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Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, generally known as Frankenstein, is a novel written by Mary Shelley. Shelley started writing when she was 18 and the novel was published when she was 21. The first edition was published anonymously in Londonmarker in . Shelley's name appears on the second edition, published in . The title of the novel refers to a scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who learns how to create life and creates a being in the likeness of man, but larger than average and more powerful. In popular culture, people have tended incorrectly to refer to the monster as "Frankenstein". Frankenstein is infused with some elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement. It was also a warning against the expansion of modern man in the Industrial Revolution, alluded to in the novel's subtitle, The Modern Prometheus. The story has had an influence across literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories and films. It is often considered the first fully realised science fiction novel due to its pointed, if gruesome, focus on playing God by creating life from dead flesh.

Plot

Walton's early letters

Frankenstein begins in epistolary form[692869], documenting the correspondence between Captain Robert Walton and his sister, Margaret Wolf-Saville. These letters form the framework of the story in which Walton tells his sister the story of Victor Frankenstein and his creature as Frankenstein tells it to him.Walton sets out to explore the North Pole and expand his scientific knowledge in hopes of achieving fame and friendship. Unfortunately, the ship becomes trapped in ice. One day, the crew observes a being in the stature of a giant man in the distance on a dogsled. Frankenstein was in pursuit of his monster, when all but one of his dogs from his dogsled died. He broke apart his dogsled to make oars to row an ice-raft toward the vessel. Hours later they find Frankenstein, weak and in need of sustenance, near the ship. Saved by the kind occupants of the ship, Frankenstein starts to recover from his exertion and recounts to Walton his story, warning Walton of the wretched effects of allowing one's ambition to push one to aim beyond what one is capable of achieving.

Victor's narrative

Victor Frankenstein begins by telling Walton of his childhood. Frankenstein was raised by a wealthy family, and was always encouraged to seek a greater understanding of the world around him (in science), whilst remaining in a safe environment surrounded by loving family and friends.

Frankenstein grew up with close ties to Elizabeth Lavenza, his orphaned "cousin" brought to his family who is raised with Frankenstein like a sister, and his friend Henry Clerval. As a young boy, Frankenstein becomes obsessed with studying outdated theories of science that focus on achieving natural wonders. He plans to attend college at Ingolstadtmarker, Germanymarker when a week before departure his mother and sister, Elizabeth, become very ill with Scarlet Fever. Elizabeth recovers, but Victor's mother dies from the disease. The whole family is in grief, and Frankenstein views it as his first misfortune. At college, he excels at chemistry and other sciences and discovers the secret to imbuing the inanimate with life, in part by studying how life decays. He also becomes interested in galvanism, a technique discovered in the 1790s. Frankenstein didn't have many friends but the ones he did, he treated well.

In contrast with later film adaptations the monster in the original novel was not created from dead body parts. In fact Frankenstein himself concedes that he later found that reversing death was impossible. While the exact details of the monster's construction are left ambiguous Shelley's depiction of the monster is akin to that of a golem. Frankenstein explains that he has been forced to make the monster much larger than a normal man, in part because of the difficulty in replicating the minute parts of the human body. After giving the monster life, Frankenstein, disgusted by and fearful of the monster's appearance, flees.Henry Clerval comes to Ingolstadt to study with Frankenstein, but ends up nursing him after his exhausting and secretive efforts to create a human life. Frankenstein recovers from his illness in four months. He determines to come home, for his five-year-old brother William has been found murdered.

