Sunday, December 03, 2006


Well, it was a long and arduous task, but my battle with Mary Shelley's life-defining work has come to a close. It was quite possibly the most overwritten book I have ever had the misfortune to borrow, recorded onto nine impeccably-maintained cds. Had it been my burden to endure this monster in its written form never would I have gotten past the first page. Yet with the same fervor with which the titular character was espoused so did I perservere to pursue this hideous wretch of a literary endeavor to its acrid end. The redundancy with which I was met on every track of this wretch was infinitely intolerable and i met with this calamity repeatedly and over again. I met each repetition with sadness and despondency, but as it grew into anger time and again i found it quelled by the slightest intimation of a potential development, only to be delayed in discovering it by the repetitions of still more declarations of intent and lamentations on the infinite desolation and accursed soul of the speaker.
The author herself would have benefitted greatly from the acquisition of a tube of wite-out and the purchase of a thesaurus. Indeed, entire verbose and i'm sure laboriously created chapters could have been omitted to the benefit of the story and its listener. Months worth of story and thousands of fevered hours spent in illness and insanity on the part of the speaker could have been left on the table and the agony of the scientist and his creation would not have been overlooked. Pages of exclamations upon Elizabeth's cherished beauty and caricature-like flatness and simplicity of goodness could have been omitted--indeed, she needn't have spoken or been referred to at all--and the horror of her demise could have driven Victor to his fervent desire for revenge. The entire narrative could have been reduced to a four-page short story and the tale would not have gone unappreciated. But in the style of those authors paid by the word did Shelley produce her action-bereft, character-undeveloped, overstated, overdeclaimed, overdwelt-upon piece of fiction, and only the gentle touch of hollywood's scalpel could reclaim this harrowing tale from an eternity of obscurity and isolation.
Oh Mary. Your marriage to a self-absorbed, condescending, chauvanistic upper class twit did you no benefit. His tendency to wax lyrical on the gloom brought by the west wind and his insistence that poetry be viewed as a legitimate career must have caused great damage to your frail, insecure, feminine sensibilities. What began as a harrowing tale befitting fireside disclosure became a heap of meaningless platitudes coupled with redundancy and an increasing number of utterances of words such as those viewed here. Oh that you had edited! Oh that your tale were legible! Oh miserable wretch!

1 comment:

Ben said...

Well that was frustrating, your (justified) rant about how excessively wordy and overblown frankenstein is made me remember about Mary Shelley's mother, who was much cooler.

This is frustrating because I've just realised that this would have been a perfect figure to tie into my essay on Middlemarch.

I feel really stupid for not remembering that at the time.