Frankenstein (Limited Edition)

The Modern Prometheus

Mary Shelley

Illustrated by Angela Barrett

Introduced by Richard Holmes

Relish the thrilling horror of Frankenstein in Folio’s stunning new edition. The authoritative 1831 text is bound in ice-blue leather and illustrated with intensely brooding colour plates by Angela Barrett. Limited to just 750 hand-numbered copies, each signed by the artist, Mary Shelley’s darkly disturbing tale is newly introduced by Richard Holmes.

I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.
  1. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

There can be few books as well-known as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Adapted for stage, film and radio over 100 times, this chilling gothic tale is thought by some to be the very first science-fiction novel. For Folio’s fabulous limited edition, artist Angela Barrett has contributed eight ominously unsettling colour plates, two elaborate hand-drawn borders, nine intricate black-and-white vignettes, and a pair of striking designs on the ice-blue leather binding and black cloth-covered slipcase.

Bound in leather blocked in silver and black foils with a design by Angela Barrett

Set in Clifford with Operetta as display

Printed on Abbey Pure Rough paper

232 pages

Frontispiece and seven colour plates printed on Arctic Volume Ivory paper

Nine black-and-white vignettes

Limitation label signed by Angela Barrett

Silvered on all three page-edges

Ribbon marker

Cloth-covered slipcase blocked in silver foil with a design by Angela Barrett

10˝ x 6¾˝

‘We will each write a ghost story,’ said Lord Byron
  1. Mary Shelley from her introduction

In June 1816 four friends gathered at the Villa Diodati beside Lake Geneva in Switzerland, where, confined indoors during the ‘Year without a Summer’, they devised a ghost story competition for their entertainment. Mary Shelley, the youngest participant at just 18, contributed the astonishing tale of Victor Frankenstein, a student of natural philosophy who galvanises into life a creature out of bones collected from charnel houses – a hideous monster of superhuman strength and size. Possessed of human needs and emotions, and educated through books, the creature craves acceptance in society and demands a female companion. His creator’s defiant refusal to provide one provokes the terrifying denouement. Thought-provoking as much as it is thrilling, Frankenstein is indebted to contemporary scientific experiments and philosophical debates, and Shelley unquestionably fulfilled her stated intention to create ‘a story to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart’.

Artist Angela Barrett’s contribution to this stunning limited edition is extraordinary. Created in series with her remarkable illustrations for Dracula, the eight colour plates, each one full of foreboding, are set within elaborate black-and-white borders. Nine superb vignettes represent further aspects of the story, from a finely detailed feather pen to an exquisite scene of the steeples of London, and her work is completed with a splendid design blocked in silver and black foils on the leather binding and another on the slipcase. Each book is signed by the artist on a hand-numbered limitation label. Award-winning biographer Richard Holmes has contributed an exclusive new introduction focusing on the scientific influences and cultural repercussions of the novel. From the gruesome disembodied hand reaching up the spine to the final haunting vignette, this limited edition is the perfect presentation of Mary Shelley’s ‘hideous progeny’ – her own definition of her gothic masterpiece.

English novelist Mary Shelley (1797–1851), was the daughter of political philosopher William Godwin and feminist campaigner Mary Wollstonecraft. Educated at home following her mother’s death when she was just days old, Shelley was tutored to a high level and met several of her father’s intellectual friends including Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Aged 16, she eloped to Italy with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley whom she later married. Her best-known work, Frankenstein, was first published in 1818 and significantly revised by the author in 1831. Shelley returned to England after her husband’s death and continued to write novels, including The Last Man (1826, The Folio Society 2012), short stories and reviews, as well as promoting her husband’s work. She died in London on 1 February 1851 aged 53.

Angela Barrett is a writer and illustrator – using watercolour, gouache, coloured pencils and ink – who studied at Maidstone College of Art and the Royal College of Art. She has illustrated a number of picture books and children’s novels and is particularly well known for her work on fairy tales. One of Britain’s most respected illustrators of children’s books, she is the winner of a WH Smith Illustration Award and a Smarties Prize, and has been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Barrett has taught illustration at Cambridge College of Technology and drawing at Chelsea College of Arts. She has illustrated Dracula and Anna Karenina for The Folio Society.

Richard Holmes is an award-winning British author best known for his biographical studies of major figures of British and French Romanticism. His books include the classic Footsteps (1985) and its companion volume Sidetracks (2000); Shelley: The Pursuit, which won the Somerset Maugham Prize in 1974; Coleridge: Early Visions, which won the 1989 Whitbread Biography of the Year; Coleridge: Darker Reflections, winner of both the Duff Cooper Prize and the Heinemann Award in 1998; The Age of Wonder (2008; The Folio Society 2015) which was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and won the Royal Society Prize for Science Books (UK) and the National Book Critics Circle Award (USA); Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air (2013), which inspired the feature film The Aeronauts (Amazon, 2019); and This Long Pursuit: Reflections of a Romantic Biographer (2017). Holmes is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. He was awarded the OBE in 1992, and in 2014 the Biographers’ Club Prize for Lifetime Services to Biography.


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