Frankenstein (novel)

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German first edition, Max Altmann, Leipzig 1912
Frankenstein (edition 1831)

Frankenstein or Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus (Original: Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus ) is a novel by Mary Shelley , which was published anonymously for the first time on January 1, 1818. It tells the story of the young Swiss Viktor Frankenstein, who created an artificial person at the then famous University of Ingolstadt . The plot is conveyed through a mixture of a letter novel and a classic first- person narrative situation . The protagonist tells his story to the leader of a research expedition, who is also the owner of the ship that saves him in the Arctic.

The horror novel had a great influence on literature and popular culture and is one of the best-known representatives of the horror genre . In 2015, 82 international literary critics and scholars voted it one of the most important British novels .


The story begins with Robert Walton's letters to his sister. He is on a ship to discover a passage to the North Pole , but the ice of the Arctic has trapped him and the crew. While waiting, they watch a gigantic person rush north on a dog sled . The next morning they take a man on board who was seriously ill and was also on his way north at the end of his strength. It is Viktor Frankenstein who will be nursed back to health by Walton for the next few days. As he slowly recovers and sees the deadly ambition in the eyes of his savior, he begins to tell him his life story.

Even in his childhood in Geneva, Viktor was extremely intelligent and driven by an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Early on he came into contact with the works of the alchemist Cornelius Agrippa and his like-minded colleagues Albertus Magnus and Paracelsus . But he soon realized that their knowledge was far out of date and misguided. At 17, he traveled to Ingolstadt to attend the local university to study natural sciences. During his work he found access to his old mentors again and in connection with the current possibilities he discovered the secret of how to breathe life into dead materials.

Enthusiastic about this knowledge, he decided to create a human being. For months he gathered the necessary materials and equipment and was consumed with his task. It should be big and mighty, but Viktor sloppy putting it together and so he was disgusted by his creation when it first breathed, it looked so ugly and scary. Horrified, he fled the laboratory and met his childhood friend Henri Clerval. He had come after him to study with him and because he was worried about Viktor because of the lack of news. He was afraid of revealing the truth to his friend, but when they arrived at Viktor's apartment and laboratory, the being was gone.

Viktor, badly worn out by months of overwork and shock, developed nerve fever, and it was only thanks to Henri's caring care that he survived. After he recovered, he and his friend devoted themselves to studies and pushed aside all thoughts about his creation. Shortly before he wanted to visit his family the next summer, he received a letter from his father stating that his young brother Wilhelm had been murdered. On the night of his arrival he saw a gigantic figure and was immediately convinced that his creation was the culprit. But in their place Justine, the housemaid and companion of the Frankensteins, was accused of murder because a medallion that Wilhelm was wearing at the time of his death was found on her. Despite the strong advocacy of Viktor and his adoptive sister Elisabeth, Justine was found guilty and executed.

Viktor, who knew the real culprit, literally died of guilt and self-pity over the next few days, but did not dare to reveal the truth. Instead, he made long forays into the area to distract himself. In doing so, he met the being he had created. The latter told him that she had learned to speak and read through covert observation of a peasant family. But although it had secretly helped the family by chopping firewood and clearing the snow in the winter, the farmers panic when it finally revealed itself to them. They beat it and then fled from it. Angry and disappointed, it therefore made its way to its creator.

It knew the history of his life and place of residence from Viktor's diary, which it happened to take with it when he escaped from the laboratory. The monster admitted that he had strangled Wilhelm, but this could also be viewed as an unfortunate accident, since he only wanted to prevent the boy's cries for help and his strength was too strong. He also saw himself only as a victim of adverse circumstances, and only the rejection of people had kindled the evil in him. So he asked Viktor to create a second creature, a woman. He hoped to find love and affection from a creature as ugly as he is. Together they should spend the rest of their lives far from any human civilization. Moved by the creature's words and to wash away his guilt towards him, Viktor consented.

Under a pretext, he traveled with Henri to England and on to Scotland to complete his work on a small island in the Orkneys . But he had doubts and feared that the second being would become just as bad and evil as the first. He also suspected that the two creatures could father children who could become a threat to humans generations later. So he destroyed his almost finished work in front of the monster who had secretly followed him. Furious in his anger, he strangled Henri in revenge and tried to blame Viktor for the murder, but this failed. Viktor then returned to Geneva and married his beloved Elisabeth. But the monster, outraged by Viktor's renewed attempt to find consolation and love, while he himself had to remain alone and outcast for the rest of his life, murdered the bride on her wedding night. When Viktor's father died of a broken heart a few days later, marked by the many serious accidents, Viktor set out to hunt and hunt down his creature. Resolutely determined, he followed the trail the monster had left him into the vast ice deserts of the Arctic. Finally, emaciated and seriously ill, Viktor found Walton's ship.

