He Lives!

Art by Bernie Wrightson

Remember when Mary Shelley wrote one of the most well known monster tales of all time?

I sure don’t because that was 1818. But that being said, Mary Shelley created a man no one would ever forget.

Classic monster literature takes on several themes, some of which cross over into other. Most of the classic literature, like Frankenstein, Dracula, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…they all seem to carry the weight of these themes.

The biggest one is enlightenment and science. Since these works were written during the Age of Enlightenment, pretty much moving away from the influence of faith to the influence of science, the emphasis on science and how it impacted those who practiced was reflected in literature. Each of the main three works mentioned earlier each show signs of science and enlightenment.

The other themes shown in these types of works are isolation, loneliness, and duality. Most of the characters embody the feeling of being isolated, being lonely, being helpless. Duality is mainly mirrored through Dr. Jekyll when turning into Mr. Hyde and in the idea of vampires, resting during the day and running amok and causing destruction when the night comes.

Do you have a favorite monster or work of monster literature?

2 thoughts on “He Lives!

  1. hjpauthor April 16, 2018 / 6:40 pm

    Sir Francis Varney of Varney the Vampyre. The story careens all over the place at times, but it’s great fun. Unfortunately, Varney is often overlooked, which is a shame. Stoker borrowed quite a bit from it and gets all the glory. Varney could be as stone-cold a villain as the count, but he could also be incredibly snarky and droll. Sympathetic, too.

  2. janetbettag April 16, 2018 / 7:18 pm

    A friend of mine, Shannon Yarbrough, wrote a wonderful mash-up titled “Dickinstein, Emily Dickinson – Mad Scientist.” The book is based on the premise that the poet observed a galvanism experiment in a biology class. Her dearest friend, Benjamin Newton, gave her a copy of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” which further fueled her curiosity about how dead creatures might be brought back to life. She builds a “second life” apparatus” and experiments with restoring life to small dead creatures she finds in her garden. When Newton, her beloved confidante, dies suddenly and unexpectedly, she embarks on a mission to bring him back. Thus begins the battle between science and spirituality that is likely to change her life forever.

    If you can get your hands on a copy, I highly recommend reading “Dickinstein.” It was published in 2013 (or thereabouts) by Rocking Horse Press in St. Louis.

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