Mary

Shelley

Frankenstein

or The Modern Prometheus

oder Der moderne Prometheus

Übersetzt von Ana Maria Brock, Lizenz der Aufbau Verlagsgruppe
Synchronisation und Ergänzungen © Doppeltext 2012

TITELBLATT

PREFACE

LETTER I

LETTER II

LETTER III

LETTER IV

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

CHAPTER IV

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER VI

CHAPTER VII

CHAPTER VIII

CHAPTER IX

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XIV

CHAPTER XV

CHAPTER XVI

CHAPTER XVII

CHAPTER XVIII

CHAPTER XIX

CHAPTER XX

CHAPTER XXI

CHAPTER XXII

CHAPTER XXIII

CHAPTER XXIV

IMPRESSUM

PREFACE

The event on which this fic­tion is foun­ded has been sup­posed, by Dr. Dar­win, and some of the physiolo­gic­al writers of Ger­many, as not of im­possible oc­cur­rence.
I shall not be sup­posed as ac­cord­ing the re­motest de­gree of ser­i­ous faith to such an ima­gin­a­tion;
yet, in as­sum­ing it as the basis of a work of fancy, I have not con­sidered my­self as merely weav­ing a series of su­per­nat­ur­al ter­rors.
The event on which the in­terest of the story de­pends is ex­empt from the dis­ad­vant­ages of a mere tale of spectres or en­chant­ment.
It was re­com­men­ded by the nov­elty of the situ­ations which it de­vel­ops;
and, however im­possible as a phys­ic­al fact, af­fords a point of view to the ima­gin­a­tion for the de­lin­eat­ing of hu­man pas­sions
more com­pre­hens­ive and com­mand­ing than any which the or­din­ary re­la­tions of ex­ist­ing events can yield.
I have thus en­deav­oured to pre­serve the truth of the ele­ment­ary prin­ciples of hu­man nature,
while I have not scrupled to in­nov­ate upon their com­bin­a­tions.
The Ili­ad, the tra­gic po­etry of Greece,— Shakespeare, in the Tem­pest and Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream
and most es­pe­cially Milton, in Para­dise Lost, con­form to this rule;
and the most humble nov­el­ist, who seeks to con­fer or re­ceive amuse­ment from his la­bours,
may, without pre­sump­tion, ap­ply to prose fic­tion a li­cence, or rather a rule,
from the ad­op­tion of which so many ex­quis­ite com­bin­a­tions of hu­man feel­ing have res­ul­ted in the highest spe­ci­mens of po­etry.
The cir­cum­stance on which my story rests was sug­ges­ted in cas­u­al con­ver­sa­tion.
It was com­menced partly as a source of amuse­ment, and partly as an ex­pedi­ent for ex­er­cising any un­tried re­sources of mind.
Oth­er motives were mingled with these as the work pro­ceeded.
I am by no means in­dif­fer­ent to the man­ner in which whatever mor­al tend­en­cies ex­ist in the sen­ti­ments or char­ac­ters it con­tains shall af­fect the read­er;
yet my chief con­cern in this re­spect has been lim­ited to avoid­ing the en­er­vat­ing ef­fects of the nov­els of the present day
and to the ex­hib­i­tion of the ami­able­ness of do­mest­ic af­fec­tion, and the ex­cel­lence of uni­ver­sal vir­tue.
The opin­ions which nat­ur­ally spring from the and situ­ation of the hero are by no means to be con­ceived as ex­ist­ing al­ways in my own con­vic­tion;
nor is any in­fer­ence justly to be drawn from the fol­low­ing pages as pre­ju­dicing any philo­soph­ic­al doc­trine of whatever kind.
It is a sub­ject also of ad­di­tion­al in­terest to the au­thor that this story was be­gun in the majest­ic re­gion where the scene is prin­cip­ally laid,
and in so­ci­ety which can­not cease to be re­gret­ted.
I passed the sum­mer of 1816 in the en­virons of Geneva.
The sea­son was cold and rainy, and in the even­ings we crowded around a blaz­ing wood fire,
and oc­ca­sion­ally amused ourselves with some Ger­man stor­ies of ghosts, which happened to fall into our hands.
These tales ex­cited in us a play­ful de­sire of im­it­a­tion.
Two oth­er friends (a tale from the pen of one of whom would be far more ac­cept­able to the pub­lic than any­thing
I can ever hope to pro­duce) and my­self agreed to write each a story foun­ded on some su­per­nat­ur­al oc­cur­rence.
The weath­er, however, sud­denly be­came se­rene; and my two friends left me on a jour­ney among the Alps, and lost, in the mag­ni­fi­cent scenes
which they present, all memory of their ghostly vis­ions. The fol­low­ing tale is the only one which has been com­pleted.
Mar­low, Septem­ber, 1817

