Frankenstein Critics Flashcard Example #28590

Critics perspective on Frankenstein about Godwin
“Among the books she would have known well would have been her father’s own novel The Adventures of Caleb Williams in 1794. It contains elements of the Gothic..”
Critics perspective on Frankenstein about Caleb Williams
“Caleb Williams also shares the pace of Godwin’s other novels and this same extraordinary energy- the journeying and pursuit- is there in Mary Shelley’s book too.”
Critics perspective on Frankenstein about science and Mary Shelley
“She Mary Shelley believed in the value of science and running through her novel there is a strong thread of intellectual excitement about it all had to offer”
Critics perspective on Frankenstein about thought provoking literature
“Mary Shelley does not offer us an absolute authorial vantage point and that is keeping with Godwin’s ethos, and her own and Percy Shelley’s thinking that literature should be thought provoking.”
Critics perspective on Frankenstein about gender
Frankenstein is largely about men and men who are in various ways deeply insensitive to women or the realms traditionally associated with them: home; family and so on.”
Critics perspective on Frankenstein about homosexuality
“Some have detected potential homo- eroticism in the novel in the that the most intense relationships are those between male creatures.”
Critics perspective on Frankenstein about male values
“The novel suggests how destructive it can be if male values come to dominate… examining how women can be silenced and marginalised.”
Critics perspective on Frankenstein about love
“I believe that love is at the heart of the tale. It is, after all, Victor’s inability to love his creation…”
Critics perspective on Frankenstein about society
“It is better to think of Frankenstein as an analysis of the dangers on an exclusively intellectual approach to society.”
David Punter quote about characters in Gothic
“…three symbolic figure which run through their Gothic work: the wanderer, the vampire and the seeker after forbidden knowledge”
David Punter about the origins of the Gothic wanderer
“..notes the Wanderer’s occasional presence in Italian, Spanish, German and English literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries”
David Punter about crime and a wanderer
“idea of a man who for an ultimate crime against God, often blasphemy or unbelief, is doomed to a perpetual life on earth”
David Punter about punter and supernatural powers
“He is usually possessed of supernatural powers.. his task on earth was to find another person who, out of despair, would exchange destinies with him a task in which he never succeeds”
David punter about persecution
“..victim of a terrible persecution one which he cannot alleviate”
David Punter about seeker of forbidden knowledge
“seeker after forbidden knowledge… the ultimate forbidden knowledge is presumably sexual”
David Punter about the motifs of Gothic literature
“..emergence of a literature whose key motifs are paranoia and manipulation and injustice, and whose central project is understanding he inexplicable , the taboo, the irrational”
David Punter about fear of the different
“Principally, there is an intense fear of the ugly, unpredictable, the disruptive which prevents the author from dealing fairly with the monster…the monster may not be wholly blameworthy … but nonetheless he is different”
David Punter about injustice
“Wanderer and Frankenstein’s monster are powerful symbols of that injustice”
David Punter about rejection
“book about the rejection of the strange, at both social and psychological levels”
David Punter about the language
“language of schizophrenia . The monster is the creature, the embodiment of Frankenstein’s desire… Frankenstein must share in the guilt for his brother’s death”
David Punter about Tabula Rasa
“Mary Shelley, nominally subscribed to Godwin’s belief in the eventual perfectibility of man, and any doctrine of the tabula rasa must suppose that, if circumstances were only right, perfection of the individual is a possibility”
David Punter about Rousseau and Godwin
“Mary Shelley is here concerned to present the monster in the light of Rousseauistic and Godwinian theories, as born innocent, a tabula rasa”
David Punter about the way MS tries to show Vic and the creature
“she intended to demonstrate the wrongness of Frankenstein’s efforts at the same time as showing the monster as a fundamentally morally neutral creature who is made by evil by circumstances but these twin goals sit very uneasily together”
David Punter about Prometheus
“…characteristics of the Promethean hero are divided by Mary Shelley between the scientists Frankenstein and the monster…It is Frankenstein who defies God by creating life but it is the monster who bears at least part of the punishment”
David Punter about insatiable desires
“…all have desires which are socially insatiable …their satiation would involve social disaster as well as transgression of boundaries between the natural, the human and the divine.”
