Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, True First American Edition, 1833

Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1833. Two volumes bound in full modern calf leather with raised and gilt bands. Presented in a custom leather and cloth clamshell box.

This is an extremely rare, first American edition of Frankenstein with the author's name misspelled -- spelled "Shelly" instead of the correct "Shelley" on the title page. Shelley was just 19 when she wrote her classic novel. The circumstances of its composition are by now well known: Mary was in Switzerland with Percy Shelley, Byron, and Byron’s physician John Polidori on that famous evening in 1816 when the discussion turned to one of Shelley’s favorite topics, the supernatural. Byron proposed that all members of the party write a romance or tale dealing with the subject. The resulting efforts were Polidori’s The Vampyre, Byron’s unfinished narrative about a vampire, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. 

Frankenstein has been named “the most famous English horror novel… a defining model of the Gothic mode of fiction, and… the first genuine science fiction novel, the first significant rendering of the relations between mankind and science through an image of mankind’s dual nature appropriate to an age of science” (Clute and Nicholls, Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 1099).

The London first edition, published anonymously in 1818, is exceedingly rare. An 1831 edition was published in London, for which Shelley wrote an introduction describing the circumstances surrounding the creation of the work. At the time of this first American edition, 1833, the novel was receiving newfound attention.

CONDITION: Two volumes. Some light staining and scattered foxing marks throughout, however bindings are solid. The books are presented in stunning full calf leather bindings with raised and gilt bands on the spine, and hand-marbled endpapers in greens, reds, and blacks. Both volumes housed in a matching full calf leather clamshell with a portrait of Shelley on the front. This is a gorgeous presentation of this classic novel.

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