Evidence of a Gothic Novel in Frankeinstein Essay

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Frankenstein and us Module outline 1) Reading a novel - critical approaches 2)The scientific context of Frankenstein. Experiments in electricity and fictional response 3) The author(ess) Mary and P. B. Shelley: chronology of a love story 4) The text. (your comments) 5) Intertextuality: Frankenstein and the “Ancient Mariner” 6) The novel’s afterlife In the news: ‘Shopping for Humans’ by Jeremy Rifkin 7) Assessment 1) Reading a novel - critical approaches As any literary work, Frankenstein can be read along different lines, approached from different angles. Past and current criticism has explored the following areas, to mention just a few: • The novel as an expansion of the Miltonic theme of the Fall →innocence vs experience in the Biblical sense, i.e. mankind’s experience of evil, experience of guilt and separation. • Psychological study of typically romantic characters, e.g. Victor, Walton, Clerval… • The ‘monster’ himself has been studied in connection with Rousseau’s theory of man’s natural goodness perverted by a hostile environment. • A sociological approach to the novel stresses its importance as a social document, giving evidence of a woman’s role /family ties/ education, etc.. in the first decades of the 19th century. • Feminist critics are especially interested in issues concerning women’s culture. Also, they insist on the autobiographical side of the story, especially on the centrality of the act of giving birth. • An intertextual reading of the novel reveals echoes of several romantic poems, of various authors. It is a well-established notion that references to other texts add to the meaning of the work in question. In other words, if you consider ‘The Rime’ as a hypotext (= underlying text) to Frankenstein, your understanding of the novel may be enriched thanks to suggestion from Coleridge’s
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