From here on, Walton's letters continue the story, because Viktor Frankenstein dies only a little later. After the ice has released Walton's ship again, due to an approaching mutiny, Waltons is forced to return home against his own will. The following night, Frankenstein's creature comes on board and finds its creator dead. In deep mourning for its bad deeds and disgust for itself, it returns to the ice to find death in the fire of a pyre.


Viktor Frankenstein (in the English original: Victor )
Viktor Frankenstein was born as the first child of Caroline and Alphonse Frankenstein in Naples and grew up in Geneva. Even as a child, he was extremely intelligent and filled with an irrepressible thirst for knowledge. He reads the writings of Agrippa von Nettesheim and the doctor and alchemist Paracelsus intensively . This thirst for knowledge leads him to the University of Ingolstadt , where he creates the monster in his thoughtless zeal . When he realizes the extent of his hybrid act, his enthusiasm turns into disgust, dismay and self-reproach. By trying to evade responsibility for his actions, he becomes guilty. The subtitle of the book describes him as "modern Prometheus ".

Frankenstein's Monster (Fiend) (in the English original: creature or daemon )
Which materials Viktor Frankenstein uses for the being and how he brings it to life is not described in detail. If he wanted to shape his being beautiful and well-proportioned in the beginning, Viktor concentrated too much in his zeal on his actual goal of creating life, so that he neglected this area.

Artist's impression of the monster through makeup, Photo: Derrick Tyson (2005)

“The yellowish skin only barely covered the play of the muscles and the pulsation of the veins. The hair on the head was of course a shimmering blackness and flowed down profusely. The teeth, too, shone as white as the pearls. But such excellence stood in the most gruesome contrast to the watery eyes, which seemed almost the same color as the dirty white sockets in which they were embedded, as well as to the wrinkled face and the black, all modeling-deprived lips. "

It is also about 8  feet tall and has extraordinary powers. It endures cold and heat much more easily than normal people and it needs far less food than they do.

The (male) monster is initially neither bad nor good, but rather naive. Only over time does it learn, perceive its environment and - like a child in this respect - make experiences that ultimately lead to the fact that it can develop an identity, an “I”. However, despite its friendly advances, it repeatedly encounters hostile behavior from people. Disappointment, sadness and self-pity find no outlet and turn into hatred and active anger against the Creator (Viktor Frankenstein). It realizes that the biggest problem in its miserable existence is its loneliness. It therefore sets out in search of its creator so that he should create a second creature, a woman. It hopes for love and affection from a frightening creature similar to it. When this hope is not fulfilled, however, the fluctuating emotional life finally tips into negative territory: the monster decides to take revenge on its creator. In doing so, it does not want to kill its creator, but rather cause him as much pain as it suffers itself. The fact that it kills other people who come exclusively from Viktor's environment is only a means to an end.

A key scene in “Frankenstein” is the encounter between the “monster” and its creator in the Alps. Here you can learn a lot about the profound character of the being. The identity crisis of the “monster” plays a major role due to the inexplicable origin and the difference from others. So the being does not get a name throughout the novel. But also the integration problems of the "monster" in society should be understood as a warning that makes the so-called monster much less of a being of horror than of a helpless and desperate creature that does not conform to social norms and is therefore not accepted. In fact, in the original, Mary Shelley does not directly reproach Victor Frankenstein for having "created" the creature. Rather, she accuses him of being a bad father who simply drops his child because he finds it too ugly.

Colloquially, Frankenstein's monster is often incorrectly referred to as "Frankenstein".

Robert Walton
Robert Walton is an ambitious young man with an irrepressible drive to achieve great things. So he organized an expedition to reach the North Pole. While his ship is locked in by the ice, he meets the seriously ill Viktor Frankenstein, whom he takes care of and who tells him his story. Walton's letters to his sister frame the main plot.

Elisabeth Lavenza
As the daughter of a German who died in childbed and a nobleman from Milan, Elisabeth Lavenza grew up with foster parents in poor conditions. When she was five, she was adopted by the Frankenstein family and raised as Viktor's cousin. She is calm and deals with the works of the poets. She has a close relationship with Viktor, who is of the same age, which leads to a marriage. On her wedding night she is murdered by the monster in revenge.

