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The development of thought on Frankenstein It is a story of horrors that has been, over time, adopted into cinema and television alike. However, the original story of Frankenstein written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley from 1816 to 1817

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Introduction

The development of thought on Frankenstein It is a story of horrors that has been, over time, adopted into cinema and television alike. However, the original story of Frankenstein written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley from 1816 to 1817 in Geneva Switzerland differs greatly from its Hollywood renditions. When published in 1818, the 19 year old's story was highly criticized for its style and many different critics offered interpretations based on the popular critical theories of the time. Although all critics of Frankenstein have slightly different views, many of them do express similar points. Croker and the writer from The British Critic express their contempt for the novel in general. Sir Walter Scott, Birkhead, Goldberg and Miyoshi examine it in greater detail and compare it with other great writings of the time. Moer examines the details of Mary Shelley's life and how they are represented in the novel. Among these critiques of Frankenstein and its author different critical approaches are used, such as Mimetic, including feminism and Expressive. Through each of these critical approaches it can be seen that with the passing of time there is more consideration for the details of the novel and it's innovative nature with less concern and complaint about the sex of the author. Croker's 1818 review is an example of one of the earlier, harsher reviews. Considering the fact that he is writing in the Romantic era it is not surprising that Croker attributes the elements of the novel to the author's state of mind and not to external factors, the audience or the subconscious. However, his lack of appreciation for the fantastical is not expected. He subjectively critiques Mary's novel and state's it to be "a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity..." ...read more.

Middle

Goldberg sees Godwin's theory that "no being can be either virtuous, or vicious, who has no opportunity of influencing the happiness of others"(279) reflected in Frankenstein. In this assumption he is most likely referring to the Monster and the way in which his true character, whether vicious or virtuous is determined only by the emotions of those he observes and interacts with. Goldberg goes on to say that he does not however, believe that Shelley simply took the ideas of others and molded her story accordingly. Goldberg concludes his comprehensive review and study of Frankenstein with a response to a claim that the loneliness in the novel is representative of Shelley's own loneliness. He notes that it is more obviously symbolic of early nineteenth century England, removing the personal from this review. It is possible to see why he thought this way, since the early nineteenth century followed the age of enlightenment, which was obsessed with invention and the scientific; and Mary Shelley's novel presents the horrors that evolve from such an obsession. It could be said that her novel acts as a warning for those interested in the scientific. Miyoshi's 1969 examination of The Divided Self theory in reference to Frankenstein reiterates the ideas of previous critics with a deeper focus on the context in which the novel was written. His critical approach is mimetic in its obsession with the influence of society on the work. It is also expressive in its insistence on realism. He agrees with Goldberg that Shelley's upbringing had a profound effect on her writing. He emphasizes the duality between Frankenstein and Walton and suggests that after Victor's death, Walton's remaining life is an extension of Frankenstein's life and what he could have had. ...read more.

Conclusion

Moer worked to find connections between events in the novel and Mary's personal life. Whereas a formalist would have ignored these personal connections and assumed that the story had been produced from the author's subconscious for the sake of the public. Although most of these critics reveal mimetic criticism and romantic ideas each of them branch out into a different area of mimesis and produce varying and even contrary reviews of Frankenstein. For example, Moer's interpretation would seem far-fetched for some critics, such as Croker and Scot considering that they were not even aware that the author was female. Perhaps the great focus these critics give to the external world and its connections to literature explains the eventual development of the New Criticism, which focuses entirely on the work itself. Whether or not this is true, it is easy to see that Mary Shelley's reviews have become more personal and in-depth since the harsh and unbending reviews of critics in the year of its release. Work's Cited Page 1. Croker John, Wilson. "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus." The Quarterly Review. Volume XV111, No. XXXV1. January, 1818. 2. Scott, Sir Walter. "Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus: A Novel." Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. Volume 11, No. X11. March, 1818. 3. "A review of Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus". The British Critic. Volume 1X. April, 1818. 4. Scott, Sir Walter. "On the Supernatural in Fictitious Composition: And Particularly on the Works of Hoffmann." The Foreign Quarterly Review. Volume 1. No. 1. July, 1827. 5. Goldberg, M.A. "Moral and Myth in Mrs. Shelley's Frankenstein". Keats-Shelley Journal. Volume 8. Winter, 1959. 6. Miyoshi, Masao. "The Logic of Passion: Romanticism." The Divided Self: A Perspective on the Literature of the Victorians. New York University Press. 1969. 7. Moers, Ellen. "Female Gothic: The Monster's Mother." The New York York Review of Books. Volume XX1. No. 4. March 21, 1974. ...read more.

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