A healthy suspicion should surround books that arrive neatly on some commemorative due date – in this case, the bicentenary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It is not that biographer Fiona Sampson is less than able and diligent in her efforts to celebrate a novel which has resonated like few others during the long modernity inaugurated by the European Romantics. Nor is it wrong that she should foreground Mary Shelley’s life experience as a woman and a mother as a way of revivifying a text so absorbed into our collective consciousness as to be paradoxically invisible.
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