Origins of Frankenstein

Origins of Frankenstein

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Anne K. Mellor is one of the respectable Professors in English and most of her academic interests revolve around the early eighteenth century literature of Britain. She is also a prominent proponent of women's literature and the feminist theory with the same zeal in visual arts (Mellor 9). Most of her great works in literature include Mothers of the Nation - Women's Political Writing in England, 1780-1830; here she argues the importance of writers especially women and how instrumental they were in the shaping of general public views and opinions during the great Romantic era (Mellor 17). She has also written many books that have given her a global standing. Mellor received the KSADSA (Keats-Shelley Association Distinguished Scholar Award) in the year 199 (Mellor 28). Generally, Mellor has received many awards in her life because of her teaching and scholarly works.


Shelley Mary’s Frankenstein 1818 Text

Frankenstein was a novel of 1818 by Shelley Mary, which was initially published in London anonymously. Today the same person knows it as the revised edition published in 1831. One characteristic of this novel is that it is infused with elements of Gothic and Romantic movements together (Mellor 8). This big story is being described to have had great influence in the field of literature and culture hence spawning complete genre horror tales and movies. The original is believed to have been a classical work of science fiction by Mary. The literary work was deep rooted at its age by giving a cultural art that would help in the transcending period. It is undeniable that this book was the greatest influential works in the Britain’s Romantic period (Mellor 13).


There are reasons why the work is today used as an excellent tool in introducing college students to the complexity of romance in the fields of thought and art. This is the case within colleges and secondary schools, which focus much on science and Gothic fiction. It also gives good interpretations for women's literature, popular and firm culture (Mellor 37). In its approach to the teaching of literature, the book has two major parts. The first part consists of materials; this part brings a discussion of the main critical works and readings that can be recommended to the students together with a number of essential films. The second part contains a detailed approach on how teachers and instructors should present the classroom strategies in teaching (Mellor 59).


There have been speculations over the years concerning the reasons behind the creation of this story by Mary Shelley. One thing, though, is that Mary always maintained that she derived word Frankenstein from imaginations and dreams, which she would use as the name for her book. Although she testified on the originality of the work, the source and the significance of the book’s name has been argued for so long in history. Taking it literally, Stein means stones in German and then there is the word Franks. Another important thing is that the word is also associated with a number of places like the Frankenstein Castle where Mary Shelley is known to have seen while in boat and this was before she began writing the book (Mellor 101). Therefore, it is not clear about the originality of the work contrary to Shelley arguments.


Mellor’s Reasons for Selecting the 1818 Text

The 1818 text of Frankenstein is the original edition and the one, which is loved by great scholars and praised by many English such as Ann Mellor and Harold Bloom (Mellor 121). They have ended up recommending it to be the best as compared to the 1831 text that was produced upon editing by Shelley’s husband. Mellor argues that the text provides one with a sweeping and respectable prose filled with grotesque and imagery. There are themes that have been analysed keenly in this original masterpiece by Mary Shelley. The text also gives originality to the work and hence takes it to be the strongest bookwork from the Romantic era.

Another argument for this book is that it had well designed drawings and photographs that would facilitate the understanding by the students. The text also represents extensive artwork hence making it appealing and informative to the reader. Ann looks back to Shelley’s work as a great piece of work that was damaged by her husband’s review and editing. She brought out the much interest in her work and especially the 1818 edition of Frankenstein, which she says it serves as the biggest catalyst for studying literature output (Mellor 89). She further says that there was much need to think beyond Shelley's work and by so doing produce great works of our lives by moving away from the comprehensive nature of literature. She concludes that Shelly was such a great writer and not just the wife to Percy but also a great historical figure.


Role of Percy Shelley

Percy played a big role in editing of Mary’s original work. A keen scrutiny of the work shows that he edited much part of the Mary’s original work. However, it would also be concluded that most of the plot points of the book were from Mary, which are also the ones that gave the best decryptions in the book. Just like any other good and qualified editor, Percy helped in the clarification of the work rather than bringing out his own creation. What he did was the addition of about five thousand words to the original work but in a way that one would easily realise any alterations in the work (Mellor 119). Couples should be able to work together and help each other in any kind of job because they are a family. Good couples are often those ones who have developed a good rapport and know how to work as a team. Therefore, it would be a great idea to think outside the scenes of this book.

Recently, literary materials on feminism from the romantic era debunked and revealed that women had been highly excluded in the public work. Mellor argued this through focusing much on writings by great female writers such as Lucy Aikin, Joanna Baillie, Hannah Cowley, among others, in the demonstration that women are the ones who participated much in the public sphere and in the discussions of public opinions. Shelly appears to value her husband and this is the reason she entrusted him with the revision and editing of his work. On the other hand, Ann believes that women can do what men can do and far much better making her to stick much to the 1818 text of Frankenstein.



Different people have held different views on the 1818 and the 1831 Frankenstein texts. Many female scholars have proposed the importance of the 1818 text in teaching literature as opposed to the 1831 text published after being edited by the writer’s husband. The basic argument here is that there is much need to honour great women writers from the previous eras of human existence in comparison their counterpart males. There is also the global need to have all people attending schools, becoming senior lecturer and even being great people without letting only men achieve this. In that case, Ann Mellor portrays a game whereby she gives women a bigger share in the game whereby we have the women attending science classes, becoming lecturers and later having stable families (Mellor 79). Some of the key elements she addresses include the need to hold God’s word, have a stable family, help the ones who are not able, and be wise. In this game, we have a fruit-basket, which signifies the role of women's involvement in the public dimension. Ann Mellor also labels the contribution of Shelley to literature as a demonstration of virtue and ethics in human nature. Because everyone is equal, she believes that all the needs of people in each family must be catered for and political or cultural instability should be given a permanent solution and everyone should be generally happy.


Mellor, Anne K, Choosing a Text of Frankenstein to Teach. Lincolnshire, US: Vintage publishing, 2009


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