Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein subtitled ‘The Modern Prometheus’ is one of the most famous novels of the Gothic genre. Frankenstein was an offshoot of a ghost-story writing project proposed by Byron in 1816. Mary Shelley’s explanation of how she came to write this novel is used in the introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein: ‘I busied myself to think of a story… One which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror.’
Shelley’s decision to ‘awaken thrilling horror’ can be seen, from a narrative viewpoint, as a plot device – but a plot for a narrative actually intended to carry many thematic explorations into human life, thought and action. This classic novel is still relevant today because we still thrill at her creation of horror as well as share similar moral concerns with regard to the uses of science, for example, with regard to genetics, stem cell research and cloning as well as the use of nuclear power.
AQA B Literature LITB3: Texts and Genres (Gothic)
This novel can be chosen as a post-1800 gothic text in this unit.
What does the word ‘Gothic’ mean? Gothic writing is a style of writing that explores what is fearful and terrifying and evokes words such as fear, dread, loathing and terror. It is a type of horror story. Gothic also refers to a type of architecture...