Yesterday, I watched BBC4's FRANKENSTEIN: BIRTH OF A MONSTER
It was a well-shot part dramatisation of the life of Mary Shelley and the events in her life that drove her to create her internationally famous monster.
I was rather saddened by Mary Shelley's life.
From a fiercely intelligent, free-thinking young girl who had been so very mature for her age, she turned into a worn-out, sad, disillusioned woman who was never really able to live an independent life and enjoy the fruits of her remarkable writing talent. Her story is the tale of a world in which women were not in control of their bodies - and apart from certain infertility or celibacy, with the lack of knowledge about contraception, the enjoyment of sexual pleasure was inevitably followed by a pregnancy. It was bloody horrendous.
Mary Shelley's life was plagued by those successive pregnancies, her children took her freedom away - she was entirely aware of it but felt unable to act upon it - even though they all but one died extremely young, adding to her woes, breaking her down with sorrow and illness.
The story of Frankenstein is well-known; it has been analysed and adapted, told and retold numerous times.
Personally, I particularly enjoyed Kenneth Brannagh's most reviled 1994 epic film version; more recently, I read - and can only warmly recommend - Peter Ackroyd's "The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein", a fabulous, fascinating re-telling of the story; this is a Gothic drama in which Doctor Victor Frankenstein is no longer a fictional character but a "real" person, a friend of Percy Byshe Shelley, Lord Byron and Mary Woolstonecraft - later to become Mary Shelley. In the book, Frankenstein is indeed a monster, but is he really the kind of monster we think he is? Maybe he is even more human than Mary Shelley had made him to be.
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