Time of plot: Late eighteenth century
Locale:Geneva, Switzerland; Ingolstadt, Germany; Scotland; Arctic Ocean
Keywords:Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft; Frankenstein; science fiction; treatment of nature; treatment of fear; Romanticism; treatment of monsters; Biblical allusion; Gothic novel; relationship to science; creation; sources in classical myth
|Book Criticisms||Historical Events|
|Plot Summary||Journal Articles|
|REF PN 41.D5
|Dictionary of Literary
|DLB is a multi-volume work which provides detailed biographical sketches of the authors' literary writings as well as general critical commentary.|
|REF PR 85 B688
|British Writers||This collection of literary biographies provides information about the lives, careers and works of British writers|
|REF PS 21.M34 1991||Magill's Survey of American Literature||Discussion of Mary Shelley's contributions and achievements in literature|
|REF PR 19.D73 1995||Oxford Companion to English Literature||Two page summary of the author's life and literary significance|
|PR 5398. S86 1989||Mary Shelley: Romance and Reality||A book length biography of the author|
Victor Frankenstein, while a student at the university in Ingolstadt, Germany, becomes obsessed with his ambition to create life as an addition to scientific knowledge.His success leads to the making of a monster the sight of whom fills him with "breathless horror and disgust."Throughout the rest of the novel Frankenstein is haunted by the specter of what he has accomplished while the monster tries to a place in the world in which he has found himself.When Frankenstein refuses to create a mate for him, the monster embarks on a rampage of revenge.After Frankenstein is deprived of all whom he loved, he hunts the monster to the icy desolation of the Arctic to destroy that which he has wrought.Victortells his story of horror and terror to Robert Walton, the captain of the ship which rescues him in the Arctic.Frankenstein'sensuing death and the monster's grief inspired vow to destroy himself bring this gothic novel to a close.
|Parental love and responsibility||Science and ethics|
|Social responsibility||Good versus evil|
|Horror and terror||Injustice|
|REF PN 771.G27
Vols. 14, 59
|Nineteenth Century Literature Criticism||NCLC contains excerpts from critical essays in books and journals. Use these volumes to 1) select a topic or theme 2) find the full articles or essay in the library, and 3) locate other articles and books from the "Further Reading" section.|
|REF PN 523.W67 1992
|World Literature Criticism||A broad selection of the best criticism of works by major writers|
|REF PN 3385.
|Novels for Students||Biographical, critical, historical and plotinformation about works of fiction|
|Science Fiction Writers||Critical studies of the major sci-fi authors from the early 19th century to the present|
|PS 147.R87 1995||To Write Like a Woman||Essays on feminism and science fiction with a chapter on Mary Shelley|
|PR 830.S35||Anticipations||Essays on early science fiction and itsprecursors|
|PN 3433.5.A45 1994||Science Fiction Before 1900||A detailed survey of the hallmarks of the evolution of science fiction|
picture courtesy of Cathy Decker
EVENTS AT THE TIME THE NOVEL WAS WRITTEN
Britain was in the middle of the Industrial Revolution when Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein.New technologies, such as the mechanization of spinning and weaving and improvements in the modes of transportation, led to a shift in the country from being a largely agricultural and commercial society to being the world's first industrial nation.This transformation fomented economic and political upheaval.Agitation for more rights for workers and women had its onset in this period.The agrarian Old Guard struggled to maintain its influence while new fortunes were being made in the textile industry.There was a rapid growth in population.The number of people in Britain doubled between the first ever census in 1801 and the census of 1851.The most popular journalist of the day, William Cobbett, spoke out for the workers and attacked landowners and political corruption.The Romantic poets revolted against the formality of neo-classicism and advocated a return to nature and a world of imagination and unconscious feelings.All of society was influenced by the NapoleonicWars and the ideas of the French Revolution.
The debate between scientific discoveries and traditional religious and metaphysical thought was starting to take shape, and the ethics of how far man should pursue his desire for knowledge was beginning to be a topic of discussion - a topic still in debate today.
|REF PN 50.L574 1997Vol. 1||Literature and Its Times||Profiles of 300 notable literary works and the historical events which influenced them|
|Q125.B97 1965||Origins of Modern Science||A collection of lectures that discuss, among other things, the Scientific Revolution|
|Q125.R7426||Science: Its History and Development Among the World's Cultures||A history of science with chapters on the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries|
|Q125.B947||The Day the Universe Changed||An explanation of the advances in science and knowledge that changed the way man perceived the world in which he lived|
|PR 830.T3||The Female Gothic||Essays on women writers of the gothic novel with a piece on Mary Shelley|
|PR 457.R4568 1995||Romantic Women Writers||A collection of writings about British women writers during the romantic era|
These resources are also available from the computers in the library.Below are three examples.
Academic Search Premier
This large, multi-subject database contains scholarly or peer reviewed literary journals. Many are full-text. Other journals are available in paper or on microfiche. Ask the librarians for help if you need it.
This is the most important database for your research. Use it to find articles in journals and essays. This is not a full-text database, but many of the journals will be available in the NHMCCD libraries.
PA Research II/ ProQuest
This huge database is not exclusively a literary database, but a number of literary journals are indexed and some are available full-text. This database is available from home. Use your library card number as a password.
Literature Resource Center
This resource includes most of the information in NCLC, World Literature Criticism, and Dictionary of Literary Biography.You’ll also find links to appropriate Internet sites. Many of these sources are reference works.
Resources for the Study of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Links to sites for the study of the novel.
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