The reviews of Frankenstein that were published between 1818 and 1832 give the reader an opportunity to experience the flavor and the biases of early-nineteenth-century reviewing—and to determine how careful and clever the reviewers were in their judgments. The biases were often those of the magazines: the Quarterly Review, for example, was a Tory and Anglican and conservative periodical. Almost all of the reviews at the time were published anonymously, but three of the reviewers below may be identified: the famous Walter Scott, the infamous John Wilson Croker, and even the husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, whose review of his own wife's novel was written in 1817 or 1818 but not published until 1832.
The reviews reproduced below, all but one responding to the first edition of 1818, are printed with the spelling and the punctuation of the original publications (with a few errors corrected and/or identified within square brackets). The long reviews offer detailed summaries of the plot and/or extended quotations from the text (a typical practice at the time), but these extended quotations are not reproduced (although square brackets note their omission).
Frankenstein: Or, The Modern Prometheus (London: Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, and Jones, 1818)
- The Belle Assemblée, or Bell's Court and Fashionable Magazine, 2d Series, 17 (March 1818): 139-142.
- The Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany; A New Series of "The Scots Magazine" 2 (March 1818): 249-253.
- Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine 2 (March 1818): 613-620—by Walter Scott.
- The British Critic, N.S., 9 (April 1818): 432-38; also rpt. in The Port Folio [Philadelphia] 6 (September 1818): 200-07.
- The Literary Panorama and National Register, N.S., 8 (1 June 1818): 411-414.
- The Quarterly Review 18 (January [delayed until 12 June] 1818): 379-385—by John Wilson Croker.
- The Gentleman's Magazine 88 (April 1818): 334-35.
- The Monthly Review, N.S., 85 (April 1818): 439.
- The Athenæum, 10 November 1832, p. 730 [review of 1818 edition, written in either 1817 or 1818]—by Percy Bysshe Shelley.
- The London Literary Gazette, 19 November 1831, p, 740 [review of 1831 edition].
- The London Morning Post: Tuesday, 29 July, and Wednesday, 30 July, 1823.
- Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, XIII (March 1823), p. 283-293.
The Last Man (London: Henry Colburn):
- The Literary Gazette and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, &c. 473 (18 February, 1826): 102-103.
- The Monthly Review, Or Literary Journal, n.s. 1 (March 1826): 333-335.
- The Panoramic Miscellany, or Monthly Magazine and Review of Literature, Sciences, Arts, Inventions, and Occurences 1 (March 1826): 380-386.