The Athenæum, 10 November 1832

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Mary Shelley Chronology

The London Literary Gazette, 19 November 1831, p, 740 [review of 1831 edition].

Vigorous, terrible, and with its interest sustained to the last, Frankenstein is certainly one of the most original works that ever proceeded from a female pen. The merits our feminine writers possess, are tact, feeling, the thoughtfulness born of feeling, a keen perception of the ridiculous, or a touching appeal to sympathy. Not one of all these is the characteristic of the work before us; it appeals to fear, not love; and, contrary to the general matériel in the writings of women, has less of the heart in it than the mind. The character of the enthusiastic young student, with whom knowledge is a passion, is powerfully drawn; and we know, in all our imaginative literature, few scenes more appalling than where Frankenstein is pursuing his monstrous and vindictive enemy over the frozen deserts of the ocean. We remember being greatly struck with this work on its first appearance: and our second reading has revived all our early impressions: the romantic excitement of its pages well repays their perusal. We should recommend them on the same principle that physicians prescribe alteratives. A clever frontispiece represents the moment when Frankenstein rushes away in horror from the frightful shape to which his science has at length communicated life. The room and the accessories are good; but the figure is more gigantic than frightful, and the face is deficient in that supernatural hideousness on which the author so especially dwells. The vignette is one of the sweetest in attitude and expression we have seen.

Original publication date

2015-01-01T00:00:00

Published @ RC

November 1832