Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Melissa_W
Posts: 4,124
Topics: 516
Kudos: 966
Blog Posts: 3
Ideas: 15
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X

Please use this thread for discussion of Chapters V - X of Frankenstein.  Please clearly mark a SPOILER WARNING if your post contains references to plot points later in the novel.

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X

What did I skip?

 

"I, their eldest child, was born in Naples, and as an infant accompanied them in their rambles. I remained for several years their only child. Much as they were attached to each other, they seemed to draw inexhaustible stores of affection from a very mine of love to bestow them upon me."  (From Chapter 1)

 

"On the birth of a second son, my junior by seven years, my parents gave up entirely their wandering life, and fixed themselves in their native country." (From Chapter 2)

 

From Chapter 6:

 

"How pleased you would be to remark the improvement of our Ernest! He is now sixteen, and full of activity and spirit. He is desirous to be a true Swiss, and to enter into foreign service; but we cannot part with him, at least until his elder brother return to us.

 

"I must say also a few words to you, my dear cousin, of little darling William. I wish you could see him; he is very tall of his age, with sweet laughing blue eyes, dark eyelashes, and curling hair. When he smiles, two little dimples appear on each cheek, which are rosy with health."

 

Is there someplace between Chapter 2 and 6 where we are told of the existence of a second brother for Victor?  If so, I have totally missed it.  (Even here the relationships are not stated directly, but in Chapter 7 they will become very clear.)

 

(I think this implies Victor must have been 22-23 when he created his Creature?)

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X

Where are the readers who voted for Frankenstein for this month?  Please do come and post!?!

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Bibliophile
Ryan_G
Posts: 3,295
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X

I've been having a really hard time logging in lately, but I will be back when I'm caught up.  I'm one page away from being done with chapter IV. 


Peppermill wrote:

Where are the readers who voted for Frankenstein for this month?  Please do come and post!?!


 

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X

 


Ryan_G wrote:

I've been having a really hard time logging in lately, but I will be back when I'm caught up.  I'm one page away from being done with chapter IV. 


Peppermill wrote:

Where are the readers who voted for Frankenstein for this month?  Please do come and post!?!



 

 

Ryan_G -- I know you will be back when you can, but certainly you are not the only one who voted for Frankenstein.  I am probably in my prissy mode, but it frustrates me when people vote but don't participate -- especially when it is a board of which I am particularly fond, but the book is not one that I would have chosen.

 

And I say all that knowing full well that all sorts of things get in the way -- more than once I have started on a book or a discussion and have had to fade away before it was completed.  (To my chagrin, I even messed up a First Look participation once -- and haven't been back until registering for this October.) So there is an empathy piece in me somewhere, just not in these couple of posts.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X

Ugh!  A brief power failure just blew a post I was creating.  Let's see if I can reconstruct.

 

Am I expecting too much in terms of realism for a novel written some 40 years before Flaubert set the standard for realism?

 

My credulity is strained by a creature fashioned from pieces of miscellaneous corpses, then, poof, one November night this creature is granted life, only to disappear for umpteen weeks without apparent trace while Victor recuperates from his "illness."

 

Then, dear sweet Victor stands by while Justine is put to death at the order of the legal justice system. (Ah, the irony of the name.)  I am reminded a bit of Tess of the d'Urbervilles.   But, this all seems so unrealistic if Victor is in any way a decent man, which in many ways he appears to be.

 

Somehow, this feels more like Mysteries of Udolpho than even, say, like Dracula, i.e., the former also seemed unrealistic at the time I read it, whereas, Dracula, while fantastic, somehow less so.

 

Is this all because I am reading a genre outside my usual interests and have inappropriate expectations?

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Bibliophile
Ryan_G
Posts: 3,295
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X

That was how my and Dulcinea felt with Haunting of Hill House.  I wan to apologize.  Life has been crazy lately and I just now was able to log on for the first time today.  I just wanted to stop by and I will post my thoughts when I'm done with the next two chapters.


Peppermill wrote:

 


Ryan_G wrote:

I've been having a really hard time logging in lately, but I will be back when I'm caught up.  I'm one page away from being done with chapter IV. 


Peppermill wrote:

Where are the readers who voted for Frankenstein for this month?  Please do come and post!?!



