The Ancient Frankenstein

Reading Mary Shelley’s Famous Novel Through a Classical Lens

Mary Shelley: A Classical Scholar?

Every excursion into Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein (Or, The Modern Prometheus) seems to unearth more to see and understand. In this study of the book, author R.E. Wilson shares the perspective of a Classical scholar, finding a curious parallelism between Victor and the creature and figures from the mythological Titanomachy, beyond the titular Prometheus. As these symbolic similarities are brought to light, The Ancient Frankenstein pulls further classical allusions from the text that can be linked to Mary Shelley’s own ancient reading lists up to 1818. Textual evidence suggests that the Greek concepts of philia and xenia could offer a new way of understanding the creature’s motives and methods of justice, as well as a commentary on contemporary values that Shelley seemed keen to critique.

This book also includes an appendix highlighting the significant textual changes between the 1818 and 1831 editions of Frankenstein, and a selection of Shelley’s reading list extracted from her diaries.

This book includes:

★ A study of Frankenstein through the lens of Classical Reception
★ An appendix of the changes made in the 1831 revision of the novel
★ A select appendix of Mary Shelley’s reading lists pre-1818

Note: This book is only available as a paperback.