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Choisya
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Re: Ilana: Complaint about the new system!

I understand from another Moderator that B&N have stopped us posting direct URL links for our own protection. However, this is inconvenient and time wasting when we want to post useful references for other readers. It is also preventing us from looking for references on the Internet whilst posting in the 'Message Body' box - this disconnects us from B&N. I lost quite a long and complicated post I had done about Prometheus and Frankenstein earlier today, whilst trying to check references! It also prevents us from copying and pasting quotes from the internet. Can the old method be restored please?

(I am getting around this at the moment by copying what I have written in the Message Body before doing an internet search and then pasting it back when I have finished but this is very tedious!)
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IlanaSimons
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will report the complaint

gr--sad to have missed out on your Prometheus. I am going to relay your message to my colleagues, and I'll get back to you as I hear more. But thanks for working around the inconvenience for now.
Ilana



Ilana
Check out my book, here and visit my website, here.


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Choisya
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Re: (Possible Spoiler) Good and Evil in Frankenstein

[ Edited ]

ARMYRANGER wrote:
Thanks Ilana, I will definitely be sharing some of my thoughts on the ethics of Frankenstein. I think the best treatment of this subject is by Colin McGinn (professor of philosophy) at Rutgers in his book "Ethics, Evil, and Fiction." His analysis is wonderful, centered around what he calls the aesthetic theory of virtue, where the connection between deformity/ugliness and evil is explored. My take on McGinn is that he begins with Platonic premises in that the form of the soul is good/beautiful and argues to Aristotelian conclusions using the aesthetics of form to argue for a direct correlation between beauty and virtue. He sees Frankenstein's monster (and all monsters) as mirrors of the human soul and their ugliness is in direct correspondence to their lack of virtue. He also examines "Billy Budd," "Lolita," and "The Picture of Dorian Gray" to defend his thesis. I was in correspondence with McGinn because I had some problems with his aesthetic theory of virtue, although I think it is correct if we acknowledge some exceptions such as Quasimodo from Victor Hugo's classic.





As a philosophical atheist who does not believe that humans have souls, I see monsters in literature as being representative of the 'hell' we can create on earth by our own actions and, likewise, I see representations of beauty as the 'heaven' we can attain on earth by living good/virtuous lives. Beauty and the Beast, for instance, is a tale of the redemption of deformity/ugliness/evil by beauty/virtue. The capacity for doing evil and for doing good is a 'mirror' contained within all of us.

The Prometheus Unbound aspect of Frankenstein (and its secondary title), later expanded by Percy Bysshe Shelley, could be seen as a mirror of the society of the time, beset as it was by the oppression of the masses, who were in the throes of revolution. Prometheus' struggle against the gods was also seen as a struggle against authority and kings. Frankenstein's struggle to find acceptance and love was therefore Promethean. His failure to do so was perhaps an expression of Mary Shelley's own pessimistic feelings, borne perhaps of her own tribulations, that evil will always triumph over good and that revolutions are also likely to fail.

Message Edited by Choisya on 10-29-200610:19 PM

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Choisya
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Re: Ilana : Thanks



IlanaSimons wrote:
gr--sad to have missed out on your Prometheus. I am going to relay your message to my colleagues, and I'll get back to you as I hear more. But thanks for working around the inconvenience for now.
Ilana





Thanks Ilana. I've reposted my Prometheus thoughts but I fear they are not as good as my original ones, written in the morning when my old mind was fresh! :smileyhappy:
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IlanaSimons
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you write em good

no: actually: I was just marvelling over your prometheus post



Ilana
Check out my book, here and visit my website, here.


