On the rare occasion that I write about a novel – especially a classic novel – on this horror site, I balk at the prospect. Reviewing a movie – even analyzing some of its salient components – is fairly easy, but how does one “review” a classic work of literature? To what extent am I just writing a paper? Who am I to say whether Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a great piece of literature? Haven’t preceding generations already decided that? And what in God’s name am I going to say about this novel that is original? Such hesitant speculation deterred me from writing for about a day after I finished the text, but since I haven’t written for my beloved website for over a month, and since I just read frickin’ Frankenstein, it was hard to justify my lassitude on a permanent basis.
The story goes that Mary Shelley was lounging around with a group of people – perhaps one dark and stormy night – and someone presented a challenge: who could develop the best horror story on the spot? And so the evolution of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein began, the story of a perhaps-mad scientist who endeavors to bring a corpse to life and achieve all the fame and glory that would conceivably come with such a feat. I don’t know if Shelley won the contest, but her story has become both a popular Romantic-Era novel and the stuff of legend and campfire tales. Of course, in an era obsessed with vampires and zombies, it’s easy to overlook Frankenstein’s monster, or Frankenstein himself. In the most recent reincarnation of the story, the movie Victor Frankenstein, director Paul McGuigan tells Shelley’s story from a different angle: The story focuses heavily on Victor Frankenstein, true to Shelley’s text, but it eschews a thorough examination of the monster. The result? We get less a horror movie, and more a character study. Continue reading “Victor Frankenstein and Insufficiency of Intention”