Mary Shelley's fable of the new Prometheus is the only Gothic novel that still reaches a wide and appreciative audience. A brilliant synthesis of contemporary philosophy, literary influences and personal vision, Frankenstein was a best seller but not a great critical success when it first appeared in 1818. Frankenstein's presumptuous act of creation, although begun with the best of intentions, is doomed to failure, for man cannot hope to penetrate the secrets of nature. In recounting this chilling tragedy, Mary Shelley demonstrates both the corruption of an innocent creature by an immoral society and the dangers of playing God with science. For this recently revised edition of Frankenstein, Maurice Hindle has made many editorial additions. These include a collation of the texts of 1818 and 1831 and the reprinting of Dr John Polidori's 'The Vampyre,' making this companion tale to Frankenstein available for the first time. His masterly Introduction places this extraordinary novel in its historical and literary context.