Responses to Frankenstein

Responses to Frankenstein2018-07-19T11:21:25-04:00

This section points to lists and collections of criticism edited by important scholars and commentators, as well as other public responses, such as blog posts, to Frankenstein. Each resource explores the many historical, social, scientific, and literary meanings of the novel and its author.

Scholarship on the Web

University of Pennsylvania’s list of articles on Frankenstein.

The University of Pennsylvania has provided access to over 200 scholarly essays on Frankenstein, which are alphabetically listed and available at the following link.

Romantic Circles’ Mary Shelley chronology and resources.

A chronology of Mary Shelley’s life and work with several contemporary reviews of her novels, as well as reviews of the plays inspired by Frankenstein.

The Wordsworth Trust’s blog posts on Mary Shelley.

A series of blog posts relating to Mary Shelley from romanticism enthusiasts across the globe. Numerous posts belong to the travel genre, combining personal narrative, photographs of notable landmarks, and comparisons to the lives of the Shelleys, Byron, and their circle. Be sure to check out the fictional extracts from contemporary writers’ re-vision of Romantic-era lives.

Frankenstein’s Dream, edited by Jerrold Hogle.

An excellent set of essays focused on the significance of Victor Frankenstein’s crucial dream immediately after he brings the Creature to life.

Edited Volumes

The Cambridge Companion to Frankenstein.

A collection of essays edited by Andrew Smith from leading experts in Mary Shelley and Frankenstein. The companion contains chapters on the literary, historical, political, and scientific contexts of the novel as well as providing theoretical approaches to reading such as: gender, queer theory, race, ecocriticism, and the posthuman. The link above gives citation information, an online ISBN number, and links for how you can access these essays.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, edited by Harold Bloom, Bloom’s Literary Criticism, 2009.

A collection of essays by Romanticism experts on the works and letters of Mary Shelley, with an introduction by Harold Bloom. These essays touch on various works by Shelley, including ones on Frankenstein focused on the subjects of gender and dread.

The Endurance of Frankenstein: Essays on Mary Shelley’s Novel, edited by George Levine and U. C. Knoepflmacher, Stanford UP, 1991.

A collection of essays considering the novel’s long presence in Western culture. It includes essays on the female gothic, the bourgeois family, as well as the novel in theater and film.

Mary Shelley in Her Times, edited by Betty T. Bennett and Stuart Curran, Johns Hopkins Press, 2000. 

Attending to Shelley’s context, this volume is especially keen to track the influences on her writing throughout her life.

See also editions of Frankenstein that include seminal essays (Smith; Guston et al.; Hunter) and those with bibliographies (Wolfson and Levao; Butler; Bennett and Robinson; MacDonald and Scherf; Wolfson).

Questions of Authorship

James Rieger, “Introduction.” Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus. Bobbs-Merrill, 1974.

Rieger provides a biography of Mary Shelley’s life and points out several places where she borrowed from her husband’s writings (among other poets, it should be mentioned). Rieger claims that Percy participated in the novel’s development at every stage, concluding, “one hardly knows whether to regard him as editor or minor collaborator.

E. B. Murray, “Shelley’s Contribution to Mary’s Frankenstein.” Keats-Shelley Memorial Bulletin, vol. 29, 1978, pp. 50-68.

Murray’s brief but even-handed analysis provides a parallel rough copy and fair copy of Shelley’s changes.

Anne Mellor, Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters. Methuen, 1988.

Mellor provides a biography of Mary Shelley, followed by six chapters on Frankenstein, with an analysis of the textual revisions made by Mary and Percy. Mellor attributes many of the Latinate constructions to Mary’s husband, as well as the idea that Victor should be called the “author” of the monster and the monster himself an “abortion.”

Marie Hélène Huet, Monstrous Imagination. Cambridge, 1993.

Huet claims Percy Shelley as the novel’s co-author, based on reading of previous criticism.

Charles E. Robinson, “MWS and PBS’s Collaboration in The Frankenstein Notebooks.”

Robinson assesses much of the scholarship on the novel’s authorship and the co-editing evidenced in the notebooks.

John Lauritsen, The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein. Pagan Press, (2007).

Lauritsen argues at length that Percy Bysshe Shelley, not Mary Shelley, is the author of Frankenstein.