 

 

Ryan_G -- I know you will be back when you can, but certainly you are not the only one who voted for Frankenstein.  I am probably in my prissy mode, but it frustrates me when people vote but don't participate -- especially when it is a board of which I am particularly fond, but the book is not one that I would have chosen.

 

And I say all that knowing full well that all sorts of things get in the way -- more than once I have started on a book or a discussion and have had to fade away before it was completed.  (To my chagrin, I even messed up a First Look participation once -- and haven't been back until registering for this October.) So there is an empathy piece in me somewhere, just not in these couple of posts.


 

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
Distinguished Bibliophile
Ryan_G
Posts: 3,295
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X

I guess I decided to read this book more in the lines of Dracula.  Something I know wasn't realistic to me.  I'm a big fan of fantasy so I may have that approach to the book as well.  I'm not sure I'm really explaining right but I hope I'm getting some sort of point across.  I don't have any expectatoins for this book other than I want to enjoy the story and so far I am.  The letters were a little hard to get past but now that I am I starting to enjoy it more.  I will be back with more thoughts.

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
Scribe
Laurel
Posts: 5,747
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X

 


Peppermill wrote:
Am I expecting too much in terms of realism for a novel written some 40 years before Flaubert set the standard for realism?

 

My credulity is strained by a creature fashioned from pieces of miscellaneous corpses, then, poof, one November night this creature is granted life, only to disappear for umpteen weeks without apparent trace while Victor recuperates from his "illness."

 

Then, dear sweet Victor stands by while Justine is put to death at the order of the legal justice system. (Ah, the irony of the name.)  I am reminded a bit of Tess of the d'Urbervilles.   But, this all seems so unrealistic if Victor is in any way a decent man, which in many ways he appears to be.

 

Somehow, this feels more like Mysteries of Udolpho than even, say, like Dracula, i.e., the former also seemed unrealistic at the time I read it, whereas, Dracula, while fantastic, somehow less so.

 

Is this all because I am reading a genre outside my usual interests and have inappropriate expectations?


 

 

The part about Victor letting Justine die certainly caused me pause, Peppermill. I think he just didn't know what to do and how to do it, and she was harshly persuaded by the priest to confess so her soul would be saved. (That part is very ironic; she told a lie because she thought the lie would bring her salvation.)

 

This is not a realistic novel; it is Romantic and Gothic, and the reder has to exercise Coleridge's "willing suspension of disbelief." Picture, though, a nineteen-year-old girl vacationing in Italy with some of the greats of her day, being told ghost stories day after day and encouraged to make up her own, and then having a dream. She tells about it in the 1831 Introduction:

 

Many and long were the conversations between Lord Byron and Shelley, to which I was a devout but nearly silent listener. During one of these, various philosophical doctrines were discussed, and among others the nature of the principle of life, and whether there was any probability of its ever being discovered and communicated. They talked of the experiments of Dr. Darwin, (I speak not of what the Doctor really did, or said that he did, but, as more to my purpose, of what was then spoken of as having been done by him,) who preserved a piece of vermicelli in a glass case, till by some extraordinary means it began to move with voluntary motion. Not thus, after all, would life be given. Perhaps a corpse would be re-animated; galvanism had given token of such things: perhaps the component parts of a creature might be manufactured, brought together, and endued with vital warmth.

 

Night waned upon this talk, and even the witching hour had gone by, before we retired to rest. When I placed my head on my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think. My imagination, unbidden, possessed and guided me, gifting the successive images that arose in my mind with a vividness far beyond the usual bounds of reverie. I saw -- with shut eyes, but acute mental vision, -- I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world. His success would terrify the artist; he would rush away from his odious handywork, horror-stricken. He would hope that, left to itself, the slight spark of life which he had communicated would fade; that this thing, which had received such imperfect animation, would subside into dead matter; and he might sleep in the belief that the silence of the grave would quench for ever the transient existence of the hideous corpse which he had looked upon as the cradle of life. He sleeps; but he is awakened; he opens his eyes; behold the horrid thing stands at his bedside, opening his curtains, and looking on him with yellow, watery, but speculative eyes.