Alphonse Frankenstein
Alphonse Frankenstein is the father of Viktor and his brothers. He used to be a respected councilor but is now old and ailing. The many accidents hit him hard, and he dies of a broken heart just a few days after Elisabeth's murder.

Wilhelm Frankenstein (in the English original: William )
Wilhelm Frankenstein is Viktor's youngest brother. When he meets the monster while playing hide-and-seek with Ernest , he is strangled by him. It is not clear whether this is a premeditated murder or a misfortune because the monster could not control its powers properly. Either way, Wilhelm is his first victim, and he realizes that he can also spread tribulation and misfortune and not just have to suffer.

Justine Moritz
Justine Moritz was accepted into the household by Caroline Frankenstein at the age of twelve and from then on she worked as a servant and partner. She is very fond of the entire family and therefore immediately starts looking for the missing Wilhelm. When she falls asleep in a barn from exhaustion, the monster slips her Wilhelm's medallion under. Justine is found guilty of the boy’s murder and is executed.

Henri Clerval (in the English original: Henry )
Henri Clerval is the son of a Geneva merchant. In contrast to Viktor, he is more interested in the big issues of social life - adventure, morals, ethics, politics. Nevertheless, the two have had a very close friendship since they went to school together. He follows Viktor to the University of Ingolstadt and later also accompanies him to England and Scotland to further his education there. He knows nothing of its secret activities. When Viktor destroys his second creature before it is finished, the monster strangles Henri in revenge. His attempt to blame Viktor for this murder fails.

Ernest Frankenstein
Ernest Frankenstein is seven years younger than Viktor and the middle of the brothers. He doesn't play a big role in the story, but in the end he is the only one in the Frankenstein family who survived the tragedy.

Original script by Mary Shelley


Mary Godwin wrote the novel in the Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva . She spent the summer of 1816 with Lord Byron and his personal physician John Polidori with her stepsister Claire Clairmont and her future husband Percy Bysshe Shelley . This year went down in history as the year without a summer due to the eruption of the Tambora volcano the year before . Due to the extremely bad weather, those present were often unable to leave the house. So they decided to each write a horror story and tell the others. Mary Shelley wrote the story of Frankenstein and John Polidori wrote The Vampire - a vampire story (long before Bram Stoker's Dracula was created ).


Mary Shelley's husband Percy had often been a student of the Scottish doctor James Lind , who, in the wake of Luigi Galvani, was engaged in “ frog leg experiments ” - like many others at the beginning of the 19th century. This was preceded by the invention of the world's first electric battery back in 1800 . The age of electricity had begun in the shape of the Voltaic column , named after the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta . Volta's apparatus, which was about half a meter high, could generate voltages of up to 100 volts , which was sufficient to trigger muscle movements on both dead animal bodies and human corpses. Galvani's nephew Giovanni Aldini was also one of the galvanists and carried out unusual experiments. On the body of the double murderer George Forster, who was executed in London on January 18, 1803, he caused violent muscle reactions. Those present were so terrified that they thought the executed man would be brought back to life; According to the Newgate calendar , one of those present even died shortly afterwards at home.

So in 1818 the time was ripe for a literary treatment of such a topic. In addition, the young author is likely to have had a very specific and personal approach to her material - half a decade before her story was published anonymously. Through her husband, Percy Shelley, whom she had met in 1813 at the age of sixteen and married in 1816, Mary Shelley had an expert in her immediate vicinity who spoke to her about the Galvani experiments. In view of its discovery at the beginning of the 19th century, electricity plays a central role in the novel, where it is used as an instrument of revival. Another source of Shelley's inspiration are the experiments of Andrew Ure and the doctor Erasmus Darwin , grandfather of Charles Darwin .

In Ingolstadt , one of the locations, a nocturnal Frankenstein city tour (since 1995) reminds of the famous fictional student. In 1800 the university was relocated to Landshut and in 1826 to Munich - the indirect successor of the University of Ingolstadt is thus today's Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich .

Some interpreters see Frankenstein's monster as a symbol of the Jacobin reign of terror , in which the ideals of the French Revolution "were only distorted and betrayed because those responsible from the people themselves had never before experienced a dignified existence".

