The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein
By Peter Ackroyd
(Nan A. Talese, Hardcover, 9780385530842, 368pp.)
Publication Date: October 6, 2009
List Price: $26.95*
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When two nineteenth-century Oxford students—Victor Frankenstein, a serious researcher, and the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley—form an unlikely friendship, the result is a tour de force that could only come from one of the world's most accomplished and prolific authors.
This haunting and atmospheric novel opens with a heated discussion, as Shelley challenges the conventionally religious Frankenstein to consider his atheistic notions of creation and life. Afterward, these concepts become an obsession for the young scientist. As Victor begins conducting anatomical experiments to reanimate the dead, he at first uses corpses supplied by the coroner. But these specimens prove imperfect for Victor's purposes. Moving his makeshift laboratory to a deserted pottery factory in Limehouse, he makes contact with the Doomsday men—the resurrectionists—whose grisly methods put Frankenstein in great danger as he works feverishly to bring life to the terrifying creature that will bear his name for eternity.
Filled with literary lights of the day such as Bysshe Shelley, Godwin, Lord Byron, and Mary Shelley herself, and penned in period-perfect prose, The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein is sure to become a classic of the twenty-first century.
PETER ACKROYD is the author of many novels, including the Somerset Maugham Award-winning Last Testament of Oscar Wilde; Hawksmoor, which was named the Whitbread Novel of the Year and won the Guardian Fiction Prize; and Chatterton, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He has also penned acclaimed biographies of T. S. Eliot, Charles Dickens, William Blake, and others. He lives in London.
- In his early discussions with the fervently atheistic Bysshe, Victor begins to question the existence of God. Indeed, he wonders "This deity was venerated as the creator of life, but what if others of less exalted nature were able to perform the miracle? What then?" What connection is there between science and religion in this novel? Are the two arranged as opposites here? As complements? As substitutes?