Danny Boyle about Gothic dreams
“Gothic dreams are present are here but it is the creature who dreams imaginatively visuals of a dancing wife
Danny Boyle about the creatures brutalisation
In two new encounters we are given fleeting glances of the Creature’s early brutalisation
The new playscript works to increase sympathy for him and to encourage the audience to understand his actions: Williams’s strangulation happens off stage, the character of Clerval is absent so we also don’t see his murder, his framing of Justine is also excluded”
Danny Boyle about the narrative structure
“The framed narrative of Walton.. here replaced by an omniscient thread the the audience brings”
Danny Boyle about the two roles being the same
“That the actors playing Victor and creature will alternate suggests that they are two blurred halves in a perennial struggle between good and evil nature and science and conspicuously a profound desire for love and a rejection of it”
Critical voices David Punter about Gothic not being right
“If Gothic works ‘do not come out right’ this is because they deal in psychological areas which themselves do not come out right, they deal in those structures of the mind which are compounded with repression rather than with the purified material to which realism claims access…”
Critical voices – Robert Hume about horror and terror
Robert Hume argues that the horror novel replaces the ambiguous physical details of the terror novel with a more disturbing set of moral and psychological ambiguities.”
Critical voices- David Punter about metaphor and symbolism
“… it seeks to express truth through the use of other modes and genres…individual’s involvement with the world is not merely linear but is composed of moments with resonances and depths which can only be captured through the disruptive power of extensive metaphor and symbolism”
Critical voices- David Punter about Gothic as a lens
“The Gothic is a distorting lens, a magnifying lens; but the shapes which we see through it have nonetheless a reality which cannot be apprehended in any other way”
Critical voices- David Punter about paranoia
“It is in its concern with paranoia, with barbarism and with taboo that the vital effort Gothic fiction resides: there are aspects of the terrifying to which the Gothic constantly and hauntedly remains”
Order, narrative and chaos- Judy Simmonds about the tone of the book
“From the outset the book combines a realistic tone with a vision that is alien and fantastic”
Order, narrative and chaos- Judy Simmonds about interpretations
“so many competing interpretations of the book when the author deliberately obscures the concept of any single definitive truth, and avoids supplying answers to the dilemmas in which the characters find themselves”
Order, narrative and chaos- Judy Simmonds about narrative stability
“…undermine any sense of narrative stability and replace it with an experience of incoherence and uncertainty,.. David Punter describes Gothic works as ‘ are not fully achieved… fragmentary, inconsistent, jagged,”
Order, narrative and chaos- Judy Simmonds about concentric circles
“In this way the novel is built around a series of concentric circle with multiple narrators each adding another plane of resonance to a multivalent structure”
Order, narrative and chaos- Judy Simmonds about Waltons journey
“The reader is thus primed to accompany Walton on a psychological journey into a desolate and disconcerting landscape.”
Gothic- Fred Botting about the Alps
“Alps in particular stimulated powerful emotions of terror and wonder in the viewer. The immense scale offered a glimpse of infinity and awful power, intimations of metaphysical force beyond rational knowledge and human comprehension.”
Gothic- Fred Botting about the doubles
“Doubles..signified the alienation of the human subject from the culture and language in which s/he was located”
Gothic- Fred Botting about internalisation of Gothic
“The internalisation of Gothic form reflected wider anxieties which centring on the individual concerned the nature of reality and society and its relation to individual freedom and imagination.”
Gothic- Fred Botting about antithesis
“The play of antithesis produces the ambivalent and excessive effects and reception of Gothic writing.”
Gothic- Fred Botting about excess
“Gothic fiction is less an unrestrained celebration of unsanctioned excesses and more an examination of the limit produced in the 18th century to distinguish between good and evil”
Gothic- Fred Botting about reasserting values
“The terrors and horrors of the transgression in Gothic writing became a powerful means to reassert the values of society, virtue and propriety: transgression by crossing the social and aesthetic limits serves to reinforce or underline their value and necessity, restoring or defining limits.
Gothic- Fred Botting about transgression
“Transgressing the bounds of reality and possibility, they also challenged reason through their overindulgence in fanciful ideas and imaginative flights”
Gothic- Fred Botting about the french revolution
“The decade of The French Revolution was also the period when the Gothic novel was at its most popular.. signified a range of political positions, revolutionary mobs, enlightened radicals and irrational adherence to tyrannical and superstitious feudal values”
Fred Botting- creature as a fragments
Fred Botting: “Fragmented, disunified, assembled from bits and pieces, the novel is like the monster itself”
Anne Mellor- science and female nature
his scientific penetration and technological exploitation of female nature…is only one dimension of a more general culture encoding of the female as passive and possesable, the willing receptacle of male desire.’