In that section of the book in which the monster Frankenstein asks for the creation of a companion, which would have enabled him to realize his utopian vision, the socially critical vegetarianism to which Mary, Percy Shelley and Lord Byron adhered is expressed. The monster says to Frankenstein: “My food is different from that of humans; I don't kill lamb or kid to satisfy my hunger. Acorns and berries are enough for me. Since my companion also possessed my nature, she would be satisfied with the same diet. We will build a bed out of dry leaves, and the sun will shine on us as it does on humans and let our food ripen. The picture I am creating for you is peaceful and reasonable; you will feel for yourself that you can only refuse me my future willfully and with violence and cruelty. "

As the subtitle of the book ("The New Prometheus") suggests, Mary Shelly's Frankenstein has a pronounced reception of antiquity. Apart from the references to Prometheus , it is the double biographies of Plutarch , with the help of which Frankenstein's creature tries to fathom humanity.

Johann Konrad Dippel as a model for Frankenstein

In 1968 a David T. Russell suspected in a letter to the editor to Life magazine that the Frankenstein novel could be inspired by Frankenstein Castle near Darmstadt . In doing so, however, he is apparently referring to a superficial and imprecise reproduction of the legend of the knight Georg von Frankenstein, which was documented early on.

The historian Radu Florescu then established a connection to the alchemist Johann Konrad Dippel, who was born at the castle in 1975 . Accordingly, Shelley visited the castle and heard legends about the alchemists that inspired her to write her novel.

The journalist Walter Scheele, who also works as a tourist guide at the castle, added Florescu's thesis to the claim that there was a letter that Jacob Grimm had addressed to Shelley's stepmother and in which Grimm reported a horror story about a magician who was at the castle Frankenstein lives and creates a new being from stolen body parts.

However, recent research has shown that Florescu and Scheele's conclusions are based on false premises. So was z. B. Shelley's stay in the Hessian port of Gernsheim is far too short to make a detour to Frankenstein Castle, and the Grimm letter to which Scheele refers does not exist.

Regardless of historical facts, Dippel's status as a prototype of Frankenstein has found its way into popular culture - similar to Count Dracula's equally questionable identification with the historical Vlad III. Drăculea . In addition to the speculative work of Florescu, the Dippel-Frankenstein amalgamation is the subject of several fictional works:

  • Robert Anton Wilson's fantasy novel And the earth will quake shows Dippel as a monster producer who calls himself Frankenstein.
  • The science fiction novel The Frankenstein Murders by Kathlyn Bradshaw portrays Dippel as an assistant to Viktor Frankenstein.
  • Topps four-part comic series Mary Shelley's Franckenstein portrays Dippel as one of the main inspirations for Shelley's Frankenstein.
  • Warren Ellis ' comic book Frankenstein's Womb hypothesizes that Shelley actually visited Frankenstein Castle and heard about Dippel before writing her novel.
  • Christopher Farnsworth's debut novel Bloody Oath: A Nathaniel Cade Novel describes a vampire trying to stop an immortal Dippel from creating a Frankenstein-like army.
  • GMS Altman's novel Dippel's Oil shows a kind-hearted Dippel in modern times, puzzled by its influence on the Frankenstein myth.
  • Larry Correia's novel Monster Hunter Vendetta refers to Dippel as the creator of an enigmatic character, Agent Franks .
  • Kenneth Oppel's 2011 novel, Dark Desire: The True Story of Young Victor Frankenstein , introduces a twin brother of Viktor Frankenstein, Konrad, named after the alchemist Dippel.

Various non-fiction books about the life of Mary Shelley also name Dippel as a possible starting point. The literary scholar Miranda Seymour claims that Mary Shelley spoke in her diary shortly after her travels through the region around Burg Frankenstein of "gods (making entirely) new men". She thinks the connection is more than just coincidental. In fact, Shelley makes this statement several days before she even approaches the region around Burg Frankenstein. She also makes this statement in connection with the shabby appearance of some of the fellow travelers, not in connection with a monster legend.

Psychological interpretation

In the book Frankenstein and Belle de Jour by Stephan Doering and Heidi Möller, the figure of Viktor Frankenstein is analyzed according to modern psychotherapeutic findings and confirmed that he has a schizotypic personality disorder or borderline schizophrenia . Frankenstein exhibits some behaviors that are typical for the ICD-10: F21 clinical picture, such as neglect , withdrawal from social contacts and isolation . His world of thoughts is dominated by pseudosciences and magical thinking , he is prone to paranoid ideas, hallucinations and is apparently depressed and latently suicidal at times . According to the authors' assessment, his “monster” is part of his own personality that Frankenstein has split off from himself. Martin Tropp came to a similar interpretation in 1976 in his work Mary Shelley's Monster: The story of Frankenstein , who saw Frankenstein as a narcissistic schizophrenic or paraphrenic (i.e. suffering from mild schizophrenia with paranoid delusions). The monster would therefore be a form of divisive fantasy.

