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This guide lists key sources of information for English Language and Literature that are available for Kwantlen users. Click on the tabs for different types of sources and useful research tips.

Research Resources

Mary Shelley, by Reginald Easton (1820). Public domain. Source Wikimedia Commons

Mary was born in 1797 to William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. Her mother died shortly after Mary was born.Shelley learned about her mother only through writings her mother left behind, including A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) which advocated that women should have the same educational opportunities as rights in society as men.

Mary Shelley's life is as compelling as is her novel,'Frankenstein'. Read about how Mary Shelley came to write Frankenstein.

Primary Sources:

Literary Periods:
Nineteenth Century, 1800-1899
Romantic Period, 1780-1837
Literary Movements:
Gothic Novel, 1764-c.1820
Romanticism 1780-1837

Frankenstein is generally categorised as a Gothic novel, a genre of fiction that uses gloomy settings and supernatural events to create an atmosphere of mystery and terror. Read about the characteristics of Gothic Literature.

Gothic Fiction (literary genre) books in the Library collection.

Gothic Fiction: A Research Guide

The Oxford Companion to English Literature, 7th edition, defines "Gothic Fiction" in this way:

    "A mode of narrative fiction dealing with supernatural or horrifying events and generally possessed of a claustrophobic air of oppression or evil...the literary tradition confusingly designated as ‘Gothic’ is a distinct modern development in which the characteristic theme is the stranglehold of the past upon the present, or the encroachment of the ‘dark’ ages of oppression upon the ‘enlightened’ modern era. In Gothic romances and tales this theme is embodied typically in enclosed and haunted settings such as castles, crypts, convents, or gloomy mansions, in images of ruin and decay, and in episodes of imprisonment, cruelty, and persecution."

Mary Shelley's papers are part of the Pforzheimer Collection, New York Public Library

Books in the Library Collection

Gothic Fiction (literary genre) books in the Library Collection.

Frankenstein : or, The Modern Prometheus  by Mary Shelley Wollstonecraft (ebook)

Frankenstein : complete, authoritative text with biographical, historical, and cultural contexts, critical history, and essays from contemporary critical perspectives (critical edition) PR 5397 F7 2000 in Richmond

Shelley's Frankenstein by Graham Allen (ebook)

The Frankenstein archive : essays on the monster, the myth, the movies, and more by Donald Glut PN 1995.9 F8 G59 2002 in Surrey

A Routledge literary sourcebook on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein  by Timothy Morton  PR 5398 R68 2002 in Surrey

Frankenstein : Mary Shelley  by Fred Botting

Frankenstein, creation, and monstrosity by Stephen Bann  PR 5397 F73 F69 1994 in Surrey

Streaming Videos

Frankenstein Driscoll, Emily V.

Frankenstein,Roberts, Alice M., host.

Search Tips

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For example:

  • frankenstein and feminism
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  • Literature Resource Center   - Full text content from: Contemporary Authors: biographical and bibliographical information; Contemporary Literary Criticism: more than 11,000 critical essays on contemporary authors.
  • MLA International Bibliography - Detailed bibliography of journal articles, books and dissertations. The database dates back to the 1920s and contains over 2.2 million citations.
  • JSTOR - a multi-disciplinary database of archived full-text scholarly journals
  • Project MUSE - a non-profit, full text repository of articles from over 400 peer reviewed titles from scholarly presses and societies.

Contemporary Reviews

Scott, Walter. Edinburgh Review. 1818.

Shelley, Percy Bysshe. The Antheneum. November 10, 1832.

Criticism and Interpretation

Buzwell, Author. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein and the Villa Diodati. Discovering Literature: Romantics and Victorians.

Ruston, Sharon. The Science of Life and Death in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Discovering Literature: Romantics and Victorians.

Frankenstein: The Afterlife of Shelley's Circle (Biblion, New York Public Library)
Schuessler, Jennifer. "'Frankenstein' Comes Alive in the App Store." June 7, 2012. The New York Times.
Frankenstein: Making a Modern Monster(Biblion, New York Public Library)
The Frankenstein Project(Bruce Matsunaga, Department of English, Arizona State University)
Frankenstein's Laboratory (The Bakken Museum, Minneapolis, MN)
The Shelley-Godwin Archive (New York Public Library and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities)

Monstrous Vintage Covers of Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’


 Read this definition of allusion in literature.

Paradise Lost by John Milton - story of man's fall from innocence to painful knowledge; Victor can be compared to Adam, Satan and Eve.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, like narrator, tells story as a warning and confession.