Frankenstein by Mary W. Shelley, Photoplay Grosset & Dunlap Edition, 1931

Shelley, Mary.  Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, [1931]. 8vo. Rebound in red 1/.4 leather and black cloth boards, with raised bands, gilt stamps, and gilt titles to spine. New matching archival slipcase.

Presented is a photoplay edition of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece of horror, Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus. This printing was published by Grosset & Dunlap, in New York, in 1931. One of the most collectible Grosset & Dunlap photoplay editions, this book was published to accompany the 1931 Universal Pictures James Whale horror film starring Boris Karlof, Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boless, and Dwight Frye.  It is illustrated throughout with scenes from that production. The book has been beautifully rebound in striking ¼ red leather and black cloth boards, with raised bands and gilt stamps and tiles to the spine, and a matching black archival slipcase. 

Mary Shelley was just nineteen when she wrote her classic novel. The circumstances of its composition are by now well known. In 1816, Mary was in Switzerland with Percy Shelley, Byron, and Byron’s physician John Polidori when the evening’s discussion turned to one of Shelley’s favorite topics, the supernatural. Byron proposed that all members of the party write a romance or tale on the subject. The resulting efforts were Polidori’s The Vampyre, Byron’s unfinished narrative about a vampire, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. 

The first edition of Frankenstein was published anonymously in London, 1818, and 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. The first American edition was published in 1833. 

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). 

Alexander Grosset and George T. Dunlap first met while working for the American Publishers Corporation. In 1898, Grosset & Dunlap formed a new partnership with the goal to shift the focus of the publishing industry from expensive books for the few to inexpensive books for the masses. In order to avoid paying royalties and other publishing fees, Grosset & Dunlap started reprinting books that were already in print. With these profits, the partners purchased paperbound books in bulk to rebind them in cloth and resell. As the company grew, Grosset & Dunlap were able to purchase reprint rights from publishers before publication, including reprint rights from Edward Stratemeyer for the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. Though it was primarily a reprint house, some notable first editions were published by Grosset & Dunlap, including King Kong, the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, and Fran Striker’s Lone Ranger series. 


Very good condition. 8vo. Rebound in ¼ red leather and black cloth boards, with raised bands, gilt titles, and gilt stamps to the spine. New endpapers. Interior pages are generally healthy, with light scattered staining and occasional toning. Illustrated throughout with scenes from the Universal Pictures movie of Frankenstein, illustrations are both full and double page. Presented with a new matching archival black slipcase, with an inlaid image of the original dust jacket design. 

Book Dimensions: 8 1/4" H x 5 7/8" W x 2" D. Slipcase Dimensions: 8 3/4" H x 6" W x 2" D.

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