Cover Image: Frankenstein


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Member Reviews

I loved Prior's annotation of Frankenstein. I thought it gave so much clarity to this classic and assisted the reader in having a more comprehensive understanding of the story as a whole.
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I recently read Frankenstein, so when I saw this version with a new introduction, I jumped at the opportunity to read it. However, it was not quite what I expected. This edition gives guidance on how to read this gothic classic as a Christian. I enjoyed the biographical information about Mary Shelley. If you are interested in a Christian interpretation of classics, there are other books in this series. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this offering.
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While I'm still waiting for a book that unpacks Frankenstein in depth from a theological vantage point (enlightenment/mysticism vs Christianity, Judeo-Christian understanding of natural law, etc.), I found this to be a great introduction to the text. Great historical footnotes too.
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I made a mistake by requesting this book as I am not what you would call a religious person and this perspective to Frankenstein wasn't really my thing. Still, I enjoyed seeing a different approach and it will surely be fun for some. The background information was also pretty interesting and I did learn a few new things from this book. I would definitely give something similar a go again.
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Prior does an excellent job introducing students to the texts, highlighting important themes and explaining relevant background info. And there are so many great study questions! The books are from a Christian press, however, and assume readers will be also, so they're not for everyone.
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Frankenstein by Mery Shelly was the first horror book i read. I am so happy to had the opportunity to read this title with a Gospel perspective. I love the backgrown that Karen Swallow offers you about Mery Shelly, and the insides  about  the characters and the book itself. It will definitely help you to understand deeply this great story. I like very much the questions at the end of each volume.  Its very clever. Love it!!!
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Sometimes, with a person, a concept, or a work of fiction, the whole of it seems so commonplace that we miss out on everything that makes that thing unique.

Or maybe, like Frankenstein’s monster, we are so scared of that thing (maybe of ourselves?) that we don’t give it the intimacy it deserves.

That is what I felt when reading Frankenstein for the first time, thanks to Karen Swallow Prior’s new reader’s guide edition. Karen Swallow Prior is a Research Professor of English and Christianity and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She began writing a series of reader’s guides to accompany classic works of literature and has now published four of those books with B&H Publishing. These guides include an introduction to the work of literature, footnotes throughout the original text, and reflection questions after each volume in addition to the reflection questions at the end of the book. It all adds up to a format that works wonderfully in guiding the reader just as a literature professor would in a college course. Frankenstein is one of four titles currently released. The others are Jane Eyre, Heart of Darkness, and Sense & Sensibility.

Who isn’t familiar with Frankenstein on some level? We know the broad strokes of the story because it has been so intertwined with popular culture. On some level, I think that makes people not bother trying with it, because they think they know what to expect. I know that’s how I felt before I heard Dr. Prior was releasing a new edition with an introduction, footnotes, and reflection questions. I started thinking I should give Frankenstein a shot. (Also, if that cover design isn’t enough to make you want to buy it I’m not sure what I could say to sell you.)
What I found, however, that the story is so much deeper, and so much different, than I ever thought. There are the things that are surprising on the surface level and thus fun to share on social media, such as the fact that Frankenstein opens with a man on a voyage to the North Pole (!), or that Frankenstein’s skin color is definitely not green.

But there are more meaningful surprises in Frankenstein that thrilled me. For example, friendship is a major theme, and it happened to be something I was struggling with at the time (as many others are in the current pandemic-afflicted world). In her introduction, Dr. Prior explains:
"(W)hile the modern church has put much attention on teaching about and serving the family, we have given less attention to friendship, often substituting mentoring and accountability relationships for the genuine companionship for which human beings were created. In centering friendships and the desire for friendship in the story, Frankenstein invites us to consider the importance of companionship in our lives and as well as the dangers of not having good friends."

Walton, the North Pole seafarer who serves as the main character in Frankenstein’s frame narrative, even opens writing to his sister Margaret and telling her that he craves friendship:
"But I have one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy; and the absence of the object of which I now feel as a most severe evil. I have no friend, Margaret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavor to sustain me in dejection."
Friendship becomes a major theme of Frankenstein, and it is powerful as one sees the failure of both Victor Frankenstein and the monster in this area.

