Questioning the Authorship of Frankenstein

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I’m a fan of Frankenstein. Not only has it had an enormous impact on popular culture (always fun), but it is quite the book. However, apparently some people question who actually authored the work.
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Something really bothers me about this question, though. As the article notes, “Knowing that the story’s content would be met with controversy — least of all written by a woman — the young Mrs. Shelley first published it anonymously.”

This fact – that a woman (and an 18-year-old at that) COULDN’T have written such an important and influential work – doesn’t strike me as any justifiable reason to say someone else MUST have written it. As Chronicle Review states, “an uneducated, teenaged girl could not have written the book but her husband — one of the greatest poets and prose stylists in the English language — could have.”

Smacks of blatant sexism and ageism to me. Tell me that it doesn’t match up with Shelley’s later work, and we’ve got a conversation. But that’s not the case. Give me a reason beyond, “She was an 18 year old woman.” Otherwise, I don’t put much value in your judgment.

August 20, 2014

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