It's Alive!: A Visual History of Frankenstein

It's Alive!: A Visual History of Frankenstein

by Elizabeth Campbell Denlinger


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This book shows how Mary Shelley created a monster. Commemorating the two-hundredth anniversary of Frankenstein, it traces the origins and impact of her novel — a classic of world literature, a masterpiece of horror, and a forerunner of science fiction. Shelley conceived the archetype of the mad scientist who dares to flout the laws of nature. She devised a conflicted creature, eloquent and repulsive, torn between good and evil. In the movies he can be a brute pure and simple, yet he is still an object of compassion and remains a favorite on stage and screen.

Theatrical adaptations made the fame of Frankenstein. Shelley wrote a novel of ideas with a philosophizing creature, hardly the stuff of a mass-market bestseller. In the theater, however, the monster is mute, a terrifying transformation accomplished by actor Thomas P. Cooke, who played the part in 1823, and took London and Paris by storm. Subsequent dramatizations caught the popular imagination and inspired the movie versions, which spawned spin-offs, sequels, mash-ups, tributes, and parodies. Replicants of Frankenstein are so prevalent in today’s culture that the name has become a meme signifying forbidden science, unintended consequences, and ghastly amalgamations.

This engaging visual record begins with a biography of the author and continues through current reinterpretations of the story. Many of the contextual images have never been published before in print.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781911282419
Publisher: D Giles Limited
Publication date: 10/30/2018
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 11.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Campbell Denlinger is the curator of the Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle at The New York Public Library. She co-curated Shelley's Ghost: The Afterlife of a Poet and Before Victoria: Extraordinary Women of the British Romantic Era; she wrote the companion volume of the same title for the latter exhibition. She holds a PhD from New York University and lives in New York.

Table of Contents

  • Director’s Foreword by Colin B. Bailey
  • Too Horrible for Human Eyes: The Frankenstein Mystique by Elizabeth Campbell Denlinger
  • Chapter 1: The Gothic Background
  • Chapter 2: The Spark of Being: Science in Frankenstein
  • Chapter 3: Romantic Childhoods
  • Chapter 4: Summer of 1816
  • Chapter 5: Frankenstein in Her Time
  • Chapter 6: Living On
  • Chapter 7: Frankenstein on Stage and Screen
  • Chapter 8: Frankenstein Delineated
  • Illustrations
  • Works Cited
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
  • Customer Reviews