LETTER I

To Mrs. Saville, England

St. Peters­burgh, Dec. 11th, 17—
You will re­joice to hear that no dis­aster has ac­com­pan­ied the com­mence­ment of an en­ter­prise which you have re­garded with such evil fore­bod­ings.
I ar­rived here yes­ter­day, and my first task is to as­sure my dear sis­ter of my wel­fare and in­creas­ing con­fid­ence in the suc­cess of my un­der­tak­ing.
I am already far north of Lon­don, and as I walk in the streets of Peters­burgh,
I feel a cold north­ern breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves and fills me with de­light.
Do you un­der­stand this feel­ing? This breeze, which has trav­elled from the re­gions to­wards which I am ad­van­cing, gives me a fore­taste of those icy climes.
In­spir­ited by this wind of prom­ise, my day­dreams be­come more fer­vent and vivid.
I try in vain to be per­suaded that the pole is the seat of frost and des­ol­a­tion;
it ever presents it­self to my ima­gin­a­tion as the re­gion of beauty and de­light.
There, Mar­garet, the sun is forever vis­ible, its broad disk just skirt­ing the ho­ri­zon and dif­fus­ing a per­petu­al splend­our.
There — for with your leave, my sis­ter, I will put some trust in pre­ced­ing nav­ig­at­ors — there snow and frost are ban­ished;
and, sail­ing over a calm sea, we may be waf­ted to a land
sur­pass­ing in won­ders and in beauty every re­gion hitherto dis­covered on the hab­it­able globe.
Its pro­duc­tions and fea­tures may be without ex­ample,
as the phe­nom­ena of the heav­enly bod­ies un­doubtedly are in those un­dis­covered solitudes.
What may not be ex­pec­ted in a coun­try of etern­al light?
I may there dis­cov­er the won­drous power which at­tracts the needle and may reg­u­late a thou­sand ce­les­ti­al ob­ser­va­tions
that re­quire only this voy­age to render their seem­ing ec­cent­ri­cit­ies con­sist­ent forever.
I shall sa­ti­ate my ar­dent curi­os­ity with the sight of a part of the world nev­er be­fore vis­ited,
and may tread a land nev­er be­fore im­prin­ted by the foot of man.
These are my en­tice­ments, and they are suf­fi­cient to con­quer all fear of danger or death
and to in­duce me to com­mence this la­bor­i­ous voy­age with the joy a child feels
when he em­barks in a little boat, with his hol­i­day mates, on an ex­ped­i­tion of dis­cov­ery up his nat­ive river.
But sup­pos­ing all these con­jec­tures to be false, you can­not con­test the in­es­tim­able be­ne­fit
which I shall con­fer on all man­kind, to the last gen­er­a­tion,
by dis­cov­er­ing a pas­sage near the pole to those coun­tries, to reach which at present so many months are re­quis­ite;
or by as­cer­tain­ing the secret of the mag­net, which, if at all pos­sible, can only be ef­fected by an un­der­tak­ing such as mine.
These re­flec­tions have dis­pelled the agit­a­tion with which I began my let­ter,
and I feel my heart glow with an en­thu­si­asm which el­ev­ates me to heav­en,
for noth­ing con­trib­utes so much to tran­quil­lize the mind as a steady pur­pose — a point on which the soul may fix its in­tel­lec­tu­al eye.
This ex­ped­i­tion has been the fa­vour­ite dream of my early years.
I have read with ar­dour the ac­counts of the vari­ous voy­ages which have been made in the pro­spect of ar­riv­ing at the North Pa­cific Ocean through the seas which sur­round the pole.
You may re­mem­ber that a his­tory of all the voy­ages made for pur­poses of dis­cov­ery com­posed the whole of our good Uncle Thomas’ lib­rary.
My edu­ca­tion was neg­lected, yet I was pas­sion­ately fond of read­ing.
These volumes were my study day and night, and my fa­mili­ar­ity with them in­creased that re­gret
which I had felt, as a child, on learn­ing that my fath­er’s dy­ing in­junc­tion had for­bid­den my uncle to al­low me to em­bark in a sea­far­ing life.
