Frankenstein: The Most Misread Novel?
‘Fraid I’ll have to stick with ‘bad science’!
Start with the basics: there is a world of difference between Mary Shelley’s original 1818 novel Frankenstein and the countless films that have been inspired by it. Even Kenneth Branagh’s 1994 adaptation, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, adds much to Shelley’s original vision and in doing so takes much away. Its title may signal fidelity to the original, but it ends up performing a hatchet-job on Shelley’s book, and is led to desperate attempts to stitch together the disparate pieces to form a coherent, and living, whole. The result is, if not quite a monster, then at least a mess.
But then the book is always accompanied by misreadings or misapprehensions, such as the famous conflation of the creator with the (unnamed) creature (so people talk of ‘Frankenstein’ instead of Frankenstein’s monster), or the belief that the creator is ‘Doctor Frankenstein’ (not so: in the book he is but a humble student). It is…
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