After several harsh encounters with humans, the monster becomes afraid of them and spends a year living near a cottage and observing the family who lived there. Through these observations he becomes educated and self-aware and realises that he is very different in physical appearance from the humans he watches. In loneliness, the monster seeks the friendship of the family of cottagers (the De Laceys). The family was previously wealthy, but is forced into exile when Felix De Lacey rescues the father of his love, Safie. The father, a Turkish merchant, was wrongfully accused of a crime and sentenced to death, obviously because of racism. When the man is rescued, he promises Felix that he may marry Safie. But, he loathes the idea of his beloved daughter marrying a Christian and flees. Safie comes back, though, eager for the freedom of European women. Eventually, the monster tries to befriend the family, but they are afraid of him, and this rejection makes him seek vengeance against his creator. He travels to Geneva and meets a little boy in the woods. In the vain hope that because the boy is still young and potentially unaffected by older humans' perception of his hideousness, the monster hopes to kidnap him and keep him as a companion, but the boy reveals himself as a relation of Frankenstein, so the monster kills him in his first act of vengeance against his creator. The monster plants a necklace he removes from the child's body on a sleeping girl, Justine Moritz, the Frankensteins' trusted servant who is like a member of the family. She is found with the necklace and despite knowing she is not guilty, admits to the murder. She then is put on trial and executed.

When Frankenstein learns of his brother's death, he returns to Geneva to be with his family. In the woods where his young brother is murdered, Frankenstein sees the monster and becomes sure that he is William's and Justine's murderer. Frankenstein, ravaged by his grief and guilt for creating the monster who wreaked so much destruction, retreats into the mountains alone to find peace. After a time in solitude, the monster approaches Frankenstein. Initially furious and intending to kill it, Frankenstein composes himself upon the monster's pleading. The monster delves into a lengthy narrative of his short life, beginning with his creation, which fashions an impression of him as an initially harmless innocent whom humans abused into wretchedness. He concludes his story with a demand that Frankenstein create for him a female counterpart, reasoning that no human will accept his existence and character due to his hideous outer appearance. He argues that as a living thing, he has a right to happiness and that Frankenstein, as his creator, has the duty to facilitate it. He promises to never reappear in his life if Frankenstein does so.

Frankenstein, fearing for his family, reluctantly agrees and travels to England to do his work. Clerval accompanies Frankenstein, but they separate in Scotland. In the process of creating a second being on the Orkney Islandsmarker, Frankenstein becomes plagued by the notion of the carnage another monster could wreak and destroys the unfinished project. The monster vows revenge on Frankenstein's upcoming wedding night. Before Frankenstein returns to Ireland, the monster murders Clerval. Once arriving in Irelandmarker, Frankenstein is imprisoned for the crime, and falls violently ill. After being acquitted and back to health, Frankenstein returns home.

Once home, Frankenstein marries his cousin Elizabeth and, in full knowledge of and belief in the monster's threat, prepares for a fight to the death with the monster. He doesn't want Elizabeth to be frightened at the sight of the monster, so he asks her to stay in her room for the night. Instead, the monster kills Elizabeth; the grief of his wife's, William's, Justine's, Clerval's, and Elizabeth's deaths kills Frankenstein's father. After that, Frankenstein vows to pursue the monster until one destroys the other. Over months of pursuit, the two end up in the Arctic Circle near the North Pole.

Walton's later writings

Here, Frankenstein's narrative ends and Captain Walton reassumes the telling of the story. A few days after Frankenstein finishes his story, Walton and his crew decide to turn back and go home, since they cannot break through the ice. As Frankenstein dies, the monster appears in his room. Walton hears the monster's adamant justification for his vengeance as well as expressions of remorse before he leaves the ship and travels toward the Pole to destroy himself on his own funeral pyre so that no others will ever know of his existence.

Composition

Draft of Frankenstein ("It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld my man completed ...")
During the rainy summer of 1816, the "Year Without a Summer," the world was locked in a long cold volcanic winter caused by the eruption of Mount Tamboramarker in 1815. Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, aged 18, and her lover (and later husband) Percy Bysshe Shelley, visited Lord Byron at the Villa Diodatimarker by Lake Genevamarker in Switzerlandmarker. The weather was consistently too cold and dreary that summer to enjoy the outdoor holiday activities they had planned, so the group retired indoors until dawn.


