A copy of Frankenstein that belonged to Lord Byron and features an inscription by Mary Shelley has been discovered in a family library - is expected to sell for £400,000 at auction.
The copy of the best known fiction of the Romantic era had lain untouched for more than 50 years in the library of Lord Jay, the economist and Labour politician. His grandson Sammy, was sorting through his political papers for the archives of the Bodleian Library in Oxford, when he made the discovery.
The New York Public Library just released Frankenstein, its second free Biblion installment, and like last year’s World Fair app this one comes loaded with enough primary source material and new content to keep you occupied for a month.
Mary Wallstonecraft Shelley’s original handwritten manuscript is just one of its primary source treasures. You’ll also find scans from a scrapbook started in 1795, a journal of early poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence, Nelson Mandela’s first official African National Congress statement, and various 19th century engravings.
The Frankenstein app is a reworking of Mary Shelley’s original novel in which, in the course of reading, the reader can engage with the characters by asking questions and offering advice. Such advice is not always taken, as the characters develop a relationship with the reader based on the choices made, and may or may not trust him or her. Ultimately the purpose is to allow the reader to navigate their own course through the text, exploring the various interpretations and possibilities inherent in Shelley’s work. Dale Townshend of the Division of English Studies and Padmini Ray Murray from the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, University of Stirling, interviewed author Dave Morris about his work.
The last notes that Wollstonecraft wrote to Godwin are included in the exhibition“Shelley’s Ghost: The Afterlife of a Poet,” which began last year at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and has now come to the New York Public Library. On display are numerous artifacts both personal and literary from the lives of the Shelleys, including manuscript pages from the notebook in which Mary wrote Frankenstein (with editing in the margins by her husband), which have never before been shown publicly in the United States. But it was Wollstonecraft’s scribbled note, in which she referred to her baby as “the animal”— the same word that the scientist in Frankenstein would use to describe his own notorious creation—that gave me pause. Could the novel—commonly understood as a fable of masculine reproduction, in which a man creates life asexually—also be a story about pregnancy?
What makes a monster? What is it like living on the margins of society? Is technology inherently good or bad? These questions guided Mary Shelley 200 years ago as she wrote her classic novel Frankenstein — they remain just as relevant today. The second edition of Biblion explores the connections between Shelley’s time and our own, showing how the classics resonate throughout society and the breadth of NYPL’s offerings.
Frankenstein's monster, forced to facilitate his own education, parallels the era's education of women, making the monster's murders of all the weak female characters equally significant: education will eliminate female inferiority.