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ARMYRANGER
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Re: (Possible Spoiler) Good and Evil in Frankenstein

Hi Choisya, you do not believe that we have souls but that we can live a good virtuous life. I must disagree (as would Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, etc.) since the virtues are thought to be dispositions of the soul, similar to the way the will is a function of the soul. If we do not have a soul, where are the virtues situated, in the body or the mind? But this raises an interesting (if not incidental point), does the monster have a soul? If the monster is not human in its essence but only in its substance, then it does not. But from here we get into the metaphysical distinctions between being, essence, and substance, and the metaphysics of the monster is surely open to various interpretations.
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Kourt
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Re: A Message from Your Moderator

Choisya, I went by Kourtney in previous classes. I got lazy this time around.
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ARMYRANGER
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Re: A Message from Your Moderator

I have to think a bit more about Frankenstein as a father figure, perhaps Freud may help me more to answer than Heidegger, but I think Heidegger might help us in analyzing the monster. Heidegger's existential analysis of Dasein is a tri-part structure consisting of facticity, fallenness, and existentiality. Heidegger says we are thrown facticity in that we are thrown into the facts of our existence--we do not choose where or when we are born, or even who we are, just as the ball which is thrown has no control over where it lands. The monster seems to bear this concept in a purer sense than a "normal" human being, who can at least face its facticity with some coherence. With respect to fallenness (which has no religious or moral connotation), the monster has no history or heritage to fall back into for any sort of cultural identity, which is how Heidegger applies the term. Now, existentiality applies to how we exist as the projection of our possibilities, and the monster clearly has possibilities as any temporal creature does. Each structure is oriented in time, facticity to the present, fallenness to the past, and existentiality to the future. The monster participates in facticity and existentiality, but is denied fallenness due to the circumstances of his creation.
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donyskiw
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Re: A Message from Your Moderator

Hi Melissa! I'm currently knitting a skirt but I can't imagine Victor wearing it! Or his monster, either!

Denise
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Choisya
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Re: (Possible Spoiler) Good and Evil in Frankenstein



ARMYRANGER wrote:
Hi Choisya, you do not believe that we have souls but that we can live a good virtuous life. I must disagree (as would Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, etc.) since the virtues are thought to be dispositions of the soul, similar to the way the will is a function of the soul. If we do not have a soul, where are the virtues situated, in the body or the mind? But this raises an interesting (if not incidental point), does the monster have a soul? If the monster is not human in its essence but only in its substance, then it does not. But from here we get into the metaphysical distinctions between being, essence, and substance, and the metaphysics of the monster is surely open to various interpretations.





I feel at liberty to disagree with Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas etc (especially the latter two) and think that anyone can live a good and virtuous live, irrespective of their beliefs. The lives we lead, whether virtuous or not, are, IMO, based upon the cultural mores we are brought up with. Therefore it may be virtuous for a Borneo head hunter to take the heads of enemies but not virtuous for us to do so. As to where 'the virtues' are situated, this is like asking how many angels can dance on the head of a needle. Virtues may be thought to be dispositions of the soul but, like god or gods, there is no proof of where they are situated or that there is such a thing as a soul. One of the criticisms of Victor Frankenstein has been that he did not have sufficient imagination to finish his monster and so did not 'program' it with enough virtues to enable it to lead a good life. Whether or not Frankenstin the monster had a soul, it/he could have been provided with the mechanical (or even metaphysical) means to lead a normal, decent life. As it was, something was clearly missing from its/his make-up, which Victor later acknowledged. It was rather like manufacturing a car and forgetting to put the brakes in!

Nowadays I suppose Frankenstein could be a designer baby with the genes of a serial killer and then we could argue whether nature or nurture would take the upper hand in its development.
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Choisya
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Re: What is a soul?

ARMYRANGER wrote:
Hi Choisya, you do not believe that we have souls but that we can live a good virtuous life. I must disagree (as would Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, etc.) since the virtues are thought to be dispositions of the soul, similar to the way the will is a function of the soul.


As well as the question of whether we have souls, there is also the question of what the word soul actually means and what are its origins:-

http://www.atheists.org/Atheism/mind.html
New User
kittywitty
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Re: A Message from Your Moderator

Hello! My name is Patty & I live in Colorado. I have never read Frankenstein and thought it would be a good choice for October, however I'm getting rather a late start at it since it's already November! I'm glad to have found this book club and hope to gain a lot of insight from the discussions.
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KristyR
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Hello!