Amongst other subjects, the conversation turned to galvanism and the feasibility of returning a corpse or assembled body parts to life, and to the experiments of the 18th-century natural philosopher and poet Erasmus Darwin, who was said to have animated dead matter. Sitting around a log fire at Byron's villa, the company also amused themselves by reading German ghost stories, prompting Byron to suggest they each write their own supernatural tale. Shortly afterwards, in a waking dream, Mary Godwin conceived the idea for Frankenstein:

She began writing what she assumed would be a short story. With Percy Shelley's encouragement, she expanded this tale into a full-fledged novel. She later described that summer in Switzerland as the moment "when I first stepped out from childhood into life". Byron managed to write just a fragment based on the vampire legends he heard while travelling the Balkans, and from this John Polidori created The Vampyre (1819), the progenitor of the romantic vampire literary genre. Thus, two legendary horror tales originated from this one circumstance.

Mary's and Percy Bysshe Shelley's manuscripts for the first three-volume edition in 1818 (written 1816–1817), as well as Mary Shelley's fair copy for her publisher, are now housed in the Bodleian Librarymarker in Oxfordmarker. The Bodleian acquired the papers in 2004, and they belong now to the Abinger Collection. On 1 October 2008, the Bodleian published a new edition of Frankenstein which contains comparisons of Mary Shelley's original text with Percy Shelley's additions and interventions alongside. The new edition is edited by Charles E. Robinson: The Original Frankenstein (ISBN 978-1851243969).

Publication

Mary Shelley completed her writing in May 1817, and Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was first published on 1 January 1818 by the small Londonmarker publishing house of Harding, Mavor & Jones. It was issued anonymously, with a preface written for Mary by Percy Bysshe Shelley and with a dedication to philosopher William Godwin, her father. It was published in an edition of just 500 copies in three volumes, the standard "triple-decker" format for 19th century first editions. The novel had been previously rejected by Percy Bysshe Shelley's publisher, Charles Ollier and by Byron's publisher John Murray.

The second edition of Frankenstein was published on 11 August 1823 in two volumes (by G. and W. B. Whittaker), and this time credited Mary Shelley as the author.

On 31 October 1831, the first "popular" edition in one volume appeared, published by Henry Colburn & Richard Bentley. This edition was quite heavily revised by Mary Shelley, and included a new, longer preface by her, presenting a somewhat embellished version of the genesis of the story. This edition tends to be the one most widely read now, although editions containing the original 1818 text are still being published. In fact, many scholars prefer the 1818 edition. They argue that it preserves the spirit of Shelley's original publication (see Anne K. Mellor's "Choosing a Text of Frankenstein to Teach" in the W.W. Norton Critical edition).

Name origins

Frankenstein's creature

Part of Frankenstein's rejection of his creation is the fact that he does not give it a name, which gives it a lack of identity. Instead it is referred to by words such as "monster", "demon", "fiend", "wretch" and "it". When Frankenstein converses with the monster in Chapter 10, he addresses it as "Devil", "Vile insect", "Abhorred monster", "fiend", "wretched devil" and "abhorred devil".

During a telling of Frankenstein, Shelley referred to the creature as "Adam". Shelley was referring to the first man in the Garden of Eden, as in her epigraph:

Did I request thee, Maker from my clay
To mould Me man? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me?
:John Milton, Paradise Lost (X.743–5)


The monster has often been mistakenly called "Frankenstein." In 1908 one author said "It is strange to note how well-nigh universally the term "Frankenstein" is misused, even by intelligent people, as describing some hideous monster...". Edith Wharton's The Reef (1916) describes an unruly child as an "infant Frankenstein." David Lindsay's "The Bridal Ornament," published in The Rover, 12 June 1844, mentioned "the maker of poor Frankenstein." After the release of James Whale's popular 1931 film Frankenstein, the public at large began speaking of the monster itself as "Frankenstein." A reference to this occurs in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and in several subsequent films in the series, as well as in film titles such as Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley maintained that she derived the name "Frankenstein" from a dream-vision. Despite her public claims of originality, the significance of the name has been a source of speculation. Literally, in German, the name Frankenstein means "stone of the Franks." The name is associated with various places such as Castle Frankensteinmarker (Burg Frankenstein), which Mary Shelley had seen while on a boat before writing the novel. Frankensteinmarker is also a town in the region of Palatinate; and before 1946, Ząbkowice Śląskiemarker, a city in Silesia, Polandmarker, was known as Frankenstein in Schlesien.

