Dec 8, 2010

The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein

by Theodore Roszak

Roