time, with the Industrial Revolution and advancements in science raising questions about the ethical boundaries of scientific exploration. The novel remains relevant today, prompting discussions on the consequences of unchecked ambition and societal rejection of the “other.”
Significant adaptations of Frankenstein include numerous film versions, with the iconic 1931 adaptation directed by James Whale featuring Boris Karloff as the monster, and various modern reinterpretations in literature, film, and other media that continue to explore Shelley’s themes in new contexts.