Frankenstein: How a Monster Became an Icon

Edited by Sidney Perkowitz and Eddy Von Mueller. Pegasus, $28.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-68177-629-3
The legacy of Mary’s Shelley’s Frankenstein is celebrated in this respectful anthology of 13 essays that explore the significance of the novel 200 years after it was first published. The essays are divided into three sections concerned with the novel’s historical context, many extraliterary adaptations, and contemporary scientific relevance. Catherine Ross Nickerson and Laura Otis provide excellent close readings of the novel that illuminate, respectively, the foundations of Victor Frankenstein’s rashness as a scientist and his irresponsible abandonment of his creation. The book’s longest section, concerned with Frankenstein-inspired media, features interviews with Mel Brooks (director and cowriter of Young Frankenstein) and John Logan (creator of Penny Dreadful) and an insightful essay in which editor Von Mueller notes that, over the course of a century, cinematic adaptations have deviated so much from their source “that an attempt at restoration is almost revolutionary.” The last, briefest section includes an essay from editor Perkowitz, a scientist, who places Frankenstein in the context of enduring concerns about the creation of artificial life. The selections range in tone from pop-culture journalism to scholarly appraisals, and though they come across as a scattered mix, they cumulatively make a fine case for the enduring value of Shelley’s timeless tale. Agent: Laura Wood, Fine Print. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/13/2017
Release date: 01/02/2018
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-68177-697-2
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-64313-140-5
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