Book Review: Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years by Christopher Frayling


If you’re a fan of horror and more specifically the several different versions — both literary and cinematic — of Frankenstein’s Monster, Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years is a book that you simply must own.

It’s really two books in one.  The first half of the book deals with the original creation of Frankenstein.  It goes into a detail about not only the famous night and game that led to Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein but it also details everything that not only influenced Shelley’s imagination but which led to the world becoming fascinated by her creation.  How you react to this section of the book will largely depend on how interested you are in history.  Me, I’m an unapologetic history nerd so I loved it.

The second part of the book is a visual history of the Monster through the years, featuring everything from his many film appearances to his use in advertisements and political cartoons to his appearances in various comic books.  It’s not just a collection of pictures, though.  It’s also a testament to the power of Mary Shelley’s creation and how the Monster has come to be a universal figure, one who has been adopted by every culture and ideology.

Christopher Frayling is a witty and engaging writer, which helps to get through some of the denser sections of the first half of the book.  His love for the Monster comes through every page, which makes Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years a perfect celebration of the world’s most famous reanimated body.