Film adaptations

The book was adapted in a short Frankenstein film by Edison Studios as early as 1910 . The monster here has a rather demonic appearance, with claws and a grotesque physique. Frankenstein does not create it here from body parts, but through an alchemical process that was elaborately staged using the technical means of the time.

In 1931 James Whale processed the material relatively freely for Universal Pictures in the film Frankenstein, taking up film expressionist aesthetics and procedures with Boris Karloff in the lead role, and through the work of the make-up legend Jack Pierce, helped the creature to its characteristic face to this day. In 1935 the sequel to Frankenstein's Bride follows , which takes up the aspects of the literary original that were overlooked in the previous film and seamlessly connects to the events of the first film. In the following film, Frankenstein's Son , Boris Karloff appears for the last time on the big screen as Frankenstein's monster.

In some other universal films of the 1930s and 1940s, the material is commercially exploited for, in some cases, only second-rate productions. It was not until 1958 that the British Hammer Studios succeeded in popularizing the motif again with the film Frankenstein's Curse , referring to the classic films of the Universal period. The film occupies a key position in many ways: it is not only the start of a barely manageable series of horror films and sequels, for which the name of the production company is synonymous to this day despite numerous excursions into other genres, it also paves the way for the closely linked ones Careers of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee . In the following years, both were often seen in front of the camera, mostly as antipodes. Furthermore, the first appearance of deep red blood in this film is seen by today's cultural studies as the lifting of the splatter film . The great financial success of the film is followed by other sequels in which the story is loosely told, but also varied widely.

In the 1970s, the series finally came to a standstill , like the classic horror film itself, under the impression of the growing splatter film and the much more speculative so-called Eastern . The material seems burned out and can only be used for second-rate television plays. In 1994 the film Mary Shelley's Frankenstein finally came to the cinemas with Robert De Niro as the creature, which gave itself the legitimation to film the story for the first time close to the literary original. Despite some clear deviations, the film can essentially withstand this self-assessment. Directed by Kenneth Branagh , who also took on the role of Viktor Frankenstein. On the basis of Shelley's Frankenstein, another film adaptation was made in 2004 as a 204-minute television series under the German title Die Kreatur - Hated and Chased by Kevin Connor .

The genesis of the book (see section: Genesis) served Ken Russell as a template for his film Gothic .

The American television series The Munsters from the 1960s should also be mentioned . Here, in the head of the family, Herman Munster, the (film) character of Frankenstein's monster is adapted in the form of a satirical and - from a moral point of view - turned into a positive and ironic.

In 2004 the film Van Helsing was made, in which Dr. Frankenstein and the monster are important minor characters. Frankenstein Junior (original title: Young Frankenstein) is a comedy by director Mel Brooks, who specializes in film parodies, from 1974. The film pokes fun at horror films from the 1930s. So the film was shot in black and white; the original setting from the 1931 film adaptation of Frankenstein served as the location for the laboratory scenes. On November 8, 2007, a musical version of Frankenstein Junior, written by Mel Brooks, premiered on Broadway

Likewise, the animation film Igor by director Tony Leondis , which was released in 2008, picks up on the Frankenstein material, in the animated film the hunchbacked assistant Igor creates a female monster who is, however, nice and lovable.

Another film adaptation was released in 2015 under the title Victor Frankenstein - Genie und Wahnsinn , which is based on the novel, but deviates from it in many points. So, apart from his father, Frankenstein's family is not mentioned any further. He also has no fiancée or wife, and the plot has been moved to London. The figure of the crippled assistant Igor, who also does not appear in the novel, also plays a central role here. The Humunkulus , as already raised in the film from 1994, by means of electricity to life. The leading roles were played by James McAvoy (Frankenstein) and Daniel Radcliffe (Igor), directed by Paul McGuigan .

In addition to the aforementioned film adaptations, the name "Frankenstein" found its way into song lyrics (e.g. Feed My Frankenstein by Alice Cooper ) and other films as the general epitome of creepy .

