Of Cabbages and Kings
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Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Frankenstein didn't want to create a female because then the monster could have children. Well, ahem. He's the creator, isn't he? He could have made the female and surreptitiously omitted the ovaries. Which also begs the question: did he make his monster with a fully operational reproductive tract? What on earth was he thinking when he did that?

Stephen King made that very point in his section on Frankenstein in Danse Macabre. How difficult would it be to make a sterile female for the monster? This is what we call a plot hole -- necessary to advance the plot (pissing off the monster) but it doesn't make much sense. Or perhaps the idea of sexual activity without the possibility of reproduction was anathema even to Mary Shelley despite her free-thinking upbringing.

12/8/2010 . Edited 12/8/2010 #811
AltearazCreator

What do you call the era from which it dates? Doesn't it fall somewhere between the Regency and the Victorian Era?

Georgian Era. Wikipedia for the win!

12/8/2010 #812
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Georgian Era. Wikipedia for the win!

Duh -- smack! Must've had a brain-fart this morning. I just know that there was this time period after the Regency, when George IV took the throne in his own right and then was succeeded by a childless brother, William. All those children George III had, and there was still a scramble to produce heirs after the death of Princess Charlotte, with only Victoria as the result.

12/8/2010 #813
Morthoron

The Madness of King George is a movie I highly recommend. Nigel Hawthorne and Ian Holm are excellent.

12/8/2010 . Edited 12/8/2010 #814
Virtuella

What do you call the era from which it dates?

Having been brought up in a country where we categorise our cultural eras without reference to monarchs, I would call it the transition from classicism to romanticism.

12/8/2010 #815
Virtuella

How difficult would it be to make a sterile female for the monster?

Actually, I think it would have been nigh impossible to make a fertile female, but then, the whole thing is pretty impossible once you start thinking about it from a biological point of view. Another thing, for example: the monster must have had a brain. This would necessarily have had to come from human person. Wouldn't that brain, if revived, still contain a lot of memories from its previous, um, owner?

12/8/2010 . Edited 12/8/2010 #816
Virtuella

Also, given that the monster is patched together from body parts of various people, it doesn't exactly have any "monster DNA" which it could pass on. Though I admit that Shelley couldn't have known about DNA. But she could have given some thought to how we inherit features from our parents.

12/8/2010 #817
militaryhistory

Mendel hadn't done his work with peas yet.

12/8/2010 #818
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Having been brought up in a country where we categorise our cultural eras without reference to monarchs, I would call it the transition from classicism to romanticism.

Oy, well, Ham was talking about Dr. Who traveling back to the Victorian era -- historical period as opposed to literary and artistic style. Even in the US, we'd have a hard time defining certain architectural styles without making references to British monarchs. We still speak of Tudor cottages, Queen Anne's, and that big old three-story Victorian.

12/8/2010 #819
Virtuella

Mendel hadn't done his work with peas yet.

Fair enough, but to me that was just another sign that she just didn't think it through. Also, how come Victor sits idly at home for weeks on end, then travels across England and Scotland meditating on his task and only once he's halfway finished does this "problem" occur to him? That's another instance of Shelley telling us he's so very clever, but showing him to be very dense.

12/8/2010 #820
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Another thing, for example: the monster must have had a brain. This would necessarily have had to come from human person. Wouldn't that brain, if revived, still contain a lot of memories from its previous, um, owner?

Maybe the brain suffered a hard-drive wipe from having the power shut off.

As for the whole issue of sexual function and reproduction, I'd rather not think about the details if it involved .. . the dead. :(

12/8/2010 #821
Virtuella

Oy, well, Ham was talking about Dr. Who traveling back to the Victorian era -- historical period as opposed to literary and artistic style. Even in the US, we'd have a hard time defining certain architectural styles without making references to British monarchs. We still speak of Tudor cottages, Queen Anne's, and that big old three-story Victorian.

Yes, I know. But "Victorian" is generally associated with a certain style, a certain mindset, even if this style does not coincide exactly witht he entire reign of Queen Victoria. And that style and mindset did not apply in 1818.

12/8/2010 #822
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

And that style and mindset did not apply in 1818.

Certainly not. I associate that era with what we call Neo-classicism. And some of the social mores were a bit racy by Victorian standards.

12/8/2010 #823
Virtuella

I associate that era with what we call Neo-classicism.

Classicism and romanticism overlap quite a bit, but I think the Shelleys were very decidedly in the latter box.

Thinking of eras, it always amazes me about Goethe, who was a leading figure in no less that three cultural eras.

