First Paper (500 words, not including quotations) DUE Saturday JANUARY 28 by 11:59 p.m. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Your assignment is to do a close reading of one of the two editions we read of Frankenstein. Consider one of the following topics:

Number One. Is Charles Robinson's edition of The Original Frankenstein an improvement on previous editions of the novel that reprinted the 1818 or 1831 editions Shelley herself published, an improvement in the sense that we see can now see what Mary herself really wrote all by herself? Or is The Original Frankenstein a monstrosity, bringing to birth a textual embryo or perhaps fetus that Shelley herself chose to abort or to leave in the womb of her imagination and never wished to see published? Is Robinson himself a kind of accidental Victor Frankenstein trying to bring forth the bride--namely, Mary Shelley? Is he doing to Mary what he claims Percy did, wrecking her work paradoxically while trying to aid it? Is there any reason to think that Mary ever wrote without being in conversation with other people, including her father, to whom she dedicated the novel, her dead mother, with whom she communed at her grave and where she dated Percy, or Percy, who had drowned before Shelley published her revised version in 1831? Is her version suprior or inferior to the 1818 edition?

Second Topic. Which is the more readable version of Frankenstein, the Harvard edition with the many annotations? Or Robinson's with the more customary and more limited scholarly apparatus? Do the annotations and other paratexts bring the novel to life? Or do they bury it? Or do they change the way you read? Remember that what we do when we read is a cental concern of the course. So reading from page one to the end is only one way of reading. Any Critical Edition opens up more luxurious, errant, kinds of reading. The Harvard edition goes further in that direction than any other edition does.

Third Topic. Imagine Harvard UP has asked you to do an annotated edition of Mary Shelley's draft of Frankenstein. How would you annotate it and why? You may consider the Harvard Annoted Frankenstein as your model. The Press wants you to do something similar with the draft. What would be in your table of contents? Give some examples of annotations you would give and explain why you've given them.

Fourth Topic: Compare something in Mary's draft that she (and Percy?) changed in the 1818 edition. Assuming the changes were for the better, why would we want to read the draft at all? What, if anything, does the Original Frankenstein help us understand about the published editions? Can we ever read the draft as if it were a stand alone publication, as if we could read it without the pubished edition? Or can we ever really read Frankenstein unless we read comparatively the draft and the two published editions? If not, what would that comparative reading look like?

Fifth Topic. Imagine you are Percy Shelley's ghost. Mary has met you in Hell (he signed his name "Mad Shelley. Destination Hell" when staying at hotels) and you thank her for editing your posthumous works. Twice. You tell you have been granted permission to return to earth and edit her draft and publish it posthumously, returning the favor she did you. Your not sure if you will be able two editions, as she did of yours. How would you edit her draft in response to the way she edited your works? See The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Ed Mary Shelley; Percy Bysshe Shelley, Posthumous Poems. Ed Mary Shelley.

If you don't know what a close reading is and have never done one before, be sure to go to You may also ask me for clarification. You must also know how to write a research paper, or analytical essay. You will need a title for your paper and a thesis, an argument that you can state in one sentence. Your thesis should go at the end of your first paragraph. To make sure we share the same understanding of the assigned paper, please read before you begin writing. You may figure out your title before you write your paper, but usually, you only figure out yourtitle after you figure out your thesis. And you figure out your thesis by writing your paper. What you think is your conclusion often needs to be moved up from the end of the essay to the front. Then you are ready to make your final revisions and add a new concluding paragraph. You may also have come up with a new title in the course of writing the paper. And then you are ready to proofread your paper. And then you will have finished writing your paper. Congratulations! :)

Email your paper (as an attachment) to me at Put your name in the subject title or header of your title. Put your name in your paper.

Grading: I will meet with you in person to discuss your paper with you. PLEASE BE ADVISED: If you didn't do the asignment, a close reading, it's an automatic E for the paper an AND FOR THE COURSE. If don't put your name on your paper, it's an automatic E. If you didn't have a proper title, it's an automatic E. If you don't have a thesis, it's an automatic E. One third of your grade will be based on your title; one third on your thesis; and one third on the rest of your paper.