Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Monster Time

Mary Shelley was 18 when she wrote Frankenstein. The story of the weekend spent with her boyfriend and then eventual husband Percy Shelley and Lord Byron and the bet they made on who could write the scariest tale is now the stuff of literary legend. Byron and Shelley while great poets could not match the rich and frought imagination of Mary.

The novel first published in 1818 tell the story of Victor Frankenstein and his attempt to reanimate the corpse of a man who had been hanged. It then goes on to tell of the horrible deaths and misery that follows from this act to bend nature to the will of man by the use of science.

I think everyone of us has seen this story told in dozens of movies and have seen that theme come down through literature. All science fiction and horror novels can trace their roots to the imagination of a 19th Century woman, who was trying to win a very special bet and her nightmare.

When I placed my head upon my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think. . . . I saw--with shut eyes, but acute mental vision--I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous Creator of the world.
Mary Shelley, from her introduction to the third edition of Frankenstein
As we draw closer to the first read of Rorschach's attempt to bring this creature to life in Monster, I thought this might be a good time to check out the some of the vast amount of imformation available on the web.

If you have never read the novel, I can't think of a better time of year to do it. As the leaves begin to change and the wind grows ever colder, why not print your own copy of the Novel here.

Wikipedia, in its very factually truthy way provides a nice overview of the novel and the movies that followed this most Gothic of Gothic Novels.

The National Institure of Health shows you the time line of what happened to bring this story of Medicine and Science to life. And they also talk about the social and moral issues raised by the novel here.

And finally here is a look at a museum that has taken great pains to explore the work and life of Mary Shelley, The Bakken Exhibit has some interesting artifacts and displays of the life of Frankenstein.

Monster Opens on October 31st. It's alright to be afraid of the dark sometimes.


Anonymous said...

don't forget the season 5 episode of the x-files "the post-modern prometheus"

DCepticon said...

You know just because a Cher song figures into the plot does not mean you have to like it.

Anonymous said...

has nothing to do with cher...way to stereotype!

DCepticon said...

I wasn't sterotyping anyone. I just know you love your washed 1970s celebrities.
And who doesn't?

Anonymous said...

it is not fair to the memory of shelley winters (may she rest in peace) to place her in the same group as cher...