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The Monster in a Dark Room: Frankenstein, Feminism, and Philosophy

The Monster in a Dark Room: Frankenstein, Feminism, and Philosophy This project has been supported, in part, by a grant from the Professional Staff Congress/City University of New York Research Foundation. My thanks to John Brenkman, Marshall Brown, Jonah Siegel, and Joseph Wittreich for their thoughtful responses to this essay. 1 Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, ed. M. K. Joseph (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), 128. I follow Shelley’s 1831 edition, but see also James Rieger’s edition of the 1818 text, with the revisions of 1823 and 1831 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982). The focus of this essay — the creature’s autobiography — is, in any case, among the least revised sections of the novel. Modern Language Quarterly 63:2, June 2002. © 2002 University of Washington. MLQ ƒ June 2002 giantism is both a fantastic element in the fiction (mysteriously, inexplicably, magically, the human limbs Frankenstein selects are extrahuman in proportion) and exemplary of Mary Shelley’s use of the fantastic to further the narrative of the creature’s development. Although the full-grown body he is brought to life in enables his physical survival, its monstrous size points to infantile dependence and vulnerability as the conditions that Frankenstein’s conception denies. Not surprisingly, the creature’s nonbirth, occluding an http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modern Language Quarterly: A Journal of Literary History Duke University Press

The Monster in a Dark Room: Frankenstein, Feminism, and Philosophy

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2002 by University of Washington
ISSN
0026-7929
eISSN
1527-1943
DOI
10.1215/00267929-63-2-197
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This project has been supported, in part, by a grant from the Professional Staff Congress/City University of New York Research Foundation. My thanks to John Brenkman, Marshall Brown, Jonah Siegel, and Joseph Wittreich for their thoughtful responses to this essay. 1 Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, ed. M. K. Joseph (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), 128. I follow Shelley’s 1831 edition, but see also James Rieger’s edition of the 1818 text, with the revisions of 1823 and 1831 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982). The focus of this essay — the creature’s autobiography — is, in any case, among the least revised sections of the novel. Modern Language Quarterly 63:2, June 2002. © 2002 University of Washington. MLQ ƒ June 2002 giantism is both a fantastic element in the fiction (mysteriously, inexplicably, magically, the human limbs Frankenstein selects are extrahuman in proportion) and exemplary of Mary Shelley’s use of the fantastic to further the narrative of the creature’s development. Although the full-grown body he is brought to life in enables his physical survival, its monstrous size points to infantile dependence and vulnerability as the conditions that Frankenstein’s conception denies. Not surprisingly, the creature’s nonbirth, occluding an

Journal

Modern Language Quarterly: A Journal of Literary HistoryDuke University Press

Published: Jun 1, 2002

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