Recently, I received a review copy of Frankenstein and Philosophy: The Shocking Truth, edited by Nicolas Mighaud, and published by Open Court Books. Now, I have to admit, I'm not really up on my philosophy (most of my knowledge comes from Monty Python's "Philosopher's Drinking Song"), but I have read a previously published pop culture and philosophy book, The Avengers and Philosophy, published by a different company. That gave me some idea what to expect. And of course, given my fondness for the various incarnations of Frankenstein, I was looking forward to receiving and reading this book.
Let me be up front about one thing: If you expect that this volume will feature chapters dealing with the philosophical aspects of all the incarnations, you will likely be disappointed. Oh, there are references to the Universal films (mostly Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein), and there's even one chapter that includes Young Frankenstein in its discussion, but the vast majority of the book covers the original Mary Shelley novel, which I haven't read since I was in junior high school.
Still, it was an interesting read... although I can't say as I'd recommend trying to read it in large chunks. With each chapter written by a different author, there is a fair amount of crossover, especially regarding certain sections of the original novel. Trying to read multiple chapters in one day tends to make the book feel somewhat on the repetitive side.
One of the continuing themes explored in the book is how Frankenstein's creation in the novel became monstrous. If you've never read the original novel, you might be surprised at how articulate the Creature is, as well as how intelligent he is. It's pretty much a given that if Frankenstein had treated his creation better from the beginning, none of the horrific actions the Creature took would have occurred. As I said, this is referred to multiple times during the many chapters.
I did find myself wishing that the book's authors had provided more discussion on the various interpretations of Frankenstein, especially considering that the Universal films are probably much more familiar to the average reader than the original novel. But it was an enjoyable read, when read only a few chapters a day (it took me about two weeks to read it this way). If you're a fan of Shelley's novel, and want to learn how it fits in with different philosophies, I'd strongly recommend it.
Post a Comment