The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein

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The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein
File:The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author John Lauritsen
Country United States
Language English
Subject Percy Bysshe Shelley
Published 2007 (Pagan Press)
Media type Print (paperback)
Pages 229
ISBN 978-0-943742-14-4 (paperback)
978-0-943742-15-1 (library)

The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein is a 2007 book by John Lauritsen, in which Lauritsen argues that the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, not his wife Mary Shelley, was the real author of Frankenstein (1818), that Frankenstein "has consistently been underrated and misinterpreted", and that its dominant theme is "male love". The work received both positive and negative reviews.

Summary

Lauritsen argues that Percy Bysshe Shelley, not his wife Mary Shelley, was the real author of Frankenstein (1818), that the book "has consistently been underrated and misinterpreted", and that its dominant theme is "male love". Lauritsen criticizes feminists for constructing "a Mary Shelley myth, according to which she was a major literary figure, one whose genius had been overshadowed - not only by her husband, but also by the other male Romantics: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Keats."[1]

The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein includes a short bibliography of books and articles about Percy Bysshe Shelley and Frankenstein. Lauritsen praises poet Edmund Blunden's Shelley: A Life Story (1946), calling it the best book about Percy Bysshe Shelley.[2]

Reception

The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein was praised by literary scholar Camille Paglia, who wrote in Salon.com that "Lauritsen assembles an overwhelming case that Mary Shelley, as a badly educated teenager, could not possibly have written the soaring prose of "Frankenstein"...and that the so-called manuscript in her hand is simply one example of the clerical work she did for many writers as a copyist." Paglia compared Lauritsen's work to that of critic Leslie Fiedler, concluding that, "This is a funny, wonderful, revelatory book that I hope will inspire ambitious graduate students and young faculty to strike blows for truth in our mired profession, paralyzed by convention and fear."[3] Jim Herrick wrote in Gay Humanist Quarterly that Lauritsen "presents mountains of evidence, much of which is startlingly persuasive."[4]

Feminist Germaine Greer dismissed Lauritsen's thesis, writing that while he argues that Mary Shelley was not well educated enough to have written it, Frankenstein is not "a good, let alone a great" novel and that it does not deserve the attention it has been given.[5] Lauritsen replied that Frankenstein "is a radical and disturbing work, containing some of the most beautiful prose in the English language.... a profound and moving masterpiece, fully worthy of its author, Percy Bysshe Shelley."[6]

References

Footnotes

Bibliography

Books
  • Lauritsen, John (2007). The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein. New York: Pagan Press. ISBN 978-0-943742-14-4. 
Online articles