Frankenstein Essay Feminism
I will also consider a third highly noted discussion of Mary Shelley in Mary Jacobus's essay, "Is there a woman in this text? a vague enough phenomenon, doubtless the result mainly of social conditioning, but an outlook sufficiently distinct to be recognizable through the centuries" (pp. Spacks's subject, then, is "the female imagination"; her goal, "to find the themes that have absorbed female minds during the past three centuries as recorded in literature written in English." Gilbert and Gubar's work assumes some of the formulations of two earlier, pioneering studies in feminist theory: Patricia Meyer Spacks's 1975 The Female Imagination While suggesting that "it is by no means true that books by women necessarily differ vividly from books by men," Spacks remarks that "there appears to be something that we might call a woman's point of view . Surely the mind has a sex, minds learn their sex -- and it is no derogation of the female variety to say so.The most salient of these failings has been viewing Mary Shelley's works through a single prism and without reliance on a factually evidenced context of her own works and era.Inherent in these deficiencies is the ongoing literary problem of the construction of an authoritative foundation of factual research as the operative rationale for all texts.Ellen Moers begins her discussion by indicating that she will explore the works of "the major women writers, writers we read and shall always read whether interested or not in the fact that they happened to be women. She argues that "nothing so sets her apart from the generality of writers of her own time, and before, and for long afterward, [as] her early and chaotic experience, at the very time she became an author, with motherhood. That Mary Shelley was pregnant for most of her years with Shelley is true.
Gilbert and Susan Gubar's 1979 The Madwoman in the Attic and Mary Poovey's 1984 The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer.I will not quibble with the assertion that the Shelley babies died "soon after they were born." The first child died within two weeks; the second, at the age of eighteen months; the third, at the age of three.But during that famous summer at Lake Geneva when Mary Shelley began her masterpiece, though she had suffered that first loss, she had not only the company of Shelley, Byron, and Claire Clairmont but also the Shelleys' beloved son William, then six months old and thriving.To consider the relationship between literary theory and editorial theory in terms of the connection between feminist theory and the editing of Mary Shelley broaches, at best, an incipient topic.Outside of relatively recent essays and isolated examples of applied theory in editions of women's work, literary theory has had to date remarkably little influence on editorial theory, particularly regarding female authors.As a consequence, Mary Shelley for the most part has been reduced to an author with a single book and a single theme, her particular, complex voice located outside of the larger literary discourse of our civilization.The thesis of such feminist critics seems to emanate from an insistence that gender as a category is more important than any biographical or individual distinctions.From the present predicament of non-gender-specific editorial principles, exceedingly gender-specific feminist theories, and with a steady focus on "the thing itself" -- Mary Shelley's letters, journals, fiction, and editorial work -- I will hazard to piece together some principles regarding editorial theory and feminist perspectives.The diverse parts I will discuss are (1) feminist theory, (2) general editorial theory, (3) feminist editorial theory, (4) Mary Shelley as a case study, (5) the editor as shaper/creator or "an agenda re: editing gender." I hope separate elements come together more successfully here than they did in Victor Frankenstein's more overreaching bricolage. Classical feminism was conceived of as an end of false barriers and boundaries; as the end of segregationist fictions and restraints; as the end of the Great Multiple Lie." that reduced all women's thought to the single perspective and theme of writing, thinking, and seeing solely as a function of being a woman.Consequently these critics posit a single theory that places all women writers in response and opposition to an assumed single powerful male voice that dominates Western culture.They assume that all male writers represent and reflect mainstream society; that they are all "powerful" rather than that they themselves, like Blake and Shelley, often work against the mainstream.