November 2017 | Rebecca Rego Barry

"Frankenstein," Revived and Revisited

FBC2018winterCV1-no-barcode.jpgMost subscribers have already received--or will very soon receive--our winter issue, which, you can tell from the spine-chilling cover, celebrates the forthcoming 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, first published in January 1818. Our feature focuses on a fascinating aspect of the book's bicentennial--how universities and museums are looking at the novel through various scientific, technological, and medical lenses. Examples include Arizona State University's Frankenstein Bicentennial Project, Stanford University's Frankenstein@200, and the Rosenbach's current exhibition, Frankenstein & Dracula: Gothic Monsters/Modern Science.  

It was this last one, on view in Philadelphia through February 11, that came to mind when I noticed that both the 1831 Frankenstein (the first one-volume edition, first illustrated, and first to carry Shelley's name) and a first edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) were among the top lots at Swann Galleries' literature auction on November 14.

249_1 copy.jpgIt seems that both "monsterpieces" are alive and well, at least in book collecting circles. Both sold to collectors--the Shelley (pictured above) for $5,000, and the Stoker (below) for $12,500.

268_1 copy.jpgThere are sure to be many more events and opportunities for revisiting the wrenching story of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster throughout 2018. Notably, the theme of this year's California International Antiquarian Book Fair in Pasadena will be--you guessed it--Frankenstein!

Book images: Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries