Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is, in modern times, heralded as a classic, great work of art. However, when it was first published in 1818, few people regarded it as a worthy work of literary art. As seen in the two passages taken from the critics’ reviews of the novel, Frankenstein inspired extreme sentiments and reactions---readers either loved and enjoyed it or abhorred it and were disgusted by it. The two reviews presented convey the two contrasting emotions, as if in response to each other. The first, an anonymous piece from The Quarterly Review, criticizes Mary Shelley’s work, using vernacular and plain (yet grotesque) language and popular culture allusions and standards to illustrate author’s condemnation of Frankenstein. Conversely, Sir Walter Scott’s review from Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine is itself written in a worthy literary manner, using heightened terms, literary terms, and quotations from other works to demonstrate his positive point of view. In the 1800s, there were many magazines available for the literate to purchase and indulge in, some were professional journals intended for those who worked in a particular industry (like science or literature), while others were broader publications for the general public. The difference between the two kinds was always (and still is) readily apparent in the type of language used by the authors of the magazine’s articles. It can be surmised that Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine was intended for those immersed in literature, or at least those who were highly educated. Scott’s writing is romantic, mentioning “daemons,” “the lovely and helpless” and “creature” and “persecutor.” All these words and phrases are characteristic of a gothic or a romantic novel, in which the reader is presented with a tortured hero who is persecuted in some form and is faced with something lovely (usually a female). Phrases such as “resentment toward the human race,” “expedients for exciting terror,” and...
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