Post blog entry #6: Search the MLA Bibliography and locate three essays, book chapters, or monographs (single-author books) that you might use as the basis for your mid-term essay. What are their respective projects? What about each particularly interests you? Which are you most likely to choose and why?
I chose to examine Frankenstein because I’ve had the most experience with this novel out of the books we’ve read so far and also because there are a multitude of topics of criticism that can be applied to it. Because this can go in so many directions, I am still open to any mode of criticism, although I do have a particular interest in the feminist aspect. I found my search of the MLA bibliography to be challenging especially due to the ten-year constraint, but also because I want to find articles that address Frankenstein specifically and exclusively (you can count on me to get confused as soon as other novels are discussed at length within the same article). But I guess the challenge is what makes for the best midterm papers, right?
The first source I came across was “The Monster in a Dark Room: Frankenstein, Feminism, and Philosophy”, a journal article by Nancy Yousef. Unfortunately, it was published in 2004, but I’ve decided to include this anyway and hope for the best because its analysis of the creation and development of the Monster is fascinating to me. Yousef examines the monster’s unconventional mental development through a feminist lens, paying particular attention to Shelley’s philosophical research in an overly masculine setting. She then explores the ways in which Shelley incorporates the ideas of Locke and Rousseau into the monster’s intellectual evolution and the ways in which Shelley exposes restrictions of their work.
The second journal article I found is entitled “Frankenstein Without Electricity: Contextualizing Shelley’s Novel” by cultural historian Ulf Houe. Houe examines the prevailing notions of other historians of the inherent presence of electricity in Frankenstein during the creation of the Monster, arguing that the idea stems not from the novel itself but from a later film adaptation from the novel. He then goes on to analyze the ways in which Shelley’s Monster has evolved in modern culture, becoming its own entity separate from the novel. I find this article eye-opening; I too was convinced before reading the novel that Victor was going to flip a massive switch which would shock his Monster to life, which made me wonder how else the rose-colored 21-st century glasses were influencing my interpretations of Frankenstein.
Finally, “Monstrous Ingratitude: Hospitality in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein”, by Peter Melville, explores the relationship between hospitality and hostility, arguing that it plays a key role in the novel by comparing the Monster’s reception by Victor upon his creation to the treatment of the Monster in the De Lacey’s home. At the moment I’m unsure how to categorize this article in terms of a branch of criticism, but I still find its thematic argument compelling.