More recently, Radu Florescu, in his book In Search of Frankenstein, argued that Mary and Percy Shelley visited Castle Frankenstein on their way to Switzerland, near Darmstadt along the Rhinemarker, where a notorious alchemist named Konrad Dippel had experimented with human bodies, but that Mary suppressed mentioning this visit, to maintain her public claim of originality. A recent literary essay by A.J. Day supports Florescu's position that Mary Shelley knew of, and visited Castle Frankenstein before writing her debut novel. Day includes details of an alleged description of the Frankenstein castle that exists in Mary Shelley's 'lost' journals. However, this theory is not without critics; Frankenstein expert Leonard Wolf calls it an "unconvincing...conspiracy theory." and the 'lost journals' as well as Florescu's claims could not be verified.

Victor

A possible interpretation of the name Victor derives from Paradise Lost by John Milton, a great influence on Shelley (a quotation from Paradise Lost is on the opening page of Frankenstein and Shelley even allows the monster himself to read it). Milton frequently refers to God as "the Victor" in Paradise Lost, and Shelley sees Victor as playing God by creating life. In addition to this, Shelley's portrayal of the monster owes much to the character of Satan in Paradise Lost; indeed, the monster says, after reading the epic poem, that he empathises with Satan's role in the story.

There are many similarities between Victor and Percy Shelley, Mary's husband. Victor was a pen name of Percy Shelley's, as in the collection of poetry he wrote with his sister Elizabeth, Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire. There is speculation that one of Mary Shelley's models for Victor Frankenstein was Percy, who at Eton had "experimented with electricity and magnetism as well as with gunpowder and numerous chemical reactions," and whose rooms at Oxford were filled with scientific equipment. Percy Shelley was the first-born son of a wealthy country squire with strong political connections and a descendant of Sir Bysshe Shelley, 1st Baronet of Castle Goring, and Richard Fitzalan, 10th Earl of Arundel. Victor's family is one of the most distinguished of that republic and his ancestors were counsellors and syndics. Percy had a sister named Elizabeth. Victor had an adopted sister, named Elizabeth. On 22 February 1815, Mary Shelley delivered a two-month premature baby and the baby died two weeks later. Percy did not care about the condition of this premature infant and left with Claire, Mary's stepsister, for a lurid affair. When Victor saw the creature come to life he fled the apartment, though the newborn creature approached him, as a child would a parent. The question of Victor's responsibility to the creature is one of the main themes of the book.

Modern Prometheus

The Modern Prometheus is the novel's subtitle (though some modern publishings of the work now drop the subtitle, mentioning it only in an introduction). Prometheus, in some versions of Greek mythology, was the Titan who created mankind. It was also Prometheus who then secretly took fire from heaven and gave it to man. When Zeus discovered this, he eternally punished Prometheus by fixing him to a rock where each day a predatory bird came to devour his liver, only for the liver to regrow the next day; ready for the bird to come again, until Heracles (Hercules) releases him.

Prometheus was also a myth told in Latin but was a very different story. In this version Prometheus makes man from clay and water, again a very relevant theme to Frankenstein as Victor rebels against the laws of nature (how life is naturally made) and as a result is punished by his creation.



The Titan in the Greek mythology of Prometheus parallels Victor Frankenstein. Victor's work by creating man by new means reflects the same innovative work of the Titan in creating humans. Victor, in a way, stole the secret of creation from God just as the Titan stole fire from heaven to give to man. Both the Titan and Victor get punished for their actions. Victor is reprimanded by suffering the loss of those close to him and having the dread of himself getting killed by his creation.

For Mary Shelley, Prometheus was not a hero but rather something of a devil, whom she blamed for bringing fire to man and thereby seducing the human race to the vice of eating meat (fire brought cooking which brought hunting and killing). Support for this claim may be reflected in Chapter 17 of the novel, where the "monster" speaks to Victor Frankenstein: "My food is not that of man; I do not destroy the lamb and the kid to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment." For Romance era artists in general, Prometheus' gift to man compared with the two great utopian promises of the 18th century: the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution, containing both great promise and potentially unknown horrors.

