We’re reading gothic novels for my next Jane Austen meeting. I picked Frankenstein – I was hoping it would be easier to read that The Mysteries of Udolpho. At least I managed to read Frankenstein. Although, given that Austen died in 1817 and this was published in 1818 there is no chance she read it.
I struggled with it, but I did manage to finish it. I can appreciate how ground breaking it was (it is one of the first science fiction novels) and the story behind its composition (written while on holiday in Italy with Shelley and Byron), but still I had to force myself to read it. Check out Wikipedia for more information.
The story was full of violence, blood, gore and mayhem, but it is told retrospectively in a series of letters, which lessons the dramatic effect. The language is very 19th Century, for example
You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.
But this was a luxury of sensation that could not endure; I became fatigued with excess of bodily exertion and sank on the damp grass in the sick impotence of despair.
The latter from the monster who has only just learned to talk.
I’m glad that I read this, but I won’t be reading it again!