On New Year’s Day, 1818, Mary Shelley unleashed on the world one of the most iconic works of fiction ever written: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Her story begins further back than that. Ensconced in the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva during the so-called Year Without a Summer, 1816, the teenage author experienced a feverish dream. The tragic tale of the God-like scientist and his sentient Creature was born. Shelley completed her draft by the spring of 1817, and it finally appeared in print, anonymously, a few months later. But our story goes back further still. Between 1812 and 1814, Shelley (then known as Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin) spent many months in the home of the Baxter family near the banks of the River Tay in Scotland. As she later reported in the 1831 Introduction to Frankenstein, Shelley’s eerie imagination first took flight here in the industrial city of Dundee.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Dundee Edition, ed. Daniel Cook with James Morris (Dundee, 2018). Foreword by Billy Kay; Afterword by Chris Murray. Design by Phil Vaughan Images by Elliot Balson, Cam Kennedy, Ian Kennedy, Dan McDaid, and Norrie Millar.
This special edition is a landmark event for the School of Humanities and will make the city’s connection with the novel fully and permanently visible at last to both a national and international readership. It is now available to download for free from the University’s Discovery Portal
Print copies will also be available at a planned ‘Frankenstein Returns: The Showcase’ event in late January (details to be confirmed).
The edition was created especially for this year’s national festival of the Humanities, Being Human. As Scotland’s hub, Dundee has been celebrating the bicentenary of Mary Shelley’s novel (published in 1818). The edition was a collaboration between three of the School’s research centres: the Centre for Critical and Creative Cultures (4C), Scottish Culture and Comics Studies, as well as Duncan of Jordnstone College of Art and Design. It was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Institute. The edition includes specially created illustrations by Cam Kennedy (a Star Wars and Judge Dredd artist) and many other talented artists. As well as downloads, print copies will be distributed to local schools and public libraries across the world.