Byron was particularly attached to the play Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus, and Percy Shelley would soon write his own Prometheus Unbound (1820). The term "Modern Prometheus" was actually coined by Immanuel Kant, referring to Benjamin Franklin and his then recent experiments with electricity.

Shelley's sources

Shelley incorporated a number of different sources into her work, one of which was the Promethean myth from Ovid. The influence of John Milton's Paradise Lost, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the books the Creature finds in the cabin, are also clearly evident within the novel. Also, both Shelleys had read William Thomas Beckford's Gothic novel Vathek. Frankenstein also contains multiple references to her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, and her major work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman which discusses the lack of equal education for males and females. The inclusion of her mother's ideas in her work is also related to the theme of creation and motherhood in the novel. Mary is likely to have acquired some ideas for Frankenstein's character from Humphry Davy's book Elements of Chemical Philosophy in which he had written that "science has…bestowed upon man powers which may be called creative; which have enabled him to change and modify the beings around him…".

Analysis

One interpretation of her novel was alluded to by Shelley herself, in her account of the radical politics of her father, William Godwin:

At one point in Shelley's novel the monster faces Victor on an icy glacier. The creature explains his feelings of isolation and abandonment. Victor still does not see he is the one that abandoned this creature, that he was the one responsible to love and devote his time to the creature. Just as his parents had done for him as a child. Why is there such a detachment for Victor? Why does he not see himself as the parent? In the essay The Nightmare of Romantic Idealism the author states, “When Frankenstein becomes a father […], he conveniently forgets these duties of parents to their offspring […] the one quality he lacks as a creator is the quality he most praises his own parents for: ‘the deep consciousness of what they owed towards the being to which they had given life.’” (Shelley 391) This author also states that “[by Frankenstein’s] refusal to accept an adult role in life […] he retains […] the power to create. But at the same time, he is thoroughly irresponsible […] and lacks the courage to face up to the consequences of his deeds.”(Shelley 391) These passages help explain Victors mind set toward his creation. Unfortunately, Victor’s enchanted childhood didn’t prepare him for the real world. He never had to grow up and take responsibility for his own actions. Frankenstein explores the relationship between creator and creation, and the universal need for love and acceptance from one's parents and society. Victor's rejection of his creation causes the monster to feel as an outcast, stirring anger and resentment in the creature, to which he reacts violently by murdering those whom Victor holds most dear, until the end when Victor dies himself and the monster leaves to kill himself.

Another prevailing theme of Frankenstein is loneliness and the effects that loneliness has on humans. This theme is explored through the thoughts and experiences of the three main characters: Walton, Frankenstein, and the monster. The letters at the beginning of the story are full of Walton's feelings of loneliness as his great adventure begins to lose its luster and appeal. Victor experiences fear and anxiety throughout the book. In the beginning of the story, Victor’s work separated him from his family. He spent many years in isolation. When his family and friends began to die later in the story these unhealthy feelings intensified. He said “This state of mind preyed upon my health, which had entirely recovered from the first shock it had sustained. I shunned the face of man; all sound of joy or complacency was torture to me; solitude was my only consolation – deep, dark, death-like solitude.” Frankenstein demonstrated these same emotions when he said “Thus situated, employed in the most detestable occupation, immersed in a solitude where nothing could for an instant call my attention from the actual scene in which I was engaged, my spirits became unequal; I grew restless and nervous.” The monster summarised how drastically his loneliness changed him when he said “I cannot believe that I am he whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendent visions of the beauty and the majesty of goodness. But it is even so; the fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am quite alone.” Shelley was obviously exploring this theme, as loneliness is a core motivation for her core characters.

In Nightmare: Birth of Horror Christopher Frayling discusses the theme against vivisection expressed in the novel, since Shelley was a vegetarian. In Chapter 3 Victor writes that he "tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay." And the Creature says: "My food is not that of man; I do not destroy the lamb and kid to glut my appetite."

