Why Gothic?

In the summer of 2023 I was fishing around for some substantive research project to sink myself into. I knew I wanted to write about myself but not wholly about myself. I wanted to intermingle some sort of research I could use as a lens for contemplating my own aging, mortality, existence, etc. 

I eventually arrived at Frankenstein.

Frankenstein is, among other things, all about life and death and the meaning of existence and the body as an object. I would, I decided, do a deep dive into Frankenstein (the book, the creature, the movies and other spin-offs and variations) and use that as a springboard for some more personal reflections. 

On July 31st my back collapsed (I ultimately discovered I have a bulging L1 disc) and that sealed my commitment to writing about Frankenstein.* I read the book, read bios of Mary Shelley, her mother, and watched many, many Frankenstein movies.

As I got deeper into the project I realized I wanted more context (which is my predictable response to most things in life). What works would Mary Shelley be familiar with when she wrote Frankenstein? How unique was her work? Was Frankenstein sui generis or just another drop in a sea of genre work? And so, my research expanded into the Gothic.

Ultimately this is still a research project about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the creature (and reflections about my own existence). The final result (if, indeed, there is ever a final result) will most likely be a self-published ebook. The blog will be notes and sketches taken along the way as I sort through the literary, artistic, philosophical, and biographical underpinnings of Mary Shelley’s world, and then follow the development of the creature over the next two centuries.

If you want to follow along you can subscribe (in the right-hand column there is a “subscribe to blog via email” box) or follow on your favorite RSS. I’ll also be re-posting on Tumblr (which is the extent of my social media presence these days).

*I’m better now, though very minor issues continue to linger. For example, I am meeting with a physical therapist on Monday to discuss ways of strengthening my back and my core, and improving my standing and sitting posture. I started yoga last spring and loved it, but I think some of the positions may have been exacerbating the issue.

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