Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, depicts some of the central concerns not only of the Romantic movement and its epoch but also of modernity in general. Discuss these Romantic concerns and consider the reasons for its continuing relevance.
Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, is considered to be the greatest Gothic novel of its Era and many to follow. Written when she was just 19, many of her life experiences and a very powerful imagination resulted in this literary piece of work. Published in 1818, at a time when society was embracing romanticism in its emerging, it was a beloved experience for the reader and still is today. During the 17th and 18th century Romanticism “has crossed all social boundaries” (Lowy, 1998. 76) and it was during this time that it found Itself in many niches of the literary world. Romantic writers are typically concerned with compassion for mankind, feelings, nature, freedom for the individual and rebellion from society. Frankenstein is a thoroughly accurate portrayal and proof of the importance of English Romanticism, there are very few other works as accurate. During the period of Romanticism portrayal of feeling and emotion was paramount and this was certainly also true of Shelley’s novel. Her own experiences with the death of her mother during childbirth and suicide of her half-sister Fanny are all reflected within the novel making for emotionally charged reading. Emotion is a highly featured theme throughout the book. The monster himself is driven by emotion. During the romantic movement people freely vented their worries thoughts and concerns in their writing and autobiographical work was also highly popular during this time. Similar to modernity another vital underpinning of romanticism was the innocence and exultation of the common man. Whilst the Enlightenment project sought to show that man was capable of saviour and improvement, Frankenstein did just that. A passage in the book, “cursed, cursed creator! Why did I...
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