Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Day 5 of October Horror Month: Frankenstein the novel by Mary Shelley
The book FRANKENSTEIN written in the 1800s by Mary Shelley, is said by some sources to have arisen from a shared challenge by poets Lord Byron and Shelley's husband Percy Bysshe Shelley. The challenge was to write a story that questioned man becoming as a God, the role of humans as the new Prometheus (of Greek myth and legend), and humanity’s growing knowledge of science making God more or less a belief rather than assumed fact. That Prometheus the titan is argued in Greek mythology to have given humanity fire, thus, giving them the power of intellect. The titan is thereafter punished by Zeus, the father God for such an act. Doctor Victor Frankenstein, in his role as the builder of the monster/being of Frankenstein, is the creator of unlife, is the Prometheus, having stolen the fire and sharing it with other mortals.
This book is not a horror novel so much as an incredible journey into the world of the 1800s intellectual community. Who is God, if man can recreate life? What is life if it can be made by man? Are we the Prometheus? Or will we be?
Having said this isn’t horror why am I presenting it for your consideration in Horror month? It is read with abject horror by people who desire only easy answers. It was adapted to film, and other media in ways that focus upon the result of the act of creating, the monster, rather than considering the reality, that Frankenstein, the Modern Prometheus is about the world of science, and the consequences of creation without ethics or moral endowment.
Read this because it is good, regardless of the genre. It is deservedly called a CLASSIC.