This thorough study guide to Mary Shelley's revolutionary novel places the book in its political, philosophical and literary context and calls attention to the disturbing questions it raises and the reasons for its enduring appeal
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one of the most popular novels from the Romantic period. This accessible study, written by a specialist in Romantic literature, examines Frankenstein within its literary and philosophical contexts. It looks closely at the range of genres from which the novel emerged, offering textual analysis of key passages from this and related texts. There is a summary of criticism on the novel, a discussion of the historical background, and a wide-ranging exploration of the literary sources. The study focuses on the moral questions that arise from the novel, investigating the range of questions that Shelley raises and offering an analysis of her answers.
Part 1: Life, Times, Contexts and Themes explores the novel in the context of the author's life, the political scene, and the philosophy and literature that influenced it.
Part 2: The Three Narratives is a close reading of the versions of events offered by the three narrators. It considers the themes of childhood and education, the moral problems at the centre of the novel, and the role of women.
Part 3: Critical Responses gives an overview of the criticism on the novel. The book concludes with an annotated guide to further reading, and selections (with critical commentary) from other Gothic writings.
About the author
Essaka Joshua is a lecturer at the University of Birmingham. She has published several articles on Romantic and Victorian literature, including studies of Mary Shelley, William Wordsworth, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, and Charlotte BrontÃ. Dr Joshua is the author of Pygmalion and Galatea: The History of a Narrative in English Literature (Ashgate, 2001), and a textbook on The Remains of the Day (First and Best, 2004). Her book The Romantics and the May Day Tradition is forthcoming (Ashgate, 2007).
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