The Man Who Loved Frankenstein
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Published in: November-December 2007 issue.


FrankesteinThe Man Who Wrote Frankenstein
by John Lauritsen
Pagan Press. 232 pages, $16.95


BACK IN THE EARLY 1980’s, when I was an English literature grad student, Frankenstein was something of a controversial work. Many thumbed their nose at Mary Shelley’s popular gothic novel as inferior to the genius of her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Others argued that Frankenstein was a feminist take on the male envy of female procreation. Despite how trapped I was by the various ideologies of the academy, I was also claiming my gay identity for the first time, and I began to see that I could think for myself, if only a little. I started to feel that Mary Shelley’s epic possessed a better—and by far a gayer—grasp on the supernatural than that of her “superiors.” I was fascinated by the idea of procreating a “person” of the same sex as oneself, and also by the sustained eloquence of the Creature rejected by his father, not to mention the suffering of Dr. Victor Frankenstein himself, whose fear of retribution by the spurned Monster-Daemon-Creature mirrored a dimly felt agony I quietly suffered as my budding gay personhood was being internally attacked by resilient messages of hate (what I later learned to identify as “toxic shame” and “internalized homophobia”).

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