These vis­ions faded when I per­used, for the first time, those po­ets whose ef­fu­sions en­tranced my soul and lif­ted it to heav­en.
I also be­came a poet and for one year lived in a para­dise of my own cre­ation;
I ima­gined that I also might ob­tain a niche in the temple where the names of Homer and Shakespeare are con­sec­rated.
You are well ac­quain­ted with my fail­ure and how heav­ily I bore the dis­ap­point­ment.
But just at that time I in­her­ited the for­tune of my cous­in, and my thoughts were turned into the chan­nel of their earli­er bent.
Six years have passed since I re­solved on my present un­der­tak­ing.
I can, even now, re­mem­ber the hour from which I ded­ic­ated my­self to this great en­ter­prise. I com­menced by in­ur­ing my body to hard­ship.
I ac­com­pan­ied the whale-fish­ers on sev­er­al ex­ped­i­tions to the North Sea; I vol­un­tar­ily en­dured cold, fam­ine, thirst, and want of sleep;
I of­ten worked harder than the com­mon sail­ors dur­ing the day and de­voted my nights to the study of math­em­at­ics,
the the­ory of medi­cine, and those branches of phys­ic­al sci­ence
from which a nav­al ad­ven­turer might de­rive the greatest prac­tic­al ad­vant­age.
Twice I ac­tu­ally hired my­self as an un­der-mate in a Green­land whaler, and ac­quit­ted my­self to ad­mir­a­tion.
I must own I felt a little proud when my cap­tain offered me the second dig­nity in the ves­sel
and en­treated me to re­main with the greatest earn­est­ness, so valu­able did he con­sider my ser­vices.
And now, dear Mar­garet, do I not de­serve to ac­com­plish some great pur­pose?
My life might have been passed in ease and lux­ury, but I pre­ferred glory to every en­tice­ment that wealth placed in my path.
Oh, that some en­cour­aging voice would an­swer in the af­firm­at­ive! My cour­age and my res­ol­u­tion is firm;
but my hopes fluc­tu­ate, and my spir­its are of­ten de­pressed.
I am about to pro­ceed on a long and dif­fi­cult voy­age, the emer­gen­cies of which will de­mand all my forti­tude:
I am re­quired not only to raise the spir­its of oth­ers, but some­times to sus­tain my own, when theirs are fail­ing.
This is the most fa­vour­able peri­od for trav­el­ling in Rus­sia. They fly quickly over the snow in their sledges;
the mo­tion is pleas­ant, and, in my opin­ion, far more agree­able than that of an Eng­lish stage­coach.
The cold is not ex­cess­ive, if you are wrapped in furs — a dress which I have already ad­op­ted,
for there is a great dif­fer­ence between walk­ing the deck and re­main­ing seated mo­tion­less for hours,
when no ex­er­cise pre­vents the blood from ac­tu­ally freez­ing in your veins.
I have no am­bi­tion to lose my life on the post-road between St. Peters­burgh and Archangel.
I shall de­part for the lat­ter town in a fort­night or three weeks;
and my in­ten­tion is to hire a ship there, which can eas­ily be done by pay­ing the in­sur­ance for the own­er,
and to en­gage as many sail­ors as I think ne­ces­sary among those who are ac­cus­tomed to the whale-fish­ing.
I do not in­tend to sail un­til the month of June; and when shall I re­turn? Ah, dear sis­ter, how can I an­swer this ques­tion?
If I suc­ceed, many, many months, per­haps years, will pass be­fore you and I may meet.
If I fail, you will see me again soon, or nev­er. Farewell, my dear, ex­cel­lent Mar­garet.
Heav­en shower down bless­ings on you, and save me, that I may again and again testi­fy my grat­it­ude for all your love and kind­ness.
Your af­fec­tion­ate broth­er,
R. Walton

Mary Shelley
Frankenstein
Zweisprachige Ausgabe
Übersetzt von Ana Maria Brock

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