Metamorphoses Within Frankenstein

14861 WordsJan 10, 201360 Pages
The Critical Metamorphoses of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein You must excuse a trif ling d eviation, From Mrs. Shelley’s marvellous narration — from th e musical Frankenstein; or, The Vamp ire’s Victim (1849) Like Coleridge’ s Ancient Mariner , who erupts into Mary Sh elley’s text as o ccasionally and inev itably as th e Monster into Victor Frankenstein’s lif e, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometh eus passes, like night, from land to land and w ith stang ely ad aptable powers of speech addresses itself to a critical aud ien ce that is larger and mor e diverse than that of almo st any oth er work of liter atur e in Eng lish : Mary Shelley’s Franken stein is famously reinterpretable. It can be a late v ersion of th e Faust my…show more content…
Wher e Blake and Shelley and Byron wrote of Romanticism from the v exed insid e, that is, Mary Shelley offered what was at best a simp lif ied v ersion from th e outside, at wo rst ‘a passiv e 2 Sydney S tudies Critica l Metamorphoses of Frankenstein reflection of some of the wild fantasies which, as it w ere, h ung in the air 7 about her’ ( Mario Pr az) . ‘Lik e almost ev erything else about her lif e, Frankenstein is an instance of gen ius observed and ad mired bu t not 8 shared’, according to Robert K iely; ‘one of those second-rate works’, declared D. W . Harding, ‘written under the influen ce of more 9 distinguished minds’. Thanks largely to some Copern ican ch anges in our critical u niverse, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein now has a reputation commen surate w ith the looming bulk of its own Monster, h aving been unofficially canonized by the sh eer v ariety and extent of interpretative activity th at it has insp ired over the last thir ty years. This article offers a cr itical map o f that activ ity, asking what in its natur e and extent it might have to say about Frankenstein itself, as well as about the cr itical conditions under
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