 

I opened mine in terror. The idea so possessed my mind, that a thrill of fear ran through me, and I wished to exchange the ghastly image of my fancy for the realities around. I see them still; the very room, the dark parquet, the closed shutters, with the moonlight struggling through, and the sense I had that the glassy lake and white high Alps were beyond. I could not so easily get rid of my hideous phantom; still it haunted me. I must try to think of something else. I recurred to my ghost story, my tiresome unlucky ghost story! O! if I could only contrive one which would frighten my reader as I myself had been frightened that night!

Swift as light and as cheering was the idea that broke in upon me. "I have found it! What terrified me will terrify others; and I need only describe the spectre which had haunted my midnight pillow." On the morrow I announced that I had thought of a story. I began that day with the words, It was on a dreary night of November, making only a transcript of the grim terrors of my waking dream.

 

 

 

"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X

Apologies for not joining in folks: I find the history of the writing of the novel and the history of the author much more interesting than the novel itself.  Fantasy is just not my thing and I find the idea of Frankenstein rather scary, and getting nearer to true life every day:-      

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ID8GbwbRzpE&feature=fvw

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4SVeBNdx80&feature=related

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urbASu_nLwQ

Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X

 


Choisya wrote:

Apologies for not joining in folks: I find the history of the writing of the novel and the history of the author much more interesting than the novel itself.  Fantasy is just not my thing and I find the idea of Frankenstein rather scary, and getting nearer to true life every day:-      

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ID8GbwbRzpE&feature=fvw

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4SVeBNdx80&feature=related

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urbASu_nLwQ


 

Fascinating stuff, Choisya!  I enjoyed watching.

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X

Laurel -- thanks for getting me to re-read once again this introduction.  Some of it has different meaning now or I just didn't ponder it before.  Certainly the prospect of documenting a dream adds a different twist or expectation than fabricating a story from wide-awake rationality.

 

 


Laurel wrote:

Peppermill wrote:
Am I expecting too much in terms of realism for a novel written some 40 years before Flaubert set the standard for realism?

 

My credulity is strained by a creature fashioned from pieces of miscellaneous corpses, then, poof, one November night this creature is granted life, only to disappear for umpteen weeks without apparent trace while Victor recuperates from his "illness."

 

Then, dear sweet Victor stands by while Justine is put to death at the order of the legal justice system. (Ah, the irony of the name.)  I am reminded a bit of Tess of the d'Urbervilles.   But, this all seems so unrealistic if Victor is in any way a decent man, which in many ways he appears to be.

 

Somehow, this feels more like Mysteries of Udolpho than even, say, like Dracula, i.e., the former also seemed unrealistic at the time I read it, whereas, Dracula, while fantastic, somehow less so.

 

Is this all because I am reading a genre outside my usual interests and have inappropriate expectations?


The part about Victor letting Justine die certainly caused me pause, Peppermill. I think he just didn't know what to do and how to do it, and she was harshly persuaded by the priest to confess so her soul would be saved. (That part is very ironic; she told a lie because she thought the lie would bring her salvation.)

 

This is not a realistic novel; it is Romantic and Gothic, and the reder has to exercise Coleridge's "willing suspension of disbelief." Picture, though, a nineteen-year-old girl vacationing in Italy with some of the greats of her day, being told ghost stories day after day and encouraged to make up her own, and then having a dream. She tells about it in the 1831 Introduction:

 

Many and long were the conversations between Lord Byron and Shelley, to which I was a devout but nearly silent listener. During one of these, various philosophical doctrines were discussed, and among others the nature of the principle of life, and whether there was any probability of its ever being discovered and communicated. They talked of the experiments of Dr. Darwin, (I speak not of what the Doctor really did, or said that he did, but, as more to my purpose, of what was then spoken of as having been done by him,) who preserved a piece of vermicelli in a glass case, till by some extraordinary means it began to move with voluntary motion. Not thus, after all, would life be given. Perhaps a corpse would be re-animated; galvanism had given token of such things: perhaps the component parts of a creature might be manufactured, brought together, and endued with vital warmth.