12/8/2010 #824
Virtuella

Anyway, I've moved on to greener pastures and started on "Far From The Madding Crowd,"which is much more satisfactory. I'm only on page forty and have already come across much that has delighted me, for example this:

"There was a bright air and manner about her now, by which she seemed to imply that the desirability of her existence could not be questioned; and this rather saucy assumption failed in being offensive because a beholder felt it to be, upon the whole, true."

12/8/2010 #825
Morthoron

As for the whole issue of sexual function and reproduction, I'd rather not think about the details if it involved .. . the dead. :(

The stitches and protruding anodes may make for a great Frank tickler.

12/8/2010 #826
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

"There was a bright air and manner about her now, by which she seemed to imply that the desirability of her existence could not be questioned; and this rather saucy assumption failed in being offensive because a beholder felt it to be, upon the whole, true."

Twenty-first century translation: "The chick was high maintenance, but you knew the sex would be great."

12/8/2010 #827
AltearazCreator

You know what I just noticed regarding new life coming from the Frankenstein monster? The movie Van Helsing explained the consequences and the process in a better and more enjoyable way, by making a crossover with Dracula and using the monster as a way to make Dracula's children live. Especially since there was, as you say, no explanation given in the book. That settles it. Van Helsing topped Mary Shelley. *puts on hat and rides away*

12/8/2010 #828
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Anyway, I've moved on to greener pastures and started on "Far From The Madding Crowd,"which is much more satisfactory.

Yes -- those greener pastures have sheep and everything! And the era is definitely Victorian.

But does anyone else find Thomas Hardy as depressing as I do?

12/8/2010 #829
Hamfast Gamgee

Hmmmp, I am afraid that as a Schoolboy I was subjected to unusual and strange torture in that I was forced to study the Woodlanders a partuclarly dull and slow Thomas Hardy novel in which in 100 pages the most exciting that happened was that a farmer had a slug in his salad at a dinner! No wonder as a lad I preferred Tolkien. And I only got grade D in English Lit, so it couldn't have fascinated me that much.

12/8/2010 #830
StarSpray

But does anyone else find Thomas Hardy as depressing as I do?

I had to read The Mayor of Casterbridge as part of my AP English summer assignment two years ago. It wasn't depressing so much as shoot-me-now boring.

12/8/2010 #831
Morthoron

I would rather dig my right eye out with a rusted fork than ever read Thomas Hardy again.

12/8/2010 #832
Virtuella

How odd. I rather enjoy Hardy. He has such detailled and well-observed descriptions. And I thought The Mayor of Casterbridge was very intriguingly plotted, though the ending was a bit of a let-down. I'd have thought he'd either kill himself or someone else, not just die in his bed.

12/8/2010 #833
Just a Wili

I rather enjoy Hardy.

I loved Jude the Obscure.

12/9/2010 #834
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

I was forced to study the Woodlanders a partuclarly dull and slow Thomas Hardy novel in which in 100 pages the most exciting that happened was that a farmer had a slug in his salad at a dinner!

ROFL!!!!

But, you see, Hardy rhapsodized about the slow pace of country life and the joys of living close to the earth, etc. Just the sort of thing Stella Gibbon lampooned in Cold Comfort Farm. For me, an eloquent description of a dew drop glistening on a leaf or the early morning scent of cows walking down a muddy lane only goes so far.

12/9/2010 . Edited 12/9/2010 #835
Virtuella

For me, an eloquent description of a dew drop glistening on a leaf or the early morning scent of cows walking down a muddy lane only goes so far.

You're doing Hardy injustice, he's not as trivial as that. In Tess, for example, there is this scene where as field is harvested by a type of machine that's pulled by a horse. It harvests the wheat only on on side of the horse, because obviously, the horse needs space to walk. So they're working in a circle round the outside of the field, making the circle narrower and narrower as they go along. And all the animals that live in that field withdraw to the middle, clustering together there, but in the end even that last bit is harvested and the animals are all killed. That was a really impressive scene.

12/9/2010 . Edited 12/9/2010 #836
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

That's awful! I suppose it's a metaphor for certain characters in the book becoming overwhelmed by fate or something.

May I say, that's why I mow my lawn from inside to out --also so the deck will keep throwing the clipping toward the perimeter.

12/9/2010 #837
Virtuella

I think it's a symbol for traditional ways of live being threatened by the industrial revolution, but it can also be seen as reflecting Tess getting more and more encircled by her difficulties. However, it is also probably a plain real life observation.

12/9/2010 #838
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

However, it is also probably a plain real life observation.

Much is made, in these Naturalistic novels, of the unsentimental way our forbears looked at animal life. I suppose it was a low-tech form of pest control.

12/9/2010 #839
Morthoron

There is a harrowing scene in Watership Down regarding the effects of mechanical implements on rabbit warrens.

12/9/2010 #840
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