Earl De Mott's Reviews > Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
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bookshelves: read-and-taught

The writing is incredibly moralistic by today's standards, and to a modern reader, I think it tends to be a stylistic surprise. I enjoy the playfulness of "namedropping" Shelley does by referencing the albatross of Coleridge, a conceit perhaps, considering that she rubbed elbows with (and indeed married) the poetic crowd.
Interestingly, I don't think she really had poetry in her, certainly not in the same sense as her poetic friends. She was much more the storyteller than any of the Romantic counterparts were, and I don't think Shelley (P.B. Shelley, that is) ever matched her in this respect.
In short, I find much implausible in what she writes, moments of cognitive dissonance. This is forgivable, however, if one considers that future readers would find our rubbish speculations hard to stomach. My arresting moments as a reader really come from the dramatic jumps that occur with characters. They are incredibly expository, especially considering their character histories, and often the motivation for acting (or not acting) on something is singular and absolute.
Just the same, I enjoy very much her use of the convention of the time, that of letter writing. Much like her contemporary, Jane Austen, the letters between characters reveal so much in terms of story, pacing, and voice. This is an incredible challenge to do right. As a teacher I've always contested that dialogue is the most difficult task for a writer to get correct. I'm uncertain if letter writing (i.e. writing fictional letters in the voice of the character) isn't more difficult because there is the additional task of revealing the story in a natural way, without transforming into an omniscient third person narrator.
All in all the book is a worthy read, and provides all the excitement of a modern film, in fact, most likely, is the one book that could be pointed to as the root for modern narration in film, due to its presentably visual traits. It almost begs to be produced.
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Reading Progress

April 13, 2016 – Started Reading
April 13, 2016 – Shelved
April 13, 2016 – Shelved as: read-and-taught
April 13, 2016 – Finished Reading

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