Frankenstein Front Matter
Too many (most?) electronic editions of Frankenstein omit some of the front matter that was intended, by Mary Shelley, to be a part of her text. To read her most famous novel without that material, then, is to not have the full literary experience she intended. Indeed, some people — and I'm at the front of the line, I think #8212; would make the argument that this material is of crucial thematical significance in understanding both the novel itself and its relation to Mary Shelley's life.
So, without further ado, here 'tis:
The title page to early editions of Frankenstein
carries the following brief passage from John Milton's Paradise Lost
(Book 10, lines 743-745):
Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould Me man? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me? —
It should be noted (since again many web-available etexts leave this out) that the full
title of Mary Shelley's first and most famous novel is Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus
Prometheus, of course, is a figure from Greek myth; learn more here...
A crucial piece of information, in my opinion, is the dedication of this, Mary Shelley's first(born) novel:
The Importance of Being William: William Godwin was of course Mary Shelley's father; note also that Mary Shelley (she was actually still Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin at the time) named her first male child "William," and "William" is the name of the first person murdered by Victor Frankenstein's creature.
author of Political Justice, Caleb Williams, etc
Are Respectfully Inscribed
[ Percy Shelley's introduction ]
back to LitGothic's Mary Shelley page