Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is a novel about a young scientist named Victor Frankenstein. Through science and his fascination of life he creates a repulsive creature that comes to life. Mary Shelley’s novel was able to impact the world with the message it conveyed and cause authors everywhere to critic her work. One of the authors who criticized her work was Walter Scott. Walter Scott can be characterized as a great Scottish novelist, poet, and biographer. Scott can be considered the inventor of historical novels. Walter Scott attended high school in Edinburgh, and apprenticed for his father in 1786 in law. He then began to practice law, but was very disconnected with the subject. Scott, then became interested in Gothic novels, and his work was first published in 1796. He is best known by many as the author of the “Waverley Novels”. Regardless of all the success Scott had claimed throughout his life, his first love and the earliest success he achieved was being a poet. Furthermore, Scott’s interest in Gothic genre, is an essential reason of why he criticized the novel. Walter Scott uses “Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine Review of Frankenstein ” to adequately argue that that Shelley’s work reflects on astonishing events not for their own objective, but to help theorize how these occurrences affect everyday citizens.
The thesis of Scott’s review states that Frankenstein is a novel or a romantic fiction of a peculiar nature that requires it to be described before attempting any report of the individual production. This review showcases application of supernatural in fictional materials. In addition, Scott’s review displays the laws of nature signify change. The point Scott is trying to make about Frankenstein is that it can be classified more as a romantic fiction then a gothic novel. In the end, he views Frankenstein as a fascinating read.
I agree with the author’s thesis in the review because Shelley’s Frankenstein does integrate laws of nature that have the ability to exceed other supernatural works. According to Scott he writes about the “the marvelous” which is the focal point for the author and the reader. The reasoning behind this is it describes the impact it had on the human victims that are mentioned with the wonders who were impacted by the machinery. (Scott, n.p.) As the critique goes on, the author remains interested on his primary subject though the usage of external sources to support his argument. He explains that Frankenstein is introduced to the wonders of the modern chemistry and natural philosophy together with all their platforms. He later executed these sciences to their most interior aspect and mysterious breaks. They are also incorporated with abnormal talents and unmatched success.
The second critic I chose to discuss is John Wilson Crocker’s “Quarterly Review review of Frankenstein”. Crocker’s critique of Frankenstein was severely the opposite of Scott’s. He discussed that the story challenged scientific knowledge and did not belong in the Gothic genre. Crocker claims, “it inculcates no lesson of conduct, manners, or morality; it cannot mend, and will not even amuse its readers, unless their taste have been deplorably vitiated (Crocker, n.p.) Crocker means that Frankenstein shows no moral lessons and will no amuse the readers. These refutes Scott’s initial critique because he was generally in favor of the novel. According to Scott, “A more philosophical and refined use of the supernatural in works of fiction, is proper to that class in which the laws of nature are represented as altered, not for the purpose of pampering the imagination with wonders, but in order to shew the probable effect which the supposed miracles would produce on those who witnessed them.” (Scott, n.p) Scott admired the fact that Shelley went outside the box and introduced the audience to improbable events. These improbable or peculiar events can be traced back to Scott’s thesis because these supernatural events are what draw readers into the novel, not drive them away like Crocker describes.
In conclusion, these two critics do not share the same perspectives. The first critic gives a positive critique of Frankenstein, by praising Shelley on the way she discusses the supernatural events in the novel. She introduces a new genre of writing that was able to impact may different audiences for years to come. On the other hand, the second critic destroys the novel because of unrealistic ideas that were presented. Shelley’s new ways of thinking and writing did not translate well to Crocker’s way of thinking. In the end, Shelley’s Frankenstein is still a novel that is relevant in today’s world. Therefore, her ideas and thoughts were valid and accurate.