Chapter: English Literature During The Romantic Period
One important thing we need to note about Frankenstein at the outset is that there are two editions of it that actually vary wildly in different parts: the 1818 original, and the 1831 revision. Despite the protests of many scholars, the 1831 version is generally more common. That said, the good people at Norton favor the 1818 version, so that's what I'll mostly be riffing on.
The 1831 edition, coming after a decade of tragedy in Mary's life, reads as far more conservative. References to new scientific ideas of the time are deleted, and the story's characters are shown as merely being pawns to the whims of fate. For example, in the 1818 edition, Victor actively chooses to carry on with his experiments, despite being given opportunities to stop. In the 1831 edition, he has no choice; fate has set him on a particular path and he has to walk it.
In any event, some changes are just changes, without any particular philosophical reasoning. This strip demonstrates one such change, in which Elizabeth - Victor's cousin in the 1818 text - is transformed into a half-German orphan from Milan that Victor's mother takes in out of pity. I'm going to assume Mary Shelley changed Elizabeth's background for the same reasons I joke about in the comic: Victor being set up to marry his cousin is super gross. Not unusual at the time, but super gross.
Author: Mary Shelley •
Year: 1818 •
Lit Brick is a comic started by Jodie Troutman in an effort to read the entire Norton Anthology of English Literature. Having eventually succeeded in that goal, it now features comics about all manner of random literature. For more of Jodie's work, visit troutcave.net!