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One Book, One College: Excerpts From Frankenstein

Overview of Frankenstein

If you need an introduction to the novel, please read.

Different Versions of Frankenstein

The original, now deemed "uncensored" version of Mary Shelley's novel has some differences with the "popular" version of the novel that Shelley published in 1831.

Mary Shelley had experienced the deaths of two of her children and her husband before the second edition was published.



The first edition was published anonymously. Many people believed it was written by Percy Shelley, Mary’s husband, because it is dedicated to Percy’s mentor. William Godwin is Percy’s mentor and Mary’s father.

A quote from Paradise Lost was removed from the epigraph:

“Did I request thee Maker, from my clay
To mould me man? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me?”

The book is divided into three volumes, each volume is sequentially numbered beginning with one.

The book is divided into chapters sequentially starting with one.

Elizabeth is Victor’s cousin. She is adopted by Alphonse as an infant. She is the daughter of his sister. His sister dies and her widowed husband wants to remarry and have Alphonse adopt the child. Victor and Elizabeth are best friends.

Elizabeth is the adopted sister of Victor. Caroline wanted a girl child and met the orphan while travelling. She falls in love with the child and tells Victor she is a present for him. They are only a year apart in age and are best friends.


Shelley embellishes the story of how the idea of Frankenstein came to her during the retreat with her husband and Lord Byron.

Victor’s character shows more free will during his experiments.

Victor’s character is driven by fate in his experiments.

Excerpts and Abridged Readings

If your students are not ready to read the full novel you can use a shortened or abridged version of the story. You can also use excerpts from the novel to have in-class discussions that focus on specific aspects of the story, setting, characters, etc. See some ideas here.

Frankenstein Quotes

No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success. Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source, many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve their’s. Pursuing these reflections, I thought, that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in process of time (although I now found it impossible) renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption. 

-Victor Frankenstein, p. 41

Read more quotes and an analysis of each here.