Letter: Not as scary as the real thing

My fangs are itching for the new glow-in-the-dark horror stamps, but I have my doubts about the Post Office's claim to have by-passed the movies and gone back to the authors ("Dracula puts a bloody stamp...", 11 May). The tramp-like Frankenstein's monster looks almost cuddly beside Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's hideous cadaver. .

Maybe the stamps will stimulate more reading of the originals, as Tina Rath of London's Dracula Society hopes. But readers are already thicker on the ground than she thinks. At least 10 paperback editions of Frankenstein are in print and classic horror texts are being taken seriously at university level as never before.

Incidentally, the bicentenary being commemorated is not of Frankenstein's publication but of Mary Shelley's birth (though, intriguingly, Frankenstein can be shown by internal evidence to be telling his tale during 30 August 1797 while Shelley was being born). By the end of 1997, four of her other novels - Matilda, Valperga, The Last Man and Lodore - should all be in paperback.

Nora Crook

Anglia Polytechnic University, Cambridge

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