Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Frankenstein

Frankenstein is a great book. But it's not a good book.

It's a living force in our culture, but when you go back to the original it's bad in all sorts of ways- badly written, badly constructed, badly plotted. It's a great idea indifferently executed.

Mary Shelley was still in her teens when she wrote it.

I think it's disguised autobiography. Shelley was married to a monster- the supremely egotistical, self-pitying, self-exiled, womanising, junkie poet, Percy Bysshe. Read "Epipsychidion"- in which he openly disses Mary- to discover the full extent of his mawkish, adolescent shittiness. Frankenstein is a depressed and depressing book and no wonder.

Maybe it would be forgotten, or at least pushed to one side, if it hadn't been for James Whale's classic movie (or brace of movies.) The Frankenstein franchise continues to run and run because the movie monster- as created by make-up artist Jack Pierce and actor Boris Karloff- is so compelling- at once terrifying and pathetic. Shelley's conception of the monster (a seven foot, murdering version of her husband) was very different and much less interesting.

We're studying Frankenstein for an Open University course. If I had had to choose a "Gothick" text for study I'd have settled on Beckford's Vathek- stylistically sure-footed and delightfully camp and decadent- or a set of stories by Poe.
Subscribe

  • On Mature Reflection

    I dreamed I'd co-authored a book about how I came to leave the Church. I was leafing through the finished article and finding it very glum. My…

  • Earworms And Rain

    Binge-listening to variant versions of Matty Groves/Little Musgrave means I now have it as an ear worm. It could be worse; it could be the Birdy…

  • Matty Groves

    I'm sure there's a version where the husband cuts his wife's head off and kicks it against the wall but I can't find it. Did I make…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 14 comments

  • On Mature Reflection

    I dreamed I'd co-authored a book about how I came to leave the Church. I was leafing through the finished article and finding it very glum. My…

  • Earworms And Rain

    Binge-listening to variant versions of Matty Groves/Little Musgrave means I now have it as an ear worm. It could be worse; it could be the Birdy…

  • Matty Groves

    I'm sure there's a version where the husband cuts his wife's head off and kicks it against the wall but I can't find it. Did I make…