Anyone who loves Frankenstein like I love Frankenstein and hasn’t downloaded the NYPL’s second Biblion app will want to do so pronto, if for no other reason than to scroll through Mary Shelley’s handwritten draft. The programmers paired the manuscript, begun in 1816, “with a transcript of the novel’s 1831 edition so you can toggle… to see how Shelley changed and developed” the story over time.
Navigating these documents — and the app more generally — is not without its frustrations. The pages are crash-prone; the layout is sometimes confusing. And as Adi Robertson said at The Verge this summer, it can be difficult to decipher “the nearly 200-year-old script on the iPad’s display. Even scanned in decent resolution with a zoom tool, there’s just no way around the lack of contrast and tiny lettering.” But the handwritten text does provide “a great sense of Shelley’s flow while writing, something that the advent of the word processor made nearly invisible.”