 

Night waned upon this talk, and even the witching hour had gone by, before we retired to rest. When I placed my head on my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think. My imagination, unbidden, possessed and guided me, gifting the successive images that arose in my mind with a vividness far beyond the usual bounds of reverie. I saw -- with shut eyes, but acute mental vision, -- I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world. His success would terrify the artist; he would rush away from his odious handywork, horror-stricken. He would hope that, left to itself, the slight spark of life which he had communicated would fade; that this thing, which had received such imperfect animation, would subside into dead matter; and he might sleep in the belief that the silence of the grave would quench for ever the transient existence of the hideous corpse which he had looked upon as the cradle of life. He sleeps; but he is awakened; he opens his eyes; behold the horrid thing stands at his bedside, opening his curtains, and looking on him with yellow, watery, but speculative eyes.

 

I opened mine in terror. The idea so possessed my mind, that a thrill of fear ran through me, and I wished to exchange the ghastly image of my fancy for the realities around. I see them still; the very room, the dark parquet, the closed shutters, with the moonlight struggling through, and the sense I had that the glassy lake and white high Alps were beyond. I could not so easily get rid of my hideous phantom; still it haunted me. I must try to think of something else. I recurred to my ghost story, my tiresome unlucky ghost story! O! if I could only contrive one which would frighten my reader as I myself had been frightened that night!

 

Swift as light and as cheering was the idea that broke in upon me. "I have found it! What terrified me will terrify others; and I need only describe the spectre which had haunted my midnight pillow." On the morrow I announced that I had thought of a story. I began that day with the words, It was on a dreary night of November, making only a transcript of the grim terrors of my waking dream.


 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Bibliophile
dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X


Ryan_G wrote:

That was how my and Dulcinea felt with Haunting of Hill House.  I wan to apologize.  Life has been crazy lately and I just now was able to log on for the first time today.  I just wanted to stop by and I will post my thoughts when I'm done with the next two chapters.


Peppermill wrote:

 


Ryan_G wrote:

I've been having a really hard time logging in lately, but I will be back when I'm caught up.  I'm one page away from being done with chapter IV. 


Peppermill wrote:

Where are the readers who voted for Frankenstein for this month?  Please do come and post!?!



 

 

Ryan_G -- I know you will be back when you can, but certainly you are not the only one who voted for Frankenstein.  I am probably in my prissy mode, but it frustrates me when people vote but don't participate -- especially when it is a board of which I am particularly fond, but the book is not one that I would have chosen.

 

And I say all that knowing full well that all sorts of things get in the way -- more than once I have started on a book or a discussion and have had to fade away before it was completed.  (To my chagrin, I even messed up a First Look participation once -- and haven't been back until registering for this October.) So there is an empathy piece in me somewhere, just not in these couple of posts.


 


 

Sorry, I didn't vote for this one.  I was conflicted, though, because I do have the novel and haven't read it for decades, so I felt that I should, but I had several other books I was already planning to read for other book clubs.  When they decided not to continue past the first Shannara book in the Fantasy club, I should have started Frankenstein instead, but I just felt more like continuing on with the Shannara trilogy on my own, and finished the other night (thoroughly enjoyed them, too!).  Now my reading load is lighter, but with two substantial novels coming up next month, I think I should probably get started on one of them (or even - gasp - read a non-club book from my TBR pile!).  I figured I might still check in once in a while to see what people were saying about Frankenstein, even though I don't remember much about the plot.

 

But I certainly empathize!  I seem to be talking to myself over on Classics about The Wonderful Wizard of Oz!  Even though I noticed Connie had mentioned on that Twitter thing on the right about how great it was that so many new members had joined just to discuss this book!  Well, where are they, then?!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia
Distinguished Bibliophile
Ryan_G
Posts: 3,295
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X

Sorry I've had to put this book on the back burner the last few days.  I am back on track and will be able to pick it up tomorrow then I will be back. Promise

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
Wordsmith
maude40
Posts: 357
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X

I loved the descriptions of nature in chapter X. It was so beautiful as opposed to the horror of the monster Frankenstein. The magnificant scenes of the mountains made the monster more horrible than he is. He seems so pathetic to me . No one loves him not even the one who gave birth to him. He is all alone in the uncaring world and bent on taking revenge on those his creator loves. Yvonne

Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters V - X

 


Peppermill wrote:

Ugh!  A brief power failure just blew a post I was creating.  Let's see if I can reconstruct.

