I had a feeling this one was going to stump a lot of people, but as I promised, this is a book I’d bet that every single one of you has at least heard of. For some reason, it appealed to my wicked sense of humor to use a line from a very well-known book, but which would probably fool all of us, me included. I was willing to be wrong and give away some downloads today, but alas. I called it correctly. Sorry to say we have no winners.
So with that in mind, are you ready to find out which very famous book none of us can recognize from the opening line? Okay. Here goes.
“You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.” is the opening line from Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus written by English author Mary Shelley though first published anonymously in 1818. Her name did not appear until the second edition published in Paris in 1821.
Frankenstein is infused with elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement. Brian Aldiss has argued that it should be considered the first true science fiction story because, in contrast to previous stories with fantastical elements resembling those of later science fiction, the central character “makes a deliberate decision” and “turns to modern experiments in the laboratory” to achieve fantastic results. It has had a considerable influence in literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories, films and plays.
Since the novel’s publication, the name “Frankenstein” has often been used to refer to the monster itself. In the novel, Frankenstein’s creation is identified by words such as creature, monster, fiend, and wretch, but it is the monster’s creator who is correctly identified as Victor Frankenstein.
There are many editions of this book available on Amazon, but I chose to use the one featuring what most of us think of when we discuss the book or, more likely, one of the many film adaptations. No one can forget Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster, I’m sure.
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley about the young student of science Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque but sentient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty.
Shelley had travelled through Europe in 1814, journeying along the river Rhine in Germany with a stop in Gernsheim which is just 17 km (10 mi) away from Frankenstein Castle, where two centuries before an alchemist was engaged in experiments. Later, she travelled in the region of Geneva (Switzerland)—where much of the story takes place—and the topics of galvanism and other similar occult ideas were themes of conversation among her companions, particularly her lover and future husband, Percy Shelley. Mary, Percy, Lord Byron, and John Polidori decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. After thinking for days, Shelley dreamt about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what he had made; her dream later evolved into the story within the novel.
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And that’s it for this week, folks. (See? I told you this was a book familiar to all of us. I’ve even read it. More than once, back in my misspent youth. But be darned if I recognized that opening line.) Next week, I promise to go easier on you! Hope you’ll join me then for another #FirstLineFriday.