It has been called the first true work of science fiction and the first English horror novel.

The story has been told over and over again -- not just in books, but in movies and television shows.

Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley, turned 200 years old in 2018!

To celebrate, New York City’s Morgan Library & Museum has a special exhibit on the writer and the book. The exhibit is set to continue through the end of January 2019.

Frankenstein is a classic of world literature. But unlike many classics, it can be interpreted, adapted, abridged, parodied in so many different ways. It's infinitely adaptable. And so that's why it's had such a strong and successful career for 200 years.

Mary Shelley’s classic is one of the most famous horror stories of all time. But Frankenstein is so much more than that. It presents ideas, or themes, that are still important today.

And it's a story that talks about science, about mortality, about morality, about kindness and compassion as well as violence and evil. So the themes are still very present to us.

Shelley wrote the book when she was only 18 years old. And it relates to her own life in tragic ways.

For the exhibit, she chose the materials that show Mary Shelley’s creative process and her monster.

“She was still in her twenties when she became a widow

Critics say the fact that monster is motherless is actually very important. Many people mistakenly call the monster “Frankenstein.” Hollywood movie-makers have done well to mix up the two. However, literary experts say the fact that the monster remains nameless is important to the theme of Shelley’s book.

Her most important legacy is a monster that is still very much alive today.

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.


fiction (n.) - written stories about people and events that are not real : literature that tells stories which are imagined by the writer


novel (n.) - a long written story usually about imaginary characters and events


classic (n.) - something that has been considered to be excellent for a long time


interpreted (v.) - to understand (something) in a specified way : to perform (something, such as a song or a role) in a way that shows your own thoughts and feelings about it


abridged (adj.) - shortened or condensed especially by the omission of words or passages


parody (v.) - to imitate (someone or something) in an amusing way


adaptable (adj.) - capable of changing or being changed to better suit a situation


mortality (n.) - the quality or state of being a person or thing that is alive and therefore certain to die : the quality or state of being mortal


compassion (n.) - a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc.


widow (n.) - a woman who has lost her spouse or partner by death and usually has not remarried


legacy (n.) - something (as memories or knowledge) that comes from the past or a person of the past



Exercise 2


Answer these questions about the article.

  1. How old is the Frankenstein?
  2. Wh is it an important book?
  3. What is it about?
  4. When did Shelly wrote the book?



Exercise 3

Make a sentence.

Make sentences using these words.

compassion, legacy, parody



Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions. 

  1. Did you read this book?
  2. Did you watch any of the movies?
  3. Do you like horror movies?
  4. What is your favourite genre?


This lesson is based on a news article originally published by learningenglish.voanews.