The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein

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9780099524137: The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein

Peter Ackroyd’s imagination dazzles in this brilliant novel written in the voice of Victor Frankenstein himself. Mary Shelley and Shelley are characters in the novel.

It was at Oxford that I first met Bysshe. We arrived at our college on the same day; confusing to a mere foreigner, it is called University College. I had seen him from my window and had been struck by his auburn locks.
The long-haired poet — “Mad Shelley” — and the serious-minded student from Switzerland spark each other’s interest in the new philosophy of science which is overturning long-cherished beliefs. Perhaps there is no God. In which case, where is the divine spark, the soul? Can it be found in the human brain? The heart? The eyes?

Victor Frankenstein begins his anatomy experiments in a barn near Oxford. The coroner’s office provides corpses — but they have often died of violence and drowning; they are damaged and putrifying. Victor moves his coils and jars and electrical fluids to a deserted pottery and from there, makes contact with the Doomesday Men — the resurrectionists.

Victor finds that perfect specimens are hard to come by . . . until that Thames-side dawn when, wrapped in his greatcoat, he hears the splashing of oars and sees in the half-light the approaching boat where, slung into the stern, is the corpse of a handsome young man, one hand trailing in the water. . . .
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Book Description
When two nineteenth-century Oxford students--Victor Frankenstein, a serious researcher, and the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley--form an unlikely friendship, the result is a tour de force that could only come from one of the world's most accomplished and prolific authors.

This haunting and atmospheric novel opens with a heated discussion, as Shelley challenges the conventionally religious Frankenstein to consider his atheistic notions of creation and life. Afterward, these concepts become an obsession for the young scientist. As Victor begins conducting anatomical experiments to reanimate the dead, he at first uses corpses supplied by the coroner. But these specimens prove imperfect for Victor's purposes. Moving his makeshift laboratory to a deserted pottery factory in Limehouse, he makes contact with the Doomsday men--the resurrectionists--whose grisly methods put Frankenstein in great danger as he works feverishly to bring life to the terrifying creature that will bear his name for eternity.

Filled with literary lights of the day such as Bysshe Shelley, Godwin, Lord Byron, and Mary Shelley herself, and penned in period-perfect prose, The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein is sure to become a classic of the twenty-first century.

Peter Ackroyd on The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein

It is of course obviously true that Frankenstein is a wonderful story, and I was eager to see if I could extend it in other directions. It is a myth and a history, an allegory and a nightmare. I wanted to see if it was possible to maintain all those elements in a re-interpretation of the original text.

I had been greatly impressed by Mary Shelley’s original, but I was eager to tease out some of her assumptions and themes.

I had always been interested in the Romantic movement of English poetry, in the early nineteenth century, and the story of Victor Frankenstein allowed me to explore all the possible meanings of "romantic" in that context. This also meant that I could discuss the worship of electricity and new science in the period. But it also allowed me to introduce the "real" characters of Byron and others into the plot. I wanted to set the story in London, as a way of re-imagining and re-creating the nineteenth-century city. I also wanted to see if I could recreate the language and texture of the period so that the reader would feel connected in an intimate way with a culture and civilization that have now disappeared.

In that I was greatly assisted by the fact that I wrote and presented a series on BBC Television, entitled The Romantics, which allowed me to suggest the lines of continuity between Coleridge, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Keats, and of course Mary Shelley herself. All of these people appear in the novel itself. I was also helped by the fact that in the course of filming I went to all of the sites that appear in the novel itself, particularly the Villa Diodati on the shores of Lake Geneva where Mary Shelley had the original inspiration for her novel. We spent one night filming there, and on the balcony of the house I had an intimation of the novel I was about to write.--Peter Ackroyd

About the Author:

Peter Ackroyd is a prolific prize-winning novelist, historian and biographer.
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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Victor Frankenstein begins his anatomy experiments in a barn in the secluded village of Headington, near Oxford. The coroner s office provides the corpses he needs - but they have often died by violent means and are damaged and putrifying. Victor moves his coils and jars and electrical fluids to a deserted pottery manufactury in Limehouse. And, from Limehouse, makes contact with the Doomesday Men - the resurrectionists. Victor pays better than any hospital for the bodies of the very recently dead. Even so, perfect specimens are hard to come by.until that Thames-side dawn when Victor, waiting, wrapped in his greatcoat, on his wooden jetty, hears the splashing of oars and sees in the half-light that slung into the stern of the approaching boat is the corpse of a handsome young man, one hand trailing in the water. Bookseller Inventory # AWC9780099524137

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Victor Frankenstein begins his anatomy experiments in a barn in the secluded village of Headington, near Oxford. The coroner s office provides the corpses he needs - but they have often died by violent means and are damaged and putrifying. Victor moves his coils and jars and electrical fluids to a deserted pottery manufactury in Limehouse. And, from Limehouse, makes contact with the Doomesday Men - the resurrectionists. Victor pays better than any hospital for the bodies of the very recently dead. Even so, perfect specimens are hard to come by.until that Thames-side dawn when Victor, waiting, wrapped in his greatcoat, on his wooden jetty, hears the splashing of oars and sees in the half-light that slung into the stern of the approaching boat is the corpse of a handsome young man, one hand trailing in the water. Bookseller Inventory # AWC9780099524137

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