Well-known cinematic freedoms

  • Although the name Frankenstein's monster or monster based on the literary model would be appropriate, in the course of the numerous films the name Frankenstein became established for the creature itself - a shift that was continued from the films to Whale's successful film: there the name appears therefore already in the title as a synonym for the creature itself (example: Frankenstein meets the wolf man from 1943).
  • For the first sound film version , large power connections were placed in the side of the monster's neck. It was also provided with bulging scars, extra-wide shoulders, platform shoes and a flattened head with a high forehead. This appearance, which does not match the descriptions of the novel, should give the monster an eerie, unnatural appearance even in black and white .
  • Although rain falls on the fateful November night in the original book, it does not describe in detail how Viktor Frankenstein actually brings the creature to life. The well-known powerful lightning bolts including long lightning rods, together with the electric arcs flashing over electricity, are therefore primarily cinematic showmanship, but with regard to the " frogs' leg experiments", they are somewhat understandable.
  • The much-loved and quoted exclamation “It is alive! It's alive! ”Shouted Henry Frankenstein (name change) only in the 1931 film Frankenstein . In the book, however, Viktor Frankenstein is virtually “speechless” from the “success” of his efforts. There is no triumph, but sheer horror.
  • Frankenstein's creepy helper is also an invention of the film industry. In the 1931 film adaptation , Dwight Frye played the hunchbacked assistant Fritz , who was murdered by the monster in the course of the plot. In Frankenstein's Son , the third installment in the series, the character returned under the name Ygor , played by Bela Lugosi . In contrast to Fritz , however , Ygor was sentenced to death for grave despair and hanged, survived the execution with a broken spine and thus received his characteristic hump, which is why it can be assumed that Fritz and Ygor are different helpers of Frankenstein. In the novel, Viktor Frankenstein worked completely alone on his project.
  • Viktor Frankenstein did not have a lover and his wife was murdered on their wedding night. There are therefore no descendants of his. Ernest Frankenstein (his younger brother) is the only survivor of the family, but his descendants could not create a being either, as all records about it were destroyed.
  • Alphonse Frankenstein, Viktor's father, was a councilor and held several public offices (just like his ancestors). Neither he nor his sons were barons, princes or other nobles.
  • Viktor Frankenstein worked on his being in a chamber of his house in the middle of Ingolstadt. Since this building is not described in detail, it can be assumed that it was not that different from all the other houses in its vicinity. The castles and magnificent walls (intact or half-ruined) that are so popular in the films, mostly enthroned high above a city or in the middle of the wilderness, are therefore fictitious.
  • Viktor Frankenstein studied natural sciences, especially chemistry, and later oriental studies in Ingolstadt. There is no written record as to whether he actually wanted to become a doctor and / or obtain the title of doctor . However, the impression arises that he never finished his studies.
  • In the novel, Viktor mentions that he received the materials from the butcher ( Rotten Meat ). You don't find out more. The idea of ​​looting graves and using human corpses came later. Also in the film adaptation of 1931 it is said that the body of the creature never lived, i.e. was created artificially.

Multimedia implementations

Frankenstein - through the eyes of the monster is a computer game developed by Interplay in 1996 that primarily tells the story "through the eyes of the monster": The protagonist awakens after his death sentence has been carried out and after Victor Frankenstein has been resuscitated , in the laboratory of an abandoned castle. He learns about the dark machinations of Richter Rothebusch and the doctor who uses machines and body parts to bring the dead to life. In the course of the game, he meets Sarah who wants to help him escape. The game makes little reference to the novel. Since the story begins with the resurrection of the monster and ends with the escape of Victor Frankenstein, it is to be seen as his pre-narration, which tries to explain the situation of the monster more intensively.

Adaptation by Dean Koontz

On January 25, 2005, the first volume of Frankenstein, with the original title "Prodigal Son", appeared in the USA. Originally, Dean Koontz was supposed to write a screenplay for a television series that reworked Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. However, when the creators decided to make changes to his story, Koontz decided to get out of the project and publish the script as a novel. In the series, the story is relocated to the current era, with Viktor von Frankenstein being portrayed much more negatively than in the original novel. The other volumes “City of Night”, “Dead and Alive”, “Lost Souls”, and “The Dead Town” have since appeared. Marcus Nispel filmed the first book as an 88-minute pilot episode of an unrealized television series, published under the German title Frankenstein - On the hunt for its creator .

Theater and opera

The ventriloquist , puppeteer and special effects artist Phil Nichols leads the incipient in October 2012 theatrical adaptation in Country Playhouse in Houston , Texas as director. He is also directing The Sick and Twisted Tale of Frankenstein: The Undying Monster, a feature film adaptation.

