Frankenstein: A Cultural History Book Review


Frankenstein: A Cultural History
By Susan Tyler Hitchcock
Published by W.W. Norton & Company, 2007. 392 pages. Hardcover.

I have been a huge fan of the movie Frankenstein (1931), as well as the creature in all it’s appearances that it’s made over the years. So when I heard about this book, I knew I would have to add it to my collection, and started to read it the day in came in the mail. I have read quite a bit about the original story, the making of the film(s) and thought I knew quite a bit. But Hitchcock told me many things that I still did not know.

By reading this book you’ll learn such information like where the introduction of the hunchback assistant was added. Or the whole concept of the damaged and/or criminal brain being used. These were not creations of the original novel that many of us might have thought. The book travels through time, starting with a history lesson on the creator of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley. We then learn of the famous weekend where the birth of the story happened.

But the book isn’t just about the novel or the movies. It also goes into detail about the influences of the subject matter, moral implications of the characters actions compared to society, and the constant discussion of the advancement of science. I found this book to be quite entertaining, but more so very informative about a subject that breaks free of it’s presumption of just being a silly story about a monster.

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