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The Afterlife of Frankenstein

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Introduction

The Frankenstein myth has produced over 2,600 pieces of derivative work and 100 films. Post-publication it was critiqued but not heavily. William Godwin, an old radical, was dedicatee on the anonymously published work and so association with him garnered rejections from conservative publications. There were questions over aspects of the novel reflecting preoccupations and values of the time. It was praised in some essays. All in kind showed some respect initially. Lawrence published his work and gained notoriety. Through being or fear of being associated with his work Mary Shelley revised her work n 1831 where se removed signs of his ideas. The first play appeared in 1823, Presumption, making three key changes from the novel: Frankenstein's religious remorse, the monster being mute and a comic servant called Fritz. It is a cautionary reading followed by The Demon of Switzerland. Before her own changes had been made, she had lost control over her own plot. Her edits were damage limitation. Conservative writers were interpreting it however they wanted knowing their readers agreed. She cut what The Quarterly wanted removed from Lawrence's work. ...read more.

Middle

(Tourney) Later films became more diverted from the original meaning. He is a sexual pervert, a necrophiliac, opens up transsexual debate, bringing the focus back to the scientist, but not as the scientist of the original text. These films show us about its nature and how the populace views of science have evolved. How time changes our ideas and priorities to garner meaning from the text. Frankenstein has become a doting father in The Munsters, moved to television, become a household icon, As one of the famous Universal Monsters his recogniseable image has been transferred to all sorts of merchandise. He has appeared in comics and games and been referenced in music. The mad scientist trope has become familiar in science fiction. The name Frankenstein has spawned words, Frankensteinian and Franken- prefix can indicate something assembled out of parts or scientifically modified. He is a prominent figure at Halloween and other tropes such as creations falling out of one's control and rebirth through assembling parts are apparent in various mediums. Questions of Science are still resonant. ...read more.

Conclusion

Frankenstein means something different to everyone, all are reproductions. Criticism can alter that meaning and history can foreground certain ideas for it is always evolving. Interpretation is never static. We are the monster, he evolves with us. Adaptations are an amalgamation of views. A singular vision constructed through the collective consciousness, through the many people working on them, the critics that influenced them, society that imparte values onto them, the media and government that re-order their priorities. By its nature adaptation can never stay true to the original and that is a good thing. Were it even possible, would films be as interesting to us if it followed Shelley's text word for word and faithfully recreated all events? What is more interesting to us as students of literature is context. The context of a novel or a play or a film are the same, A text or interpretation gains meaning through where it lives historically. Daniel Gourlay | Q31314 Studying Modern Literature: Semester 2 Portfolio Exercises Daniel Gourlay | Q31314 Studying Modern Literature: Semester 2 Portfolio Exercises DANIEL GOURLAY Find out as much as you can about the afterlife of Frankenstein: its post-publication history, the critical heritage, what happens to it in the films. Can a text be explained by what becomes of it? ...read more.

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