Frankenstein is read today in two slightly different versions: the first edition of 1818, written by a very young Mary Shelley; and the edition of 1831, in which irreversible fate is more powerful than human free will. Other minor differences between the two texts originate in yet another 1823 version. This edition preferences the 1818 original text, which is more useful for students of British Romanticism. However, corrections from 1823 that the novelist chose to preserve in 1831 have been incorporated in the hope of doing justice to the young Mary Shelley without entirely disregarding the wishes of the mature author.
The introduction to this critical edition guides the reader through the themes and aspects of the novel and highlights their importance for today’s reader. Annotations help explain and inform the reading. The quality of the book and the legibility of the font, both in the text and in the footnotes, enhance the reading experience.