 

Am I expecting too much in terms of realism for a novel written some 40 years before Flaubert set the standard for realism?

 

My credulity is strained by a creature fashioned from pieces of miscellaneous corpses, then, poof, one November night this creature is granted life, only to disappear for umpteen weeks without apparent trace while Victor recuperates from his "illness."

 

Then, dear sweet Victor stands by while Justine is put to death at the order of the legal justice system. (Ah, the irony of the name.)  I am reminded a bit of Tess of the d'Urbervilles.   But, this all seems so unrealistic if Victor is in any way a decent man, which in many ways he appears to be.

 

Somehow, this feels more like Mysteries of Udolpho than even, say, like Dracula, i.e., the former also seemed unrealistic at the time I read it, whereas, Dracula, while fantastic, somehow less so.

 

Is this all because I am reading a genre outside my usual interests and have inappropriate expectations?




 

 

Well this is the historical period where real knowlege of the workings of the human body were largely unknown. Body snatching was common spread for medical studies.

 


 

 Taken from Wiki

Body-snatching in the United Kingdom

Before the Anatomy Act of 1832, the only legal supply of corpses for anatomical purposes in the UK were those condemned to death and dissection by the courts. Those who were sentenced to dissection by the courts were often guilty of comparatively harsher crimes. Such sentences did not provide enough subjects for the medical schools and private anatomical schools (which did not require a licence before 1832). While during the 18th century hundreds had been executed for trivial crimes, by the 19th century only about 55 people were being sentenced to capital punishment each year. However, with the expansion of the medical schools, as many as 500 cadavers were needed[2].

Before electric power to supply refrigeration, bodies would decay rapidly and become unusable for study. Therefore, the medical profession turned to body-snatching to supply the deficit of bodies fresh enough to be examined.[citation needed]

Stealing a corpse was only a misdemeanour at common law, not a felony, and was therefore only punishable with fine and imprisonment, rather than transportation or execution[3]. The trade was a sufficiently lucrative business to run the risk of detection, particularly as the authorities tended to ignore what they considered a necessary evil.

Body-snatching became so prevalent that it was not unusual for relatives and friends of someone who had just died to watch over the body until burial, and then to keep watch over the grave after burial, to stop it being violated. Iron coffins, too, were used frequently, or the graves were protected by a framework of iron bars called mortsafes, well-preserved examples of which may still be seen in Greyfriars churchyard, Edinburgh.

One method the body-snatchers used was to dig at the head end of a recent burial, digging with a wooden spade (quieter than metal). When they reached the coffin (in London the graves were quite shallow), they broke open the coffin, put a rope around the corpse and dragged it out. They were often careful not to steal anything such as jewellery or clothes as this would cause them to be liable to a felony charge.

The Lancet[4] reported another method. A manhole-sized square of turf was removed 15 to 20 feet (5 to 6 m) away from the head of the grave, and a tunnel dug to intercept the coffin, which would be about 4 feet (1.2 m) down. The end of the coffin would be pulled off, and the corpse pulled up through the tunnel. The turf was then replaced, and any relatives watching the graves would not notice the small, remote disturbance. The article suggests that the number of empty coffins that have been discovered "proves beyond a doubt that at this time body-snatching was frequent".

During 1827 and 1828, some Edinburgh resurrectionists including Burke and Hare changed their tactics from grave-robbing to murder, as they were paid more for very fresh corpses. Their activities, and those of the London Burkers who imitated them, resulted in the passage of the Anatomy Act 1832. This allowed unclaimed bodies and those donated by relatives to be used for the study of anatomy, and required the licensing of anatomy teachers, which essentially ended the body-snatching trade. The use of bodies for scientific research in the UK is now governed by the Human Tissue Authority.


 

How would modern organ transplants of now have been viewed by a privately taught student of then? (shrug) At least that what I thought about.

