Search Results for: frankenstein

Alchemy, Ring Writing, Doppelgangers, and Arabian Nights: The Artistry and Meaning of Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’

I’ve just finished a hurried reading of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus, a book I haven’t read in too many years. In the hopes of encouraging others to pick it up again, I risk making observations about its structures and predominant symbolism which the two centuries of critical literature almost certainly have raised and, as likely as not, dismissed for valid reasons. I’m certain that serious readers of popular fiction will recognize several of the ideas below as the heart of Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Divergent (not to mention Twilight!). I ask your forgiveness in advance for whatever degree I have seen or ‘found’ only what I wanted to find, even allowing that perhaps having eyes to see such things is the only means of perceiving them.

[Read more…]

Was Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein an Alchemist? Introducing the ‘Potter as Pearl Harbor’ Thesis

The News from Summit Entertainment this week (H/T to James!) is that the Twilight film makers understand something of what made the Forks Saga the bonanza it has been for them. I’m pretty confident they’d call it “paranormal romance” and “love triangle” rather than “literary alchemy” or “soul triptych” but those of you who have listened to my talks on Harry Potter and Twilight that I gave last weekend at the Eighth Day Institute will recognize the features. From the MTV article, ‘Summit Entertainment To Bring Frankenstein to Life:

Summit Entertainment’s already worked box office magic with vampires and werewolves, but can they do the same for Frankenstein (the mad scientist, not the monster)? According to Deadline, the studio behind “The Twilight Saga” has acquired the screen rights to the upcoming YA novel “This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein” by Kenneth Oppel, which hits bookstores August 23.

The novel is a prequel of sorts to Mary Shelley’s classic “Frankenstein.” The plot centers around young Victor Frankenstein and his quest to save sick twin brother Konrad. He seeks help from a mysterious alchemist, who sends Victor and his friend Elizabeth on a dangerous journey to find the three ingredients needed to create a serum called the Elixir of Life that will heal Konrad. Like any YA novel worth its salt, the inevitable love triangle ensues.

Checking out the Amazon page Book Description, we learn the trio’s hero journey has three stages:

[Read more…]

Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Alchemy Chapters

I’m writing today  — scroll up! — about the Summit Entertainment plans to film the Frankenstein pre-quel This Dark Endeavor. I wanted, though, to put up a few chapters from the original Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley classic before this to give you a chance to read the chapters in which Dr. Frankenstein’s modern genius, of which the book is largely a critique, is revealed as the worst of alchemy and chemistry combined.

Without further ado, then, Shelley’s Frankenstein, the opening alchemy chapters.

Chapter 2

I feel exquisite pleasure in dwelling on the recollections of childhood, before misfortune had tainted my mind and changed its bright visions of extensive usefulness into gloomy and narrow reflections upon self. Besides, in drawing the picture of my early days, I also record those events which led, by insensible steps, to my after tale of misery, for when I would account to myself for the birth of that passion which afterwards ruled my destiny I find it arise, like a mountain river, from ignoble and almost forgotten sources; but, swelling as it proceeded, it became the torrent which, in its course, has swept away all my hopes and joys. Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate; I desire, therefore, in this narration, to state those facts which led to my predilection for that science.

[Read more…]

Hogwarts Happy Halloween Highlights

The Hallowe'en at Hogwarts crossword | Wizarding WorldHappy Halloween! While we can’t boast giant-sized Hagrid jack-o-lanterns or actual ghosts sailing through the Great Hall as we enjoy a goblet of pumpkin juice, we can highlight a few seasonal activities for Hogwarts fans. We can also celebrate the ways in which the Wizarding World has affected the celebration of Halloween. At my Muggle school’s delightful Spooktacular celebration this past week, I counted numerous Harrys, Hermiones, and other Hogwarts students among our visitors. They were all delighted when I immediately recognized them and complimented them (although I did tease the Slytherins just a bit). A few years ago, my entire department had a Hogwarts theme. As I head out to my community’s very popular annual family-friendly celebration tomorrow evening, I expect to see numerous characters and decorations that would not be there had J.K. Rowling never created a lonely boy wizard with a distinctive scar. [Read more…]

A Ravenclaw’s Round-Up: Louise’s Nearly-Annual Report from the Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Academic Conference

As I do almost every year (save my college reunion years that end in 8 and 3:  it’s usually the same weekend! ), I attended and presented at the Annual (in this case, 11th) Harry Potter Academic Conference. Though I attended online the last two years (my talks can be seen here and here), this was my first time back on the beautiful campus since 2019, given that the College was responsible enough to move the conference online for the worst of the COVID pandemic.

I’m happy to report that the conference is still going strong, despite the triple threats of COVID, the demise of the fan festival the helped launch the conference, and the concerns of many scholars, including myself, whose concerns about J.K. Rowling’s public anti-transgender rhetoric have caused them to rethink the wisdom of promoting her writing. But, conference founders and organizers Drs. Patrick McCauley and Karen Wendling report that the Colllege’s new president is enthusiastic about the conference and wants it not only to continue, but to expand, so I am optimistic that the HPAC is here to stay.

Onto this year’s highlights after the jump.

[Read more…]