Working from the earliest surviving draft of Frankenstein, Charles E. Robinson presents two versions of the classic vel as Mary Shelley originally wrote it and a subsequent version clearly indicating Percy Shelley s amendments and contributions. For the first time we can hear Mary s sole voice, which is colloquial, fast-paced, and sounds more modern to a contemporary reader. We can also see for the first time the extent of Percy Shelley s contribution some 5,000 words out of 72,000 and his stylistic and thematic changes. His occasionally florid prose is in marked contrast to the directness of Mary s writing. Interesting, too, are Percy s suggestions, which humanize the monster, thus shaping many of the major themes of the vel as we read it today. In these two versions of Frankenstein we have an exciting new view of one of literature s greatest works.
Charles E. Robinson is a professor of English at the University of Delaware. He has published and lectured extensively on the English Romantic writers, especially Byron and the Shelleys. His books include Mary Shelley: Collected Tales and Stories; Mary Shelley's Prosperine and Midas and The Frankenstein Notebooks.