Re: Mary Shelley?
Mon, 8 Feb 1999 08:57:16 EST

In a message dated 99-02-08 08:33:14 EST, Daniel Ust wrote:

> After reading _Frankenstein_ a number of years ago, and

> seeing lots of the movie adaptations (which are mostly not
> close to the book), I came to the conclusion that she was
> very antiscience and antitechnology.

Ultimately, this may well be true, but I think the wole story is a little more complex than simply saying that she and "Frankenstein" are antiscinece and antitechnology. Note that she says in the intoroduction to the book that the ideas expressed there are not necessarily hers, but rather are the characters' -- a fine distinction, but one which may be important when you consider the second point, which is that the ultimate horror of the nameless monster is not the monster himself, who actually becomes a refined, eloquent and sympathetic fellow, but instead is Victor's inhumane treatment of his creation. More than anything else, the book may be about the responsibility that creators have to their creations, rather than being a polemic against science, technology and "playing god", as is often expressed.

That said, there's no doubt that Shelley is at least ambivalent about the subject matter of the book; a position that befits her position among the leading figures of Romantic literature and original creators of the Gothic style. Perhaps there's more than irony in the relationship of Shelley to her mother: As Damien correctly pointed out, Mary Wollstonecraft died giving birth to Mary Shelley, a victim of the primitive science of her day. She was unable to pass on her own Enlightenment values to her daughter, who was left to navigate without that guidance the turbulent times of the Napoleonic wars that marked the end of the first Enlightenment. That missing guadance is perhaps the ultimate source of the main theme of "Frankenstein", an absent parent.

	Greg Burch     <>----<>
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