About This Book

C. Louise March 2004 Front Cover

Written from a first-person point of view, Frankenstein follows its namesake, an arrogant scientist obsessed with playing God by creating life out of inanimate objects — in this incidence, a monster made from dead body parts. The novel details the consequences of Victor Frankenstein’s creation of this intelligent life. Mary Shelley, the author, published three volumes of the novel in 1818, 1831, and 1839, and many others since have published creative versions of their own that follow one of the two plotlines. C. Louise March, however, published a version of Frankenstein in 2004 that differs in several ways from Shelley’s original intent and design. It is for these reasons that we chose to examine this modern version for our portion of the Frankenstein 200 exhibit.

Adapted and rewritten by C. Louise March, our 2004 edition of Frankenstein is an adolescent version of the book, and is thus more simple, modern, and unambiguous than Shelley’s original version. Due to the large font size and extensive illustrations, the book is also significantly shorter, amounting to only 186 pages. While the plotline is the same as Shelley’s 1818 version, March’s edition is written in shorter, more easily-digested sentences, paragraphs, and chapters, and à la the 1831 Shelley edition, Elizabeth’s character is an orphan, not a cousin. These aspects all make March’s Frankenstein, in our opinion, an entirely different edition than Shelley’s 1818 or 1831 versions.

Also unique to this version are the 64 consecutive pages flipped upside down. Assumedly, this was a printing mishap, as the adjacent illustrations are arranged right side up, but the flip happens coincidentally in the plot when Victor’s life “flips upside down,” so we wonder if any part of this printing choice was creative license to visually represent Frankenstein’s “twisted” storyline. To further our theory that this was intentional, the upside down pages are also accompanied by misnumbered pages (e.g. page 64 is immediately followed by page 128, which is upside down) and the art is black and white and morose in nature, illustrating further how dark the storyline is.

In terms of the quality of the book, it is printed on basic thin paper with a small sticker on the hard, glossy cover reading “Used book 2013” and “$4.99.” After reading the Introduction to Nadia Nasr’s exhibit review site, “Rare or Reproduction,” we infer from this that March’s Frankenstein version is not especially valuable, especially when compared to the other rare books in Special Collections that are sold for thousands of dollars. The back of the book also deems it “adapted for young readers and fully illustrated.”

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