Few works of Romantic literature have captured the public imagination as forcefully as Mary Shelley’s first novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Structured around the struggle between its protagonist, Victor Frankenstein, and the far more sympathetic antihero, the unnamed Creature, the tale embodies the power of myth while portraying the latest scientific research of the day. Whether one reads the novel, or experiences the story through the changing persona of the Creature through stage and screen, its themes remain fresh some two centuries later.
By Susan Tyler Hitchcock

At its core, Frankenstein is a myth of human ingenuity that taps hope and fear simultaneously — one reason why it’s been told and retold so many times.

An Interview with Henry Jenkins

From the classic creature films of the 1930s, to today’s fascination with zombies and vampires, American pop culture remains saturated with monsters. What does that say about our cultural subconscious?

By Elizabeth C. Denlinger | NYPL Pforzheimer Collection

We all know what Frankenstein’s monster looks like: he looks like Boris Karloff. But he’s also looked like a Roman senator... and a clown.

By Paul Flaig

Why is cinema so obsessed with the Frankenstein story? It’s inspired more than 200 films — and counting.

An Interview with Sara Karloff

The actor, unconcerned about being typecast, referred to Mary Shelley’s Creature as his “best friend.”

By Tony Perrottet | NYPL Allen and Wertheim Rooms

Switzerland, seldom thought of as a lusty outpost of bohemian creativity, hosted the most artistically productive vacation of the 19th century.

By Donald Olson, et al.

Mary Shelley said that moonlight stoked her imagination as she conceived of Frankenstein — but could that really have happened? A team of astronomers investigated the claim.

Featured Stories

When Mary Shelley’s novel was first published, anonymously, in 1818, some assumed her husband had authored it.


Haven’t read Frankenstein in a while and want a refresher, or perhaps you haven’t read it at all? Check out this summary of the characters and key plot points, as well as maps of the story’s locations. You can also listen to audio recordings of key passages read by actor AJ Stetson.


Prometheus, a Greek demigod, figures prominently in important works by both Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley.