What’s the fuss over Frankenstein?

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200 years ago, Mary Shelley published Frankenstein, and there are celebrations of the publication going on worldwide (such as Frankenreads which happen on Halloween). Since it’s publication, Frankenstein has meant a lot of different things to different people, from it’s editions in literature to incarnations in film, but what does Frankenstein mean to those people? And why should we be celebrating it at all? In light of this anniversary, we spoke to students about the novel and asked them why they thought we should remember Mary Shelley’s classic novel…

‘Yes, it’s been 200 years since, but Mary Shelley was a girl, and writer, ahead of her time. Not only did the success of her novel do its part in paving the way for women in literature, but by writing Frankenstein, Mary Shelley founded the genre of science fiction. We have this novel to thank for all the literature, film, and television it has inspired throughout the past two centuries. Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and DC – all of these multi-million franchises owe their fame and fortune to a bored nineteen-year-old on a stormy night.’

– Ciara Hay

‘Frankenstein is one of my favourite books as a fan of the Gothic! It is part of such a rich literary history that it would be such a shame not to celebrate today and everyday’

– Georgia Service

‘To me, Frankenstein was one of the first Gothic novels I read, and most importantly the first Gothic novel I’d read that had been written by a woman.
Mary Shelley brought to light questions about monstrosity and where monsters reside in society. Her argument that society nurtures the monsters in its midst, I think, is still as prevalent today as it was 200 years ago. She created a timeless gothic horror story and introduced a new concept of ‘what if science went wrong?’ into fiction writing, and despite some of the tragedies she faced in her own life, she put them to incredible use in her work.’

– Ruth Walbank

‘Frankenstein is a novel that was, in many ways, beyond its time; Shelley’s horror novel has persisted throughout the generations in ways that most novels of the time have not. The tale of a monster and a creator with mixed morality, coupled with an unreliable and worrisome narrative still sends chills down the spines of readers today. It was all born from the mind of a talented 17- year-old writer – a writer who deserves to be remembered for years to come.’

– Benjamin O’Rourke

‘Mary Shelley’s novel is the queen of Gothic stories, its tropes and imagery are still inspiring to literature, cinema, and pop culture today. It’s time to celebrate it in all its Gothic glory’

– Ollie Jane

‘Frankenstein calls into question human perception of the ‘monster’ and ‘monstrous’, exploring themes of rejection and isolation; suggesting that one learns “in the absence of love, how to hate”. Themes which are still entirely relevant in today’s climate.
Also, the story of how it was written: telling ghost stories with Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, near penniless and somewhat intoxicated, is fantastic.

Frankenstein is a novel that transcends the limitations of time. As long as there are humans around who are selfish, power-hungry, arrogant, vain, or ignorant, Frankenstein will always be relevant. Thus, should always be celebrated’

– Lara Orris

‘Frankenstein has a multi-faceted nature and its various contexts deeply resonated with me. Shelley was a writer aged of her time, and her famous text will always endure regarding its relevance. We should never not question the world we live in’

– Hannah Sothcott

Ruth-Anne Walbank

My name is Ruth, and I'm the Editor of SCAN for 2019-20. I have been the Arts and Culture Editor in 2018-19, and the Deputy Arts and Culture Editor before that. I've written over 80 articles for SCAN across a variety of sections.
If you have any questions about the newspaper, feel free to message me!

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