The Royal National Theater in London showed a theatrical version that ran until May 2, 2011. The play was written by Nick Dear and directed by Danny Boyle . Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch played the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature, taking turns on each game day. Live performances were broadcast in cinemas on March 17 and 24.

The material has also been staged several times as an opera . There are musical versions by Gordon Kampe (premiere: Berlin, 2018), Jan Dvorak (premiere: Hamburg, 2018) or Mark Gray ( Frankenstein , premiere: Brussels, 2019).

Use of the term monster

Molecular biologist Sol Spiegelman created a system of self-evolving chemical molecules in 1965. In analogy to Frankenstein's monster, which is composed of inanimate things, these molecules have become known as Spiegelman's monsters .

Expenses (selection)

Different editions on the shelf. - This Monster This Things, Giorgio Sadotti, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2013)
  • Mary Shelley : Frankenstein or the modern day Prometheus - The original version 1818 - Roman . Translated from English and re-edited by Alexander Pechmann , with an afterword by Georg Klein. Manesse, Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-7175-2370-3 .
  • Mary Shelley: Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus . Ed .: Alexander Pechmann. dtv, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-423-14184-0 .
  • Mary Shelley: Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus . Ed .: Andreas Gaile. Reclam, Ditzingen 2013, ISBN 978-3-15-019838-4 (annotated original language edition with editor's afterword).
  • Mary Shelley: Frankenstein or the new Prometheus . Novel. Anaconda, Cologne 2009, ISBN 978-3-86647-376-8 (English: Frankenstein or the modern Prometheus . Translated by Friedrich Polakovics).
  • Mary Shelley: Frankenstein . Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-596-90187-6 .
  • Mary Shelley: Frankenstein . In: Maren Bonacker (Ed.): Midnight Library . Arena, Würzburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-401-06113-9 (English: Frankenstein or the modern Prometheus . Translated by Friedrich Polakovics, license from Hanser Verlag, Munich / Vienna).
  • Mary Shelley: Frankenstein . Arena, Erftstadt 2006, ISBN 3-89996-836-0 (German translation: Hanser, Munich / Vienna 1970).
  • Mary Shelley: Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus . Translated from English by Ursula and Christian Grawe . Notes and epilogue by Christian Grawe. Reclam, Stuttgart 1986. New edition in the ECON Taschenbuch Verlag, series Entertainment - Filmbuch , Düsseldorf 1994. ISBN 3-612-27159-8


  • Antonia Kostretska: The artificial human. Comparison based on the texts of Goethe, Shelley and Bulgakov. Akademischer Verlag Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-86924-083-1 .
  • Martin Tropp: Mary Shelley's monster. The story of Frankenstein . Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA 1976, ISBN 0-395-24066-2 ( Dissertation Boston University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences 1973).
  • Karin Kaltenbrunner: Mad Medicine. To represent the scientist in the Frankenstein cycle of Hammer Film Productions (1957–1974) . LIT Verlag, Vienna 2014, ISBN 978-3-643-50562-0 .
  • Gudrun Boch: Mary W. Shelley: Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. In: Hartmut Heuermann (Ed.): The science fiction novel in Anglo-American literature. Interpretations. Bagel, Düsseldorf 1986, pp. 15-30. ISBN 3-590-07454-X .
  • Christa Habrich (Hrsg.): Frankenstein: symbolic figure of biotechnological border crossing , German Medical History Museum, Ingolstadt 2006, DNB 982640579 (= catalogs of the German Medical History Museum Ingolstadt , volume 29).
  • Jesse Weiner, Benjamin Eldon Stevens, Brett M. Rogers (Eds.): Frankenstein and its Classics. The Modern Prometheus from Antiquity to Science Fiction. Bloomsbury, London / New York 2018, ISBN 978-1-350-05487-5

