In Frankenstein’s Shadow: Myth, Monstrosity, and Nineteenth-Century Writing

In Frankenstein’s Shadow: Myth, Monstrosity, and Nineteenth-Century Writing by Chris Baldick

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3 stars

After reading Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, I decided to research the monster myth, both in classic literature and in contemporary.

Why are we drawn towards horror fiction, and especially towards Frankenstein’s monster? Does it reflect something in us which we cannot control? Does it symbolize the ugly side of the human being? Naturally, one could argue that this view on mankind could fit perfectly with Freud’s (much later) theory of the ‘uncanny’; the idea that the attraction towards horror came from the thoughts of the primitive id that was suppressed by the civilized ego. Obviously, Frankenstein is a story that brings out elements from Gothic and horror fiction attract and thrill us readers because we keep turning the pages and allow ourselves to dwell in an atmosphere of suspense and horror, while we enjoy feeling the flow of adrenaline through our veins.

First of all, I wanted to learn more about the literary history of Frankenstein, and the historical context which influenced Mary Shelley and her writing. Furthermore, I was interested in placing Mary Shelley as an author in the literary tradition at the beginning of the 1900th Century. In “Frankenstein’s Shadow – Myth, Monstrosity, and Nineteenth-century Writing “by Chris Baldick presents information about the monster myth and the literary period in which Frankenstein was written. Especially chapter 3 inspired me to further reading and knowledge.

If you are interested in the monster myth and want to know more, this source is also relevant:

Mary Shelley – Frankenstein’s Creator by Joan Kane Nichols.

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