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Title: Making monstrous : Frankenstein, criticism, theory
Author: Botting, David Charles.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3471 6750
Awarding Body: University of Wales, College of Cardiff,
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 1989
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This thesis examines the relations between Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, its criticism and recent literary theory. Frankenstein, though it has produced a powerfully simple myth, is a novel whose complexities cannot be reduced to the central duality it represents. Indeed, the unstable opposition of creator and monster produces tensions that fracture the possibility of a unified narrative. Criticism, however, attempts to resolve the conflicts and differences disclosed by the text and identify a single meaning by assuming a unified source, usually in the mind of the author. The many entangled biographical and literary-historical traces call into question a simple, or even Romantic, notion of authorial origins: such overdetermination delivers text and author to a multiplicity of different significances. An analysis of critical readings finds the double relationship represented by Frankenstein duplicated by criticism. However, the recognition of critical values in the mirror of the text does not ensure unity. On the contrary, in the gap between text and critical position, a range of issues arise: issues of language, subjectivity and power are disclosed, for example, in the applications of psychoanalysis to literature, where tensions between psychobiography, text and the critical recognition of meaning emerge. Following the lines of interpretation opened up by Freud and recent poststructuralist rereadings of Freudian texts, the internal relationships and tensions of Frankenstein and its criticism, and between text and criticism, are theorised. Here, Frankenstein's and criticism's pursuit of authority encounters the monstrous resistances of difference, desire and power. The subsequent examination of monstrosity in Frankenstein and writings about the French Revolution finds language to be a threat to the establishment of political authority. The final study, of Frankenstein's representations of science, discloses humanism's investments in privileging art over science, interests that are presupposed in the frames of criticism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein