Saturday, July 11, 2015

Elizabeth Freeman, Time Bends: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories

“The Monster is, significantly I think, given no name. He is referred to variously as fiend, daemon and monster; though from the time of the book’s appearance it has been a common error to call the Monster ‘Frankenstein.’ This is not really a surprising error, since the relationship of identity and conflict between the Monster and Frankenstein tends to show that the creature is a projection of his creator. The two are complementary yet antithetical figures; for the rational faculty which Frankenstein has lost can be found in the Monster, who is a symbol of the intellect. The Monster is also shown as the perpetrator of evil motivated by revenge for Frankenstein’s neglect of him. And I suggest his conflict with Frankenstein represents the forces which, by the beginning of the nineteenth century, had started to pit reason against imagination, instinct, faith. Mary Shelley equated those rational forces with evil.”   --Muriel Spark, “’Frankenstein’ and ‘The Last Man’” (1951), The Informed Air (New York: New Directions, 2014), 146-147.

“Frankenstein’s monster is monstrous because he lets history too far in, going so far as to embody it instead of merely feeling it…. He certainly emblematizes the passionate attachments to archival materials that were increasingly barred from historicist methodology as the nineteenth century progressed. But he also figures history’s ability to effect shifts in bodily constitution in ways that were increasingly demonized, problematized, or disavowed.”  -- (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010), 104.