Mario Praz- passive reflection
“All Mrs Shelley did was to provide a passive reflection of some of the wild fantasies which were living in the air about her.”
Rebekah Owens – Romanticism A rough Guide
the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings
Rebekah Owens – Romanticism A rough Guide
Writing about an outcast allows an author to use such a protagonist to reflect on what it means to be human
Rebekah Owens – Romanticism A rough Guide
It was notorious for its angst-ridden, other worldly protagonists that terrified characters
Rebekah Owens – Romanticism A rough Guide
The French Revolution in 1789 viewed by many as the dawn of a political order where liberty and equality would be bywords of the new era.
Rebekah Owens – Romanticism A rough Guide
popular idea of artists as lone tormented geniuses, destined to suffer for their art, being uniquely gifted, above the common run of humanity and dying early
Chris Bond- Frankenstein is it really about the dangers of science
There is an extreme vanity and egotism acting as the motivating force for Victor’s work, as opposed to a disinterested desire to further the interest of the human race in general..
Chris Bond- Frankenstein is it really about the dangers of science
seeks to avoid sexual congress…His life with Elizabeth is asexual…when sexuality threatens to enter the relationship with their engagement he cuts himself from friends. family and fiancee for two years
Chris Bond- Frankenstein is it really about the dangers of science
In contrast to Victor, whose egotism isolates him from his friends, family and fiancee his creation craves human contact and desperately pleads for a companion capable of accepting him
Anne Mcwhir- education of creature
these books have incompatible views of the nature of power and that the creatures learns from a confused curriculum and an inconsistent reading
Anne Mcwhir- education of creature
ambivalent and heterogenous nature of human beings. The creature in other physically displays what human society must repress, its own divided, ambivalent inorganic status
Anne Mcwhir- education of creature
A rare; use of the word ‘monster’ concerns the act of exhibiting something wonderful. The creature is not the doppleganger of Victor Frankenstein alone. he mirrors back the whole of the human ‘species’
Graham Allen- Reading Frankenstein
When a child is born one of the earliest purposes of his institutions ought to be, to awaken his mind, to breathe a soul into the as yet, unformed mass.
John Crocker review
It cannot be denied that this is nonsense- but is nonsense decked out with circumstances and clothed in language highly terrific it is indeed, a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury, signfying nothing
The reception and endurance of Frankenstein
Instead of disdain or contempt it is panic and dread that motivate Croker’s venomous onslaught
Treats the novel in the same way people treated the creature
George Levine
a vital metaphor peculiarly appropriate to a culture… neurotically obsessed with getting in touch with its authentic self and frightened at what it is discovering
MA Goldberg
the dramatic monologue of the monster at the core of Frankenstein’s narrative concentricity of story within story demanded the critic’s particular attention since it had clearly suffered most from the novel’s widespread reputation as a simple tale of horror and apocalyptic destruction
The reception of Frankenstein
Frankenstein’s guilt… is never completely the crime of hubris. Frankenstein’s crime, like Walton’s, is social. Both sin against society
The reception
Jean Jacques Rousseau who had seen society as a force destructive to natural benevolence
Thomas Paine
develops the relationship between happiness and social virtues in The Rights of Man, Since nature created man for social life no man is capable without the aid of society of supplying his own wants
Bronfen reads the novel as a heavily encoded semi-autobiographical text
Through her birth became responsible for the death of her mother, her stepmother disapproved of her and Mary was able to win her affection only after WG’s death. Her father disowned her after her clandestine flight with PS and was unwilling even to acknowledge his first grandson
Due t the uncoventionality of her life with Shelley she was marginalised by English society. She came to feel that her depression caused by her dead children, Shelley’s infidelities, and their povetry was a confirmation of her own monstrosity
realisation that the materilisation of the liberal political ideas of her parents produced an unbearable social solitude… argument against solitary artistic practice
In her own life she was forced to learn that the intellectual legacy of her parents was inextricably interwoven with the monstrosity of being socially outcast
neither perpetuates nor succumbs to patriarchial dynamics but by appropriating three male voices within a female-authored frame, skilfully undermines the implicity gendered positions that inhere in traditional narration.