Web links

Commons : Frankenstein  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. World famous, but anonymous - Frankenstein is 200: Das Monster aus der Aschewolke, December 31, 2017, accessed December 31, 2017.
  2. ^ The Guardian: The best British novel of all times - have international critics found it? , accessed on January 2, 2016
  3. There is a curious contradiction in the fact that in the first sentence of chapter 1 he declares that he is “Geneva by birth”, and five paragraphs later claims that he was born in Naples as the first child of his parents.
  4. Frankenstein . ISBN 3-89996-836-0 , p. 66.
  5. Anja Petersen, Gábor Paál: Flow of Life. SWR2 broadcast manuscript, p. 6 ( PDF ; 67 kB)
  6. Alexander Pechmann: Mary Shelley. Life and work . Artemis and Winkler Verlag , Düsseldorf 2006, ISBN 978-3-538-07239-8 , p. 91.
  7. quoted from: Matthias Rude: Antispeziesismus. The liberation of humans and animals in the animal rights movement and the left . Butterfly Verlag , Stuttgart 2013, p. 74. - It also says there: "This vision will not come true: Instead of entering a state of peace with people, animals and nature, Frankenstein's vegetarian monster finds its end in the fire of a pyre."
  8. Jesse Weiner, Benjamin Eldon Stevens, Brett M. Rogers (Eds.): Frankenstein and its Classics. The Modern Prometheus from Antiquity to Science Fiction . Bloomsbury, London / New York, ISBN 978-1-350-05487-5 , pp. passim .
  9. LIFE. from Apr. 5, 1968, ISSN  0024-3019 , Volume 64, No. 14, limited preview in Google Book Search
  10. Legends and Stories - According to Pastor Scriba (Nieder-Beerbach) 1893 Ritter Georg and the Lindwurm ( Memento from October 31, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) In:
  11. ^ R. Florescu: In Search of Frankenstein , Little Brown & Co (T), ISBN 0-8212-0614-1 .
  12. ^ W. Scheele: Burg Frankenstein: Myth, Truth, Legend , Societätsverlag Frankfurt, ISBN 3-7973-0786-1 .
  13. a b Any Monsters at home? Frankenstein Castle on Bergstr. and the novel by Mary Shelley
  14. ^ Bernhard Lauer: Brothers Grimm sites today. Authentic places, old and new myths. In: Yearbook of the Brothers Grimm Society. Volume 13/14 (2003/2004), p. 47.
  15. Burg Frankenstein, Shelley and the construction of a myth. Archived from the original on August 12, 2008 ; accessed on January 9, 2015 . In:
  16. ^ Bernhard Lauer: Brothers Grimm sites today. Authentic places, old and new myths. In: Yearbook of the Brothers Grimm Society. , Volume 13/14 (2003/2004), p. 47.
  17. ^ Sphinx, Basel 1987, ISBN 3-85914-418-9 ; Rowohlt, Reinbek 1989, ISBN 3-499-15994-5 .
  18. Kormoran Books, 2008, page 199, ISBN 978-1-897151-16-7 .
  19. ^ Roy Thomas: Mary Shelley's Franckenstein , Topps Comics, February ff 1995
  20. ^ Avatar Press, 2009, ISBN 1-59291-059-9 .
  21. 2010
  22. Helenenthal Books, 2009
  23. 2010, ISBN 1-4391-3391-3
  24. Dorthy and Thomas Hobbler: The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein , Back Bay Books, 2007
  25. ^ Martin Garrett: Mary Shelley , Oxford University Press, 2002 ISBN 0-19-521789-6
  26. Miranda Seymour: Mary Shelley , Atlanta, GA, Grove Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8021-3948-5 , pp. 110-111
  27. Stupid details. In: November 19, 2012, accessed January 9, 2015 .
  28. Stephan Doering, Heidi Möller: Frankenstein and Belle de Jour: 30 film characters and their mental disorders , Springer Verlag, ISBN 978-3-540-76879-1
  29. Paraphrenia, the. In: Retrieved January 27, 2017 .
  30. Gerald Baer: The motif of the doppelganger as a split fantasy in literature and in German silent films , Editions Rodopi, ISBN 978-90-420-1874-7 , p. 282.
  31. Indie Horror Month: Phil Nichols Casts His Frankenstein Stage Play and Shares Info on Juice: Zombie Alley Vol. I , accessed March 28, 2012.
  32. ^ A Sneak Peek of the Creature Sculpt for Phil Nichols' Stage and Film Frankenstein Projects. Archived from the original on November 12, 2013 ; accessed on January 9, 2015 .
  33. Frankenstein. In: Archived from the original on November 23, 2010 ; accessed on January 9, 2015 .
  34. A monster is listening to Radiohead. Review of the opera by Gordon Kampe. In: Der Tagesspiegel , accessed on May 17, 2019.
  35. ^ Elias Pietsch: Jan Dvořák: WP von Frankenstein. Work information from the Ricordi publishing house, accessed on May 17, 2019.
  36. Michael Struck-Schloen: Mood maker. Review of the opera by Mark Gray. In: Opernwelt , May 2019, p. 37.
  37. Giorgio Sadotti, This Monster This Things Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK, May 1 - July 14, 2013, accessed December 31, 2017.