Frankenstein

Publication

Shelley completed her writing in April/May 1817, and Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was published on 1 January 1818[30] by the small London publishing house Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones.[31][32] It was issued anonymously, with a preface written for Mary by Percy Bysshe Shelley and with a dedication to philosopher William Godwin, her father. It was published in an edition of just 500 copies in three volumes, the standard "triple-decker" format for 19th-century first editions.

The second edition of Frankenstein was published on 11 August 1823 in two volumes (by G. and W. B. Whittaker) following the success of the stage play Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein by Richard Brinsley Peake.[33] This edition credited Mary Shelley as the book's author on its title page.

On 31 October 1831, the first "popular" edition in one-volume appeared, published by Henry Colburn & Richard Bentley.[34] This edition was heavily revised by Mary Shelley, partially to make the story less radical. It included a lengthy new preface by the author, presenting a somewhat embellished version of the genesis of the story. This edition is the one most widely published and read now, although a few editions follow the 1818 text.[35] Some scholars prefer the original version, arguing that it preserves the spirit of Mary Shelley's vision (see Anne K. Mellor's "Choosing a Text of Frankenstein to Teach" in the W. W. Norton Critical edition).

In 2008, a new edition of the novel, titled The Original Frankenstein, edited by Charles E. Robinson, was published. Robinson examined the original manuscript by Mary Shelley and noted the edits that Percy Bysshe Shelley made to it.[36]


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