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Conceding defeat

As I noted on Facebook the other day, one must embark with trepidation on any book whose epigram quotes its own author. I shit you not.


Hoo, boy. I have slogged through some self-important piles of hooey in my time, but I just can't stomach any more of this one. I got about a third of the way through, and am more than satisfied that, sure, dude, you've demonstrated that Percy could have written Frankenstein. Too bad we didn't actually need your contribution for that. What you have failed to accomplish is your own stated goal of proving that only Percy could have written it. And... well, not even close.

Sorry, but endless repetitions of "how could any sensible person POSSIBLY interpret these facts any way other than the way I see them?" don't actually count as proof. Thank you for playing.

I thought I might actually be entertained by the Illuminati angle, but, erm, not so much. I'm mildly entertained by how he claims to hold Mary in the highest regard for her commitment to playing along with Percy's hoax to the end of her days, long after his death. (Pretty impressive for someone who, if one follows the implications to their logical conclusion, must have just tagged along to Europe so they could have lots of sex, since surely they couldn't possibly have talked enough about all these ideas or formative experiences of Percy's for her to put them in a novel.)

I am rather entertained that someone who currently teaches high school English apparently has missed the fact that teenage writers tend to be the first to ignore the "write what you know" rule. In my experience, they're almost invariably more likely to write everything BUT what they know. I'd be vastly more surprised if a smart, creative girl running off with a widely-read and opinionated older guy didn't write about the stuff he'd been yammering about instead of her own relatively sheltered experience.

Ah, well. I've done my due diligence, and it can now wend its way home to Springfield via Gail Borden. (Inter-library loan, how I love thee!) From the looks of things, I'm the first person to read even this much of this copy.

Now I shall move on to the Robinson reconstruction of Mary's draft manuscript prior to Percy's editorial hand. (I suppose I should leaf through the de Hart before I turn it in to see if he addresses the handwriting issue at all; he refers to Robinson a lot, with incredulity that the guy didn't reach the same conclusions he has, so I am still curious how if/how he deals with the most obvious question arising from examination of actual handwritten pages. Edit: Ah. Apparently Mary, as "amanuensis," didn't merely clean up his crappy handwriting for poetry later on, but took dictation for a whole novel. Well, then.) That promises to be WAY more fun.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 10th, 2014 07:38 am (UTC)
Wow, this guy sounds . . . bitter and with an axe to grind? I myself considered teaching high school as an alternative to adjuncting, though now that's no longer a worry, but I'm picturing him as this guy who's convinced his brilliance is unrecognized because of political correctness and etc.

I have sometimes taken great pleasure in the classroom in referring to the author we are studying as "Shelley" and her husband as "Percy" . . . and I suspect nowadays she is better known, and certainly better read. (I do love his work, so this is not a judgment, just an observation . . . )
Aug. 10th, 2014 10:24 pm (UTC)
picturing him as this guy who's convinced his brilliance is unrecognized because of political correctness and etc.

This is a very accurate description of the picture he paints himself. It's pretty amazing -- he goes on for about a paragraph and a half in the introduction about how an agenda can blind us to the facts (meaning, of course, the feminist agenda). And I'm like, gee, you don't say?
Aug. 10th, 2014 05:54 pm (UTC)
Well, if the author of Frankenstein Unbound is going to be a conspiracy theorist, better he should put all his energy into something relatively harmless (versus, to use an obvious example, declaring Obama's birth certificate to be an "obvious" forgery).

His thesis smells mightily of "I have reached a conclusion nobody else has because I'm smarter than all of you!" which often seems to me to be the basis of conspiracy theorizing.
Aug. 10th, 2014 10:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's absolutely what it is. He all but says so in so many words at least every other paragraph. *snerk*
Aug. 11th, 2014 07:54 am (UTC)
My first impulse was to assume that the book was self-published, but I checked the Amazon page again, then looked up the the publisher: Feral House. I note without comment that the subject categories listed on the home page are Realpolitik, Kulture [sic], Music, Occult, Drugs, Crime, Sex, Death.

The book covers on the home page strongly suggest to me that those subjects can be condensed to "Conspiracy theories, no matter how obscure or tiresome". There's even an expose of Walter Keane, the man who "invented" Big-Eyed Waifs art. (Which arguably is a major threat to civilization, but not as dangerous as reality TV shows.)
Aug. 12th, 2014 09:57 am (UTC)
*snerk* All of which underscores the more mean-spirited and flippant of my conclusions (which I will not voice with my dramaturg hat on), to wit: He doesn't seem to understand how editing works, and his own book is evidence that he's never really experienced it.
Aug. 11th, 2014 01:39 pm (UTC)
I read somewhere years ago that the Shelleys and friend(s) [Byron?] used to sit around at night and try to scare each other with creepy stories, and that Mary was the past maestra at scaring the poor boys.

Sounds like this author substantiates the idea that 90% of conspiracy theories are bunk...
Aug. 12th, 2014 10:03 am (UTC)
That's the more-or-less-accurate disseminated-through-the-culture summary of Mary's own account of the novel's genesis, in her foreword to the 1831 revised edition. It was the summer of 1816, when they were all staying at Byron's villa in Geneva and the unseasonable weather (caused by the eruption of Mt. Tambora) kept them indoors.

The gist of the facts are well supported by scholarship, which I guess is why this dude feels justified in painting himself as some sort of iconoclastic hero for challenging it. IDEK.
(no subject) - rnatwirede - Jan. 4th, 2015 03:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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