Reviewed by Glenn Fosbraey, Editor-in-Chief
Frankenstein Galvanised – Red Rattle Books
To say that Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus (to give it its full title) has aged well as a novel is as understated as saying that Sherlock Holmes was pretty observant. Even though reading and re-reading Frankenstein is one of those joys in life that never seems to diminish over time, Frankenstein Galvanised , with its starkly modern layout, omission of distracting footnotes, and the inclusion of page breaks between chapters (which allows one to catch breath before moving on with the story) still manages to offer a new reading experience. Taking the novel itself out of the equation, …Galvanised is worth owning for the essays alone, which incorporate criticism ranging from the Gothic genre, to medicine in the Georgian period, through to Shelley’s writing techniques and decision to tell the story from the pen of the much-overlooked narrator Robert Walton. And all via Howard Jackson’s ‘The Finishing Touch’, which compares Shelley’s re-write of Frankenstein to the re-recorded version of the Elvis Presley song ‘Love Letters’: ‘but what made [Elvis’]fifties music superior and more appealing was his faith in his intuition’/ ‘[Shelley]was only 18 years old when she began writing Frankenstein… it is an original effort from a headstrong and independent minded young woman. We admire exceptional originality.’ The essays have a relaxed, readable, yet always informative style that is so sorely missing in many essays about classic literature. And whilst this collection may not follow the dry, sleep-inducing formula favoured by so many literary critics, the level of research and critical engagement is such that the student and the academic would find themselves with plenty material to get their teeth into, and many of the essays promote healthy debate, be it in agreement or disagreement with the arguments presented.