Friday, 16 July 2010

Book Friday

It’s Book Friday and today we have Frankenstein! Ta da!
Lifespan: b. 1797 (England), d. 1851
First Published: 1818
First Published by: Lackington et al. (London)
Full Title: Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus

I can only assume you have seen one of the many movies and/or read the book (please tell me you have seen Young Frankenstein! If not, go get it now! And you have something to do for the weekend…) The classic version is James Whale’s 1931 movie if you have not seen that – another must-do for your list.

Written by the daughter of the radical feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, the author married poet Percy Bysshe Shelly in 1816. Now this was before the book was published, so as to whether or not he had any input is not know to this reviewer.

Her mother died when the author was ten months old, so that influence is again unknown, as she certainly would, I think, have been driven to read her mother’s work in order to come to know her in some sense.

If you were hiding in a hole during your pre-university education and did not read the book, I highly recommend you do so; even if you did, a re-read is nothing but enjoyment.

“At the centre of the story is the idea that our understanding of science can be developed and controlled, to the point that the tendency of Nature toward dissolution can be arrested; the impossibility of this desire is at the centre of its “horror”.

The subtitle of the novel, The Modern Prometheus, makes clear the connection with Greek mythology, but it is evident that Frankenstein is a novel that looks forward as well as back. The Swiss scientist and philosopher, Frankenstein, is inspired by occult philosophy to create a human-like figure, and give it life. The idea of reanimation is at the heart of much modern horror…”

We see in this novel and in much modern literature the attempt to postpone death and the decline of vigour. It is a recurring theme.

Shelley’s book is worth reading for many reasons but the main points that keep it fresh and applicable to today’s society is the “effortless prose, grotesque imagery, and surreal imagination” that Shelly put to paper. I highly recommend this read.

I have finished Appetite for Life: the autobiography of Julia Child by Noel Fitch and I again, highly recommend this read. What a life this woman had; there is so much in addition to the books and television shows she wrote and preformed that most of us are unaware of in any sense. If you are like me and have never read nor seen them, I think we should. I can tell you I know what Q is receiving for her next gift! It is a story of two lives, her and her adorable Paul, well lived. She is an inspiration to all of us out of our thirties and looking to accomplish great deeds still. It is a story of a woman driven to accomplish a work of great impact and exactitude but also a great love story, as well as the webs of friendship and family that she and her Paul wove about themselves. The story of how they survived the McCarthy purge and the removal of taste from the America table is one worth telling.

We are getting packed, and ready for our two-week sojourn to Canada. It will be quite a trip and I shall give you daily updates as to our progress through Canada west to east.

I’m also busy at work on a submission for the Surrey Writer’s conference in October, which explains my absence from daily posts on my blog. I’m very excited about returning this year as I learned so much when I was there in 2007.


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