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Introductory Lecture Notes on Mary Shelley

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Title: Introductory Lecture Notes on Mary Shelley


1
Introductory Lecture Notes on Mary Shelleys
Frankenstein
  • Mr. Cleon M. McLean
  • Department of English
  • Ontario High School

2
About the Book
  • Who is the author of Frankenstein?
  • Answer Mary Shelley
  • What is the subtitle (or other name) for
    Frankenstein?
  • Answer The Modern Prometheus
  • In which century was Frankenstein written?
  • Answer Frankenstein was written in 1818 (19th
    century), i.e., the Romantic Period

3
Mary Shelleys Frankenstein
  • Mary Shelleys first publication of Frankenstein
    was anonymously
  • Mary Shelleys husband, the famous Romantic poet
    Percy Bysshe Shelley, wrote the preface, i.e.,
    the introduction, for the novel
  • The novel was dedicated to Mary Shelleys
    fatherthe philosopher William Godwin

4
Mary Shelleys Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein is a framed story (a story within a
    story). It begins and ends with letters
  • Frankenstein is told in flashback Captain Walton
    writes to his sister, Mrs. Saville, telling her
    about the life of Victor Frankenstein
  • Mary Shelley had four childrenall of whom died
    before age two. Marys half-sister committed
    suicide the same year Mary lost two of her
    children. These events made Mary depressed, and
    she dreamt about them.

5
Mary Shelleys Frankenstein
  • Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was 19
    years old
  • Mary Shelley read and relied on the most recent
    findings and theories of science to create her
    tale.
  • Mary Shelley replaced the mythological theme of
    "heavenly fire" with the latest experiments of
    electricity. Benjamin Franklin, whose name has
    been suggested for the "Frank" in Frankenstein,
    may have been the modern Prometheus from whom
    Shelley drew inspiration

6
Mary Shelleys Frankenstein
  • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein defies strict
    categorization as either a Gothic novel or a
    science fiction novel. While containing elements
    of both, it moves beyond these two genres
  • Definitions
  • Gothic novels stories often set in the medieval
    period (typically in gloomy castles), focusing on
    the sufferings imposed on an innocent character
    by a cruel and lustful villain (antagonist).
    Ghosts, mysterious disappearances, and other
    supernatural occurrences are also involved.
  • Genre A category of artistic, musical or
    literary composition characterized by a
    particular form, style, or content. E.g., poetry
    is a literary genre.
  •  Sidelight The term genre is frequently used
    interchangeably with type and kind.

7
In the 19th century, Romantic writers
  1. Stressed emotions and imagination
  2. Wrote about subjective experiences of the
    individual, such as desires, hopes, and dreams
  3. Exalted nature in all its creative and
    destructive forces
  4. Believed in spontaneity of thought and action
  • Believed in experimentation
  • Reflected on the experiences of childhood,
    primitive societies, and the common man
  • Celebrated intense passion and vision
  • Sought a more natural poetic diction and form

8
Vocabulary from the Preface Introductory Letters
  1. ardent
  2. harrowing
  3. dilate
  4. odious
  5. emaciated
  6. wretched
  7. capacious
  8. progeny
  9. paroxysm
  10. expedient
  1. hateful
  2. miserable
  3. children offspring
  4. spacious roomy
  5. expand
  6. spasm convulsion
  7. suitable practical
  8. distressing agonizing
  9. passionate enthusiastic
  10. thin wasted

9
Annotation Key for Bookmark
Rom. Info. about the Romantic Period (18001850)
M/P Mans nature mirroring physical nature
P/M Physical nature mirroring human nature
? A question about the meaning of a word or sentence or passage
? WOW! General noteworthy info.
? Supports theme of dangerous knowledge via the motif light
? Use of literary terminology
Rom. Info. about the Romantic Period (18001850)
M/P Mans nature mirroring physical nature
P/M Physical nature mirroring human nature
? A question about the meaning of a word or sentence or passage
? WOW! General noteworthy info.
? Supports theme of dangerous knowledge via the motif light
? Use of literary terminology
10
Chapter One
  • How did the speakers father meet his mother?
  • Answer The speakers father met and married the
    orphaned daughter of his friend.
  • Under what sort of economic condition did the
    Frankenstein people live?
  • Answer The family was rich, and traveled the
    world frequently.
  • Where did the Frankenstein family call home?
  • Answer The Frankenstein family called Geneva,
    Switzerland home

11
Chapter One
  • What is the name of the speaker in the story?
  • Answer Victor Frankenstein
  • Why did Victor choose to read Medieval books on
    alchemy (preparations for the elixir of life)
    over modern Enlightenment books?
  • Answer Victor thought that modern Enlightenment
    (natural sciences) was unsound

12
Chapter One
  • Where does Victors mother find his sister,
    Elizabeth?
  • Answer Elizabeth was an orphaned German girl who
    was left in the hands of an Italian peasant
    family
  • How was Victor introduced to his adopted sister,
    Elizabeth?
  • Answer Victors mother introduced Elizabeth to
    Victor as his present

13
Chapter Two
  • By what names did Elizabeth call her adopted
    family?
  • Answer She called them cousins and uncle
  • When/why did the Frankenstein family give up
    touring the world?
  • Answer When Victors younger brother was born

14
Chapter Two
  • What were Elizabeths intellectual interests?
  • Answer Elizabeths intellectual hobbies were in
    languages and art
  • What was Victors intellectual pursuit?
  • Answer Unlike Elizabeth who admired and
    delighted in the appearance of things, Victor
    investigated the cause of things

15
Chapter Two
  • What was the name of Victors friend, and what
    was he forced to do?
  • Answer Victors friend was Henry Clerval.
    Henrys father forced him to give up studying
    alchemy to study business

16
Chapter Two
  • What was Elizabeths affliction?
  • Answer She had the scarlet fever
  • Of what disease did Victors mother die?
  • Answer She had the scarlet fever
  • What was Victors mother dying wish?
  • Answer Victors mothers dying wish was for
    Victor and Elizabeth to get married

17
Chapter Three
  • Why did Victor go off to the university in
    Ingolstadt, Germany?
  • Answer Victor left to study in Germany because
    he wanted to escape the sadness of losing his
    mother
  • How did Victors first professor, Prof. Krempe,
    treat Victor?
  • Answer Professor Krempe was rude to Victor.
    Krempe told Victor that studying Medieval alchemy
    was rubbish

18
Chapter Three
  • How was Victors second professor, Professor
    Waldman, to Victor?
  • Answer Prof. Waldman was a calm and amiable man
    who respected Victor and urged him to study all
    branches of natural philosophyi.e., chemistry,
    biology, and physics, and mathematics
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