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John Lauritsen debunks the myth that Frankenstein was written by a teenaged girl, Mary Godwin (later Mary Shelley), who took part in a ghost-story contest in Geneva, had a nightmare, and was inspired to write a story which would frighten my reader as I myself had been frightened that night! Lauritsen examines the Frankenstein text, along with works that Mary Shelley wrote entirely on her own, to demonstrate that she was a weak and sentimental writer, incapable of writing Frankenstein. He takes a long, hard look at the extra-textual evidence that has been used to argue for her authorship, and shows that none of it stands up to scrutiny. In reality, Frankenstein is not just a scary story, but a work of profound and radical ideas, written in poetically powerful prose by one of the greatest poets in the English language, Percy Bysshe Shelley. For personal reasons he chose to conceal his authorship. This book has three theses: 1. Frankenstein is a great work, which has consistently been underrated and misinterpreted. 2. The real author of Frankenstein is Percy Bysshe Shelley, not his second wife, Mary. 3. Male love is a central theme of rankenstein. According to Lauritsen, male love, as romantic male friendship, is a central theme of Frankenstein. Sometimes the expressions of male love are remarkably direct, but at other times they are expressed in coded language or references known only to the initiated . He uses his skills as a gay historian to decode and interpret these references.
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