Representing a minority opinion, Arthur Belefant in his book, Frankenstein, the Man and the Monster (1999, ISBN 0-9629555-8-2) contends that Mary Shelley's intent was for the reader to understand that the Creature never existed, and Victor Frankenstein committed the three murders. In this interpretation, the story is a study of the moral degradation of Victor, and the science fiction aspects of the story are Victor's imagination.

Another minority opinion is the recent claim by the literary critic John Lauritsen, in his 2007 book, "The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein", that Mary's husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, was the author. Lauritsen's hypothesis is not given credence by major Mary Shelley scholars , but the book was enthusiastically praised by the critic Camille Paglia and criticised by Germaine Greer.

Reception

Initial critical reception of the book was mostly unfavorable, compounded by confused speculation as to the identity of the author. Sir Walter Scott wrote that "upon the whole, the work impresses us with a high idea of the author's original genius and happy power of expression", but most reviewers thought it "a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity" (Quarterly Review).

Despite the reviews, Frankenstein achieved an almost immediate popular success. It became widely known especially through melodramatic theatrical adaptations — Mary Shelley saw a production of Presumption; or The Fate of Frankenstein, a play by Richard Brinsley Peake, in 1823. A French translation appeared as early as 1821 (Frankenstein: ou le Prométhée Moderne, translated by Jules Saladin).

Frankenstein has been both well-received and disregarded since its anonymous publication in 1818. Critical reviews of that time demonstrate these two views. The Belle Assemblee described the novel as "very bold fiction" (139). The Quarterly Review stated "that the author has the power of both conception and language" (185). Sir Walter Scott, writing in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine congratulated "the author's original genius and happy power of expression" (620), although he is less convinced about the way in which the monster gains knowledge about the world and language . The Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany hoped to see "more productions from this author" (253).

In two other reviews where the author is known as the daughter of William Godwin, the criticism of the novel is an attack on the feminine nature of Mary Shelley. The British Critic attacks the novel's flaws as the fault of the author: "The writer of it is, we understand, a female; this is an aggravation of that which is the prevailing fault of the novel; but if our authoress can forget the gentleness of her sex, it is no reason why we should; and we shall therefore dismiss the novel without further comment" (438). The Literary Panorama and National Register attacks the novel as a "feeble imitation of Mr. Godwin's novels" produced by the "daughter of a celebrated living novelist" (414).

Despite these initial dismissals, critical reception has been largely positive since the mid-20th century. Major critics such as M. A. Goldberg and Harold Bloom have praised the "aesthetic and moral" relevance of the novel, and in more recent years the novel has become a popular subject for psychoanalytic and feminist criticism. The novel today is generally considered to be a landmark work of Romantic and Gothic literature, as well as Science Fiction.

One critic, Daniel Walls, is most famous for his belief that "the embedded narrative used throughout Frankenstein by both Victor Frankenstein himself, and his creation, is infact a figment of Walton's lonely, isolated imagination." Walton informs his sister Margaret in his early letters, of how lonely he feels and his "wish for a compannion". Walls believes that through this, Walton conjures a story up in his mind, due to a possible mental breakdown. He also believes that this is the reason behind the monster acquiring language and reading so quickly, leading to his eloquent and persuasive language techniques.

Frankenstein in popular culture

Shelley's Frankenstein has been called the first novel of the now-popular mad scientist genre. However, popular culture has changed the naive, well-meaning Victor Frankenstein into more and more of a corrupt character. It has also changed the creature into a more sensational, dehumanised being than was originally portrayed. In the original story, the worst thing that Victor does is to neglect the creature out of fear. He does not intend to create a horror. The creature, even, begins as an innocent, loving being. Not until the world inflicts violence on him does he develop his hatred. Scientific knowledge is highlighted at the end by Victor as potentially evil and dangerously alluring.

Soon after the book was published, however, stage directors began to see the difficulty of bringing the story into a more visual form. In performances beginning in 1823, playwrights began to recognize that to visualise the play, the internal reasonings of the scientist and the creature would have to be cut. The creature became the star of the show, with his more visual and sensational violence. Victor was portrayed as a fool for delving into nature's mysteries. Despite the changes, though, the play was much closer to the original than later films would be. Comic versions also abounded, and a musical burlesque version was produced in London in 1887 called Frankenstein, or The Vampire's Victim.

Silent films continued the struggle to bring the story alive. Early versions such as the Edison Company's Frankenstein, ( ) managed to stick somewhat close to the plot. In , however, James Whale created a film that drastically altered the story. Working at Universal Pictures, Whale introduced to the plot several elements now familiar to a modern audience: the image of "Dr." Frankenstein, whereas earlier he was merely a naive, young student, an Igor-like character (called Fritz in this film) who makes the mistake of bringing his master a criminal's brain while gathering body parts, and a sensational creation scene focusing on electric power rather than chemical processes. (In Shelley's original text, Frankenstein, as the narrator, intentionally omits describing the process by which he brings the creature to life, for fear that someone else may try to repeat the experiment.) In this film, the scientist is an arrogant, intelligent, grown man, rather than an unknowing near-youngster. Another scientist volunteers to destroy the creature for him, the film never forcing him to take responsibility for his acts. Whale's sequel Bride of Frankenstein ( ), and later sequels Son of Frankenstein ( ), and Ghost of Frankenstein ( ) all continued the general theme of sensationalism, horror, and exaggeration, with Dr. Frankenstein and other similar characters growing more and more sinister.

See also



References

Notes

  1. Sunstein, 118.
  2. Holmes, 328; see also Mary Shelley’s introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein.
  3. Bennett, An Introduction, 30–31; Sunstein, 124.
  4. Sunstein, 117.
  5. http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/wmss/online/1500-1900/abinger/abinger.html
  6. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Original-Frankenstein-Mary-Shelley/dp/1851243968/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225120491&sr=8-1
  7. Frankenstein:Celluloid Monster at the National Library of Medicine website of the (U.S.) National Institutes of Health
  8. from the traveling exhibition Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature
  9. Author's Digest: The World's Great Stories in Brief, by Rossiter Johnson, 1908
  10. The Reef, page 96.
  11. This essay was included in the 2005 publication of Fantasmagoriana; the first full English translation of the book of 'ghost stories' that inspired the literary competition resulting in Mary's writing of Frankenstein.
  12. (Leonard Wolf, p.20)
  13. http://www.renegadenation.de/darmstadt/frankensteinengl.html Frankenstein Castle, Shelley and the Construction of a Myth
  14. Percy Shelley#Ancestry
  15. "Journal 6 December—Very Unwell. Shelley & Clary walk out, as usual, to heaps of places...A letter from Hookham to say that Harriet has been brought to bed of a son and heir. Shelley writes a number of circular letters on this event, which ought to be ushered in with ringing of bells, etc., for it is the son of his wife." (Quoted in Spark, 39.)
  16. (Leonard Wolf, p. 20).
  17. [1] "Benjamin Franklin in London." The Royal Society. retrieved August 8, 2007
  18. http://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Wrote-Frankenstein/dp/0943742145
  19. http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2007/03/14/coulter/index3.html
  20. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/apr/09/gender.books
  21. http://www.crossref-it.info/textguide/Frankenstein/7/400
  22. http://www.enotes.com/nineteenth-century-criticism/frankenstein-modern-prometheus-mary-wollstonecraft
  23. http://www.octc.kctcs.edu/crunyon/CE/Frankenstein/Bloom/4-7_BloomIntro.htm
  24. http://www.utm.edu/staff/lalexand/frankqst.htm Lynn Alexander, Department of English, University of Tennessee at Martin. Retrieved 27 August 2009.
  25. Toumey, Christopher P. "The Moral Character of Mad Scientists: A Cultural Critique of Science." Science, Technology, & Human Values. 17.4 (Autumn, 1992) pg. 8
  26. Toumey, pgs. 423–425
  27. Toumey, pg. 425
  28. http://pages.towson.edu/flynn/stagef.htm
  29. Toumey, pgs. 425–427


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