Hi everyone! I'm Kristy. I've taken a lot of BNU classes in the past and am looking forward to reading Frankenstein for the first time. I finally figured out the classes were up and running today and am hoping this new format will grow on me, because right now... Oh well, the first month is always a learning process right?
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IlanaSimons
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Re: A Message from Your Moderator

Hi Patty
So glad you've joined. Check out the "early chapters" thread and give us your insight as you go--
Ilana



Ilana
Check out my book, here and visit my website, here.


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IlanaSimons
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Re: Hello!

Yes! Learning this system is a process--but I think it makes good sense once you get comfortable.
I'll be excited to hear what you get from the early chapters
thanks for joining us
Ilana



Ilana
Check out my book, here and visit my website, here.


Inspired Contributor
Choisya
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Re: A Complaints & Suggestions section?

Ilana: I wonder if you could set up a separate section for complaints and suggestions about the new set-up? This might help B&N sort out some of the glitches as well as giving somne ideas to those of us still having difficulties. Thanks.
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IlanaSimons
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Re: A Complaints & Suggestions section?

[ Edited ]
Hi Choisya,
You can get to the spot for making suggestions and asking questions through the book club home page, in the Help & Important Information thread
Some discussions about the system have been started there
Ilana

Message Edited by IlanaSimons on 11-02-200601:33 PM




Ilana
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Choisya
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Re: A Complaints & Suggestions section?



IlanaSimons wrote:
Hi Choisya,
You can get to the spot for making suggestions and asking questions through the book club home page, in the Help & Important Information thread
Some discussions about the system have been started there
Ilana

Message Edited by IlanaSimons on 11-02-200601:33 PM







Thanks Ilana: I see the Help & Information but where are the discussions and suggestions from readers?
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IlanaSimons
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Re: A Complaints & Suggestions section?

Hi there
You can post in the "Have Questions?" thread, to any of the threads started by other readers, or post your own.
Ilana



Ilana
Check out my book, here and visit my website, here.


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Zapp
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Re: A Message from Your Moderator

Hello Llana and board,

Hope everyone had fun for Halloween. Wanted to say hi to the board -- new user here. I love reading from the classics and Shelley's Frankenstein is one I've read a few times. Amazing that she wrote this at the age of 18.

You're right Llana in that the story recast are so numerous (particularly in modern film culture). I'm wondering that maybe this is because on a basic level the story's main theme is so timeless and universal ---- misunderstanding of technological progress / or just science - will our own creations come back to destroy us - themes that have run the discourse of human progress long before Shelley wrote Frankenstein. Follow one path and you cure a disease -- follow another and you get mushroom cloud.

One of the more current issues that comes to mind is stem-cell research. No matter which side you're on in the debate surely one could see the over-arching theme that Shelley gives us in her book -- what will come of this research? -- absolutely frightning to some - a hope and god-send to others -- where do we push forward? - where do we hold back?

Also - on another note : every single SciFi writer out there, or that ever was, owes thier bread-and-butter to Mary Shelley. Just thought I would throw that one in.

Some dry stats below to intro myself to the group :

Name : Zapp
Location : Lafayette, LA
Sex : Male
Age : 34
Statis : Single
Education : B.A. UL-Lafayette (1996)
Work : Graphics manager for a local commercial signage company
Current Read : Haper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird"
Favorite Authors : George Eliot - Thomas Hardy - Charles Dickens (see a pattern here?)
Favorite Music : Death Cab for Cutie - The Killers - Snow Patrol - Beck - My Morning Jacket

Glad to join the group -- any ideas on future book topics?

-- Zapp -^..^-

BTW - Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" --- classic --- one of my favs. :smileyhappy:~ God I love that movie!
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