Ellen Moers
‘birth myth’
‘ Her extreme youth, as well as her sex have contributed to the generally held opinion that she was not so much an author in her own right as a transparent medium through which passed the ideas of those around her
Mary Shelley
women are so perpetually the victims of their generosity- their purer and more sensitive feelings
Anne K Mellor
“She would later
represent Percy Shelley’s lack of parental concern for his offspring in the fictional form of Victor
Frankenstein’s abandonment of his creature”
Anne K Mellor
“Mary Shelley grounded her fiction of the scientist who
creates a monster he cannot control upon an extensive understanding of the most recent scientific
developments of her day”
Anne K Mellor
“More important, she used this knowledge both to analyze and to
criticize the more dangerous implications of the scientific method and its practical results”
Joseph Kestner
“Victor Frankenstein’s evident longing for another, despite his close friendship with
Henry Clerval and his betrothal to Elizabeth, leads to a creation of a being who becomes the
Inadequate Other which is in reality Victor himself”
Anne K Mellor
“… Shelley presents these rather passive characters as if,
through their secondary status, she could express her frustration with and resentment of the
bourgeois, patriarchal family model so prevalent in her own day”
Anne K Mellor
“Caroline Beaufort, Elizabeth Lavenza, Justine Moritz, and Agatha De Lacey are fixed in roles
expected of women at this time – wife, mother, daughter – and are somewhat idealized”
Anne K Mellor
Horrified by this image of uninhibited female sexuality, Victor Frankenstein violently reasserts a male control over the female body, penetrating and mutilating the female creature at his feet in an image which suggests a violent rape: “trembling with passion, I tore to pieces the thing on which I was engaged”
Anne K Mellor
Victor Frankenstein is engaged upon a rape of nature, a violent penetration and usurpation of the female’s “hiding places” 1.3.6, of the womb. Terrified of female sexuality and the power of human reproduction it enables, both he and the patriarchal society he represents use the technologies of science and the laws of the polis to manipulate, control, and repress women.
Anne K Mellor
The monster, like Fuseli’s incubus, leers over Elizabeth, imaging Victor’s own repressed desire to rape, possess, and destroy the female. Victor’s creature here becomes just that, his “creature,” the instrument of his most potent desire: to usurp female reproductive power so that only men may rule.
Frankenstein echoes anti-Jacobin (anti radicalism/French Revolution magazine) motifs e.g. Grave robbing and monsters destroying creators but partially subverts them so politics becomes psychology “internalizes political debates”
o Conservatives portrayed him as “a nascent monster who needed to be stamped out” so England did not follow France and have a revolution
“Godwin is one of the greatest monsters exhibited by history.”(Horace Walpole
spawn of the monster” (The Anti-Jacobin Review, 1800)
Utopian reformers breed monsters who threaten to destroy them.”
Barruel was read extensively by Percy .S Theorised that the Illuminati in Ingolstadt was the original source of the French Revolution, which was “a true child of its parent sect”
Victor does not create a true Jacobin monster, but he creates the monster in the same city in which the French Revolution was purportedly started, and the true “disastrous monster called Jacobin” was ‘conceived’
Victor does not create a true Jacobin monster, but he creates the monster in the same city in which the French Revolution was purportedly started, and the true “disastrous monster called Jacobin” was ‘conceived’
thoroughly male orientated vision of the coming utopia”
Victor’s intention to use his “offspring’ (the monster) only as a glorification of himself” shows he “foresees a utopia that reflects his own subjective desires”
“purges it of virtually all reference to collective movements” and “depoliticises the monster tradition”
Mary Shelley- her introduction
Everything must have a beginning and that beginning must be linked to something that went before…Invention, it must be humbly admitted does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos
MS her introduction
My imagination, unbidden, posessed and guided me, gifting the succesive images that arose in my mind with a vividness far beyond the usual bounds of reverie
MK Joseph
It is ironic, but entirely appropriate that.. the nameless monster seems to have usurped the name of his creator
Bernard O Keefe
placing the reader in that liminal state between our real world and the world of imagined fears and horrors.
Bernard O Keefe
provide an unsettling fragmentation of perspective an unnerving sense of dark truths hidden below or embedded in our everyday lives
Jean Jacques Rousseau
Man was born free and he is everywhere in chains. One man thinks himself the master of others, but remains more of a slave than they
MK Joseph
the monster is… a projection of Frankenstein’s mind and an embodiment of his guilt in withdrawing from his kind and pursuing knowledge which though not forbidden is still dangerous

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