Letter: Poignancy of 'Frankenstein'

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The Independent Online
Poignancy of 'Frankenstein'

Sir: Gavin Griffiths does not do justice to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (Books, 25 May).

He unaccountably refers to the book's "casualness" and says it contains "too many ideas", without even making clear what they are.

Frankenstein is about intellectual hubris, the fatal effects of extreme social and psychological deprivation, and also the perennial bio-philosophical debate about the origins of life and its consequences, then being fought out under the rubrics of materialism and vitalism.

Far from being casually written, the novel is so skilfully composed that it comfortably carries all these ideas, which do not prevent it from working as a successful suspense-and-horror story. Frankenstein also has the poignancy and ability to move of an adult Beauty and the Beast, albeit with an unhappy ending.

NICHOLAS JACOBS

London NW5

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