Another theme of the work that Dr. Prior elicits in the reflection questions is that of the pursuit of glory or anything else “for its own sake”. Victor pursues science “for its own sake” and it destroys everything around him. Walton, the seafarer, notes that he “preferred glory” even to gaining wealth. The pursuit of these goals for no other sake than achieving the goal is something that readers can evaluate in their own lives. We must ask ourselves, in any pursuit, what good will come of it. Should we pursue knowledge or science or a major discovery without thinking of the external effects? Clearly not. Victor sees disastrous results.

In addition, Mary Shelley’s life story from the introduction is both thrilling and enlightening when considering her work. Dr. Prior is excellent in describing how her experiences and her personality drove the creation of Frankenstein, a terrifying but enjoyable monster that has outgrown all expectations and had effects on the world which its creator never surmised.

But as familiar as the monster is, as much as it feels like it is already a part of us that we want to dissociate from, looking deep into the monster’s heart will reveal aspects of it (and aspects of us) that can be both beautiful and terrifying. I don’t know if I’m talking about the book or something else anymore, but I do know you should get yourself a copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with a reading guide by the notorious KSP.

I received a review copy of Frankenstein courtesy of Karen Swallow Prior and B&H Publishing, but my opinions are my own.
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As with the other books in this publication series, Dr. Karen Swallow Prior provides a rich and thoughtful introduction to this classic piece. Having been a student of Prior’s, I can say with experience that reading her introduction feels like the delight and the privilege of being back in the classroom with her. This book will be a great tool for me teaching this course from a Christian perspective!
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Thank you NetGalley for this ARC.

Maybe I'm really confused and just skipped the wrong bit, but the only thing different about this is that there is an introduction that has an interpretation of Frankenstein??!!!
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I saw this new edition of Frankenstein and I requested it without paying attention to the description which was a monumental mistake. My issue with it was the overt Christian agenda it put through and my poor atheist self couldn't get through it.
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What an amazing resource by Karen Swallow Prior and B&H Publishing Group! 

I was never into the whole pop culture influence of Frankenstein growing up. About two years ago someone highly encouraged me to read Frankenstein. They thought I would love it. I really fought them on it and decided just to try it to prove to them I would not like it. I loved it so much that I read it in one straight sitting and immediately told my mother she needed to read it. She also read it in one sitting and we had an amazing discussion on it. I found so much symbolism (something I often fail to notice in books,) and I enjoyed the religious questions in it.

This Frankenstein book by Prior is a great resource to this who have and have not read Frankenstein as well as those who have. While I did catch on to a lot of the symbolism there was so much I missed. I thought the names were of particular interest. I highlighted so much in this book, 

I cannot wait to read Frankenstein again with even more knowledge. I'm sure I will enjoy it even more. I will have to buy the physical copy to be able to highlight and flip through it on future reads and discussions. I cannot wait to read the next one in the series on Jane Eyre. 

I received an eARC from B&H Publishing through NetGalley. All opinions are 100% my own.
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I think we're all familiar with the story of Frankenstein, or so we think. I really enjoyed reading this book from an academic point of view, which i have never done before with any book. Learning about the authors life and going into a classic after the quick lesson at the start of the book, the symbology became quite obvious. It was definitely a refreshing experience and a brand new take on an old well known classic book!
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This is the second title that I have read in this series, following on Jane Eyre. This edition includes the full, first edition of Frankenstein. (One thing that you will learn is that there were both an original and later Frankenstein). There is a lot of information in the sections that are included along with the full text of the novel.

Readers learn that Mary Shelley had a somewhat chaotic life and one that was filled with loss. Her bereavements included her mother’s death, deaths of her children and the death of her husband. In addition, readers learn about the free wheeling existence of Mary, Percy and those around them. There were many affairs and interconnections.

This edition also includes a good deal of insight into the novel itself. Those who have never read the book may be surprised to learn that Frankenstein was not the monster. They may also be surprised by who narrates the story. Some of the influences on Shelly in terms of death and its links with creation and birth are explored as are many others as well. In addition context about the Romantics and other influences of Shelley’s era and discussion questions..

This book is published by a religious publisher so there is a section on reading the book from that perspective. Overall, I feel that this edition will be welcomed by readers looking for some insight into Frankenstein before they read or reread it. There are even some questions for discussion included after each of the novel’s volumes.
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