About This Book

The 1984 Pennyroyal Edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus is published by the University of California Press, and uses the 1818 edition of the text. This book can be purchased directly from the publisher, unfortunately now only in paperback, for around thirty dollars making it more widely available in comparison to the version that it is based upon. Originally the  book was only released as a special edition with only 350 copies, but due to its popularity, it was re-released in 1984. Clearly, it is a very prolific edition with over 510 libraries owning a copy of this edition world wide. This version is produced with cheaper materials than the original in order to make it more affordable and available to the population. The fancier edition, which otherwise is identical in the presentation and layout, costs thousands of dollars due to its use of more expensive materials and craftsmanship during the printing process (http://firstsearch.oclc.org.libproxy.scu.edu/WebZ/FSFETCH?fetchtype=fullrecord:sessionid=fsapp6-44042-jh2intoc-y8k3z4:entitypagenum=3:0:recno=1:resultset=1:format=FI:next=html/record.html:bad=error/badfetch.html:entitytoprecno=1:entitycurrecno=1:numrecs=1). This lower cost alternative still uses relatively premium materials, and it enables more people to view the beautiful illustrations by Barry Moser that can only be found in these two editions.

This edition of Frankenstein as a material object is well cared for. It does not have a dust jacket but the colors are well cared for and the shiny red lettering on the front is still in excellent condition. The work is printed on fine paper and is an edition that is clearly made to last and not be transported around easily.

What makes this edition of Frankenstein particularly unique is that its incorporation of  artwork. The artistic value of this edition is achieved through the endpages, illustrations, and font of the text. This edition is primary crafted with a black base color but has accents of red laced throughout it. The end pages feature a depiction of red flowers beginning to bloom over a black background. This illustration is featured both on the front and back set of endpages, the colors matching the overall color palette of the book seen by the red embossed symbol on the front cover and hints of red on the title page. Not only is the cover black with red letters, but the paper is red on the edges. This edition also features black and white illustrations throughout the entire novel. Very few of them have some color. The white parts in the pictures are layered with lines of black throughout. The titles for each chapter are in a gothic front.

All of the illustrations throughout the book are done by the artist, Barry Moser. Barry Moser is a renowned artist whose work is featured in many museums such as The National Gallery of Art, The Metropolitan Museum, and The British Museum. Moser gives lectures at universities across America and has served as a faculty member at the Rhode Island School of Design, Princeton University, Vassar College, and Smith College. Other books featuring Moser’s work include Moby-Dick, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and The Divine Comedy.

Frankenstein is a science fiction novel about Doctor Victor Frankenstein's life. It begins with Frankenstein recounting his happy childhood and then quickly tumbles down hill in his pursuit of scientific discovery. His desire for power over life and death leads him to create a creature that Frankenstein views as hideous. He chases the monster away and is haunted by what he has done. Frankenstein's health declines as he is stalked by the monster he created. After many tumultuous events, the monster demands Victor make him a companion which victor refuses to do. The monster kills Victor’s bride to be and then Victor edicates the rest of his life to finding his monster and destroying him. Although Victor does not live to see the death of his monster, the monster decides to run off into the arctic to die after learning of Frankenstein's death.

Mary Shelley’s own life reflected the tragedies present in Frankenstein. Her mother died when she was a baby, her first, second, and third children died as infants, her husband died tragically in a sailing incident, and the last decade of her life was spent in illness. These tragic events sparked Shelley’s curiosity about the mysteries of life and death and helped her to conceive of her novel Frankenstein.