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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Published by mbahellxtr

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Published by: mbahellxtr on Sep 11, 2012
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01/18/2013

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PREFACE
THE event on which this fiction is founded has been supposed, byDr. Darwin, and some of the physiological writers of Germany, as notof impossible occurrence. I shall not be supposed as according theremotest degree of serious faith to such an imagination; yet, inassuming it as the basis of a work of fancy, I have not consideredmyself as merely weaving a series of supernatural terrors. The eventon which the interest of the story depends is exempt from thedisadvantages of a mere tale of spectres or enchantment. It wasrecommended by the novelty of the situations which it developes;and, however impossible as a physical fact, affords a point of view tothe imagination for the delineating of human passions morecomprehensive and commanding than any which the ordinaryrelations of existing events can yield.I have thus endeavoured to preserve the truth of the elementaryprinciples of human nature, while I have not scrupled to innovateupon their combinations. The
Iliad 
, the tragic poetry of Greece--Shakspeare, in the Tempest and Midsummer Night's Dream --andmost especially Milton, in Paradise Lost, conform to this rule; and themost humble novelist, who seeks to confer or receive amusementfrom his labours, may, without presumption, apply to prose fiction alicence, or rather a rule, from the adoption of which so manyexquisite combinations of human feeling have resulted in the highestspecimens of poetry.The circumstance on which my story rests was suggested in casualconversation. It was commenced partly as a source of amusement,and partly as an expedient for exercising any untried resources of mind. Other motives were mingled with these as the workproceeded. I am by no means indifferent to the manner in whichwhatever moral tendencies exist in the sentiments or characters itcontains shall affect the reader; yet my chief concern in this respecthas been limited to the avoiding the enervating effects of the novelsof the present day and to the exhibition of the amiableness of domestic affection, and the excellence of universal virtue. Theopinions which naturally spring from the character and situation of the hero are by no means to be conceived as existing always in myown conviction; nor is any inference justly to be drawn from the
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following pages as prejudicing any philosophical doctrine of whatever kind.It is a subject also of additional interest to the author that this storywas begun in the majestic region where the scene is principally laid,and in society which cannot cease to be regretted. I passed thesummer of 1816 in the environs of Geneva. The season was coldand rainy, and in the evenings we crowded around a blazing woodfire, and occasionally amused ourselves with some German storiesof ghosts, which happened to fall into our hands. These tales excitedin us a playful desire of imitation. Two other friends (a tale from thepen of one of whom would be far more acceptable to the public thananything I can ever hope to produce) and myself agreed to writeeach a story founded on some supernatural occurrence.The weather, however, suddenly became serene; and my two friendsleft me on a journey among the Alps, and lost, in the magnificentscenes which they present, all memory of their ghostly visions. Thefollowing tale is the only one which has been completed.MARLOW, September 1817.
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