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters IX

[ Edited ]

The flow of the story just absolutely stumbled for me over the highlighted sentence in this paragraph from near the start of Chapter 9:

 

"Nothing is more painful to the human mind, than, after the feelings have been worked up by a quick succession of events, the dead calmness of inaction and certainty which follows, and deprives the soul both of hope and fear. Justine died; she rested; and I was alive. The blood flowed freely in my veins, but a weight of despair and remorse pressed on my heart, which nothing could remove. Sleep fled from my eyes; I wandered like an evil spirit, for I had committed deeds of mischief beyond description horrible, and more, much more (I persuaded myself), was yet behind. Yet my heart overflowed with kindness, and the love of virtue. I had begun life with benevolent intentions, and thirsted for the moment when I should put them in practice, and make myself useful to my fellow-beings. Now all was blasted: instead of that serenity of conscience, which allowed me to look back upon the past with self satisfaction, and from thence to gather promise of new hopes, I was seized by remorse and the sense of guilt, which hurried me away to a hell of intense tortures, such as no language can describe."

Still, it is not unlike the contrasts of viewpoints we encounter in current day murder stories and headlines.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters X

[ Edited ]

I enjoyed these descriptive lines of the Alpine scenery in Chapter 10:

 

"I spent the following day roaming through the valley. I stood beside the sources of the Arveiron, which take their rise in a glacier, that with slow pace is advancing down from the summit of the hills, to barricade the valley. The abrupt sides of vast mountains were before me; the icy wall of the glacier overhung me; a few shattered pines were scattered around; and the solemn silence of this glorious presence-chamber of imperial Nature was broken only by the brawling waves, or the fall of some vast fragment, the thunder sound of the avalanche, or the cracking reverberated along the mountains of the accumulated ice, which, through the silent working of immutable laws, was ever and anon rent and torn, as if it had been but a plaything in their hands. These sublime and magnificent scenes afforded me the greatest consolation that I was capable of receiving. They elevated me from all littleness of feeling; and although they did not remove my grief, they subdued and tranquillised it. In some degree, also, they diverted my mind from the thoughts over which it had brooded for the last month. I retired to rest at night; my slumbers, as it were, waited on and ministered to by the assemblance of grand shapes which I had contemplated during the day. They congregated round me; the unstained snowy mountain-top, the glittering pinnacle, the pine woods, and ragged bare ravine; the eagle, soaring amidst the clouds--they all gathered round me, and bade me be at peace.

 

"Where had they fled when the next morning I awoke? All of soul-inspiriting fled with sleep, and dark melancholy clouded every thought. The rain was pouring in torrents, and thick mists hid the summits of the mountains, so that I even saw not the faces of those mighty friends. Still I would penetrate their misty veil, and seek them in their cloudy retreats. What were rain and storm to me? My mule was brought to the door, and I resolved to ascend to the summit of Montanvert. I remembered the effect that the view of the tremendous and ever-moving glacier had produced upon my mind when I first saw it. It had then filled me with a sublime ecstasy that gave wings to the soul, and allowed it to soar from the obscure world to light and joy. The sight of the awful and majestic in nature had indeed always the effect of solemnising my mind, and causing me to forget the passing cares of life. I determined to go without a guide, for I was well acquainted with the path, and the presence of another would destroy the solitary grandeur of the scene."

 

"It was nearly noon when I arrived at the top of the ascent. For some time I sat upon the rock that overlooks the sea of ice. A mist covered both that and the surrounding mountains. Presently a breeze dissipated the cloud, and I descended upon the glacier. The surface is very uneven, rising like the waves of a troubled sea, descending low, and interspersed by rifts that sink deep. The field of ice is almost a league in width, but I spent nearly two hours in crossing it. The opposite mountain is a bare perpendicular rock. From the side where I now stood Montanvert was exactly opposite, at the distance of a league; and above it rose Mont Blanc, in awful majesty. I remained in a recess of the rock, gazing on this wonderful and stupendous scene. The sea, or rather the vast river of ice, wound among its dependent mountains, whose aerial summits hung over its recesses. Their icy and glittering peaks shone in the sunlight over the clouds. My heart, which was before sorrowful, now swelled with something like joy; I exclaimed -- 'Wandering spirits, if indeed ye wander, and do not rest in your narrow beds, allow me this faint happiness, or take me, as your companion, away from the joys of life.'"

 

Mont Blanc

 

Mont Blanc 2

 

Old postcards of the area

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters X

Great links P - thanks a lot!  As we have seen in other gothic novels of this period, Mary Shelley is here conjuring up notions of the Sublime.


Peppermill wrote:

I enjoyed these descriptive lines of the Alpine scenery in Chapter 10:

 

"I spent the following day roaming through the valley. I stood beside the sources of the Arveiron, which take their rise in a glacier, that with slow pace is advancing down from the summit of the hills, to barricade the valley. The abrupt sides of vast mountains were before me; the icy wall of the glacier overhung me; a few shattered pines were scattered around; and the solemn silence of this glorious presence-chamber of imperial Nature was broken only by the brawling waves, or the fall of some vast fragment, the thunder sound of the avalanche, or the cracking reverberated along the mountains of the accumulated ice, which, through the silent working of immutable laws, was ever and anon rent and torn, as if it had been but a plaything in their hands. These sublime and magnificent scenes afforded me the greatest consolation that I was capable of receiving. They elevated me from all littleness of feeling; and although they did not remove my grief, they subdued and tranquillised it. In some degree, also, they diverted my mind from the thoughts over which it had brooded for the last month. I retired to rest at night; my slumbers, as it were, waited on and ministered to by the assemblance of grand shapes which I had contemplated during the day. They congregated round me; the unstained snowy mountain-top, the glittering pinnacle, the pine woods, and ragged bare ravine; the eagle, soaring amidst the clouds--they all gathered round me, and bade me be at peace.

 

"Where had they fled when the next morning I awoke? All of soul-inspiriting fled with sleep, and dark melancholy clouded every thought. The rain was pouring in torrents, and thick mists hid the summits of the mountains, so that I even saw not the faces of those mighty friends. Still I would penetrate their misty veil, and seek them in their cloudy retreats. What were rain and storm to me? My mule was brought to the door, and I resolved to ascend to the summit of Montanvert. I remembered the effect that the view of the tremendous and ever-moving glacier had produced upon my mind when I first saw it. It had then filled me with a sublime ecstasy that gave wings to the soul, and allowed it to soar from the obscure world to light and joy. The sight of the awful and majestic in nature had indeed always the effect of solemnising my mind, and causing me to forget the passing cares of life. I determined to go without a guide, for I was well acquainted with the path, and the presence of another would destroy the solitary grandeur of the scene."

 

"It was nearly noon when I arrived at the top of the ascent. For some time I sat upon the rock that overlooks the sea of ice. A mist covered both that and the surrounding mountains. Presently a breeze dissipated the cloud, and I descended upon the glacier. The surface is very uneven, rising like the waves of a troubled sea, descending low, and interspersed by rifts that sink deep. The field of ice is almost a league in width, but I spent nearly two hours in crossing it. The opposite mountain is a bare perpendicular rock. From the side where I now stood Montanvert was exactly opposite, at the distance of a league; and above it rose Mont Blanc, in awful majesty. I remained in a recess of the rock, gazing on this wonderful and stupendous scene. The sea, or rather the vast river of ice, wound among its dependent mountains, whose aerial summits hung over its recesses. Their icy and glittering peaks shone in the sunlight over the clouds. My heart, which was before sorrowful, now swelled with something like joy; I exclaimed -- 'Wandering spirits, if indeed ye wander, and do not rest in your narrow beds, allow me this faint happiness, or take me, as your companion, away from the joys of life.'"

 

Mont Blanc

 

Mont Blanc 2

 

Old postcards of the area


 

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: FRANKENSTEIN: Week 2, Chapters IX & X

Thx, Choisya.  It's awfully hard with this new format to see the links in the text.

 

Never having been in Switzerland, I found the pictures of the glacier feeding the river particularly interesting.  Also, the old shots from back in the 1800's.  And the arttst's renderings -- the Turner is awfully dark, I wonder if he did an oil. But the mountains themselves are so glorious.

 

I did note this in the text, indicating the Andes were probably viewed as more treacherous.

 

"...When I thought of him, I gnashed my teeth, my eyes became inflamed, and I ardently wished to extinguish that life which I had so thoughtlessly bestowed. When I reflected on his crimes and malice, my hatred and revenge burst all bounds of moderation. I would have made a pilgrimage to the highest peak of the Andes, could I, when there, have precipitated him to their base. I wished to see him again, that I might wreak the utmost extent of abhorrence on his head, and avenge the deaths of William and Justine."   Chapter 9, p. 87 in my version.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy