by Mary Shelley
In BriefAn ambitious young student discovers the secret of creating life from inanimate matter and, seeing his chance to overcome death and change the world, puts his research to the test. The experiment results in a new form of life and, ultimately, the descent of Victor Frankenstein and his loved ones into a living nightmare.
Why you should read itWhat started life as an inventively ghoulish short story grew in the telling into a monstrous collage of late-18th century culture, stitching together the radical idealism and bloody carnage which defined and divided the age. Both poignantly capturing and bitterly satirising the spirit of her own Romantic circle, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is now widely recognised as a unique interrogation of classic English literature, rather than a morbid by-product of it.