Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Happy Halloween Readers,

Today we start off my Halloween Spooktacular with the wonderfully classic monster that is Frankenstein. The creepy theme this week is monsters.

A brief history
Even two hundred years after its first publication in January 1818, Frankenstein still fascinates an audience as it still speaks about the myth of life and has never been out of print. Mary was just 18 when she had the idea for Frankenstein; 19 when she finished writing the book.

Unlike her slightly younger contemporaries like the Bront√ęs sisters, Mary didn’t enjoy the freedoms of starting her writing life under a masculine pseudonym. Mary was already notorious in literary circles because of her relationship with Percy. Mary was forced to feel inferior by the double standards stacked against her, her own failure to achieve all a man could as she was not only read as a writer but judged for being a woman.

There are still people who will argue whether Mary actually wrote Frankenstein the joys of being a woman writer in the 1800’s.  On its first, appearance the book was anonymous and reviewers surmised that this novel was written by someone close to Godwin and Percy, his son-in-law, was credited as the author. The tales have inspired countless adaptations and loosely related works in film, theatre and television. Take a look at the Mary Shelley film starring Elle Fanning, Ben Hardy and Douglas Booth to get an understanding and insight into Mary's life. The story has an influence across literature and spawned a complete genre of horror stories and films.

Book review
The Modern Prometheus, also known as Frankenstein was published 200 years ago this year. The title of the novel refers to the 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. The creator is scared of his own creation and unable to take responsibility for it the creature initially shows no signs of being a monster and only becomes one when abandoned by his creator. Most people have tended to refer to the Creature as "Frankenstein", despite this being the name of the scientist.

After fleeing from his laboratory Victor when the creatures showed sign of life he returns to find the creature gone. This gives Victor a nervous breakdown. Victor returns to his family’s home in Geneva. He sees his creature climbing a mountain nearby. Victor learns his brother, William, has recently been murdered. Justine is accused of the crime. but he is unable to prove Justine’s innocence or prevent her hanging. The grieving Victor runs away to the mountains.

His creature finds him and explains he quickly discovered that humans are terrified of him.  He found refuge in a hovel next to a cottage after leaving Frankenstein’s house and, from his hideout, eavesdropped on the family of poor cottagers, the De Laceys and learned how to speak and act over the months he spent observing them. 

The creature Begs Victor to create a woman like him so he will no longer be alone. He promises that once she is created he will vanish forever. Victor reluctantly agrees and goes to do his work on a remote island in Scotland.  Victor starts making the female creature under his creature’s watchful gaze but soon victor imagines what might happen if the creatures produce offspring. He finally destroys the female, and the enraged monster vows he will be with Victor on his wedding night.

I love how Frankenstein questions Who is really the monster? The monster that was created or the man who created him? Characters do not have to be likeable or appealing to be interesting, but then in this tale, they are not meant to be nice and fluffy.  The constant power play between the creature and Victor is wonderfully complex and developed “You are my creator, but I am your master; obey!” the monster tells Victor.

Adaptations of Frankenstein
N  The Rocky Horror Picture Show 
N  Victor Frankenstein
N  I, Frankenstein 
N  Van Helsing
N  Frankenweenie
N  Edward Scissorhands
N  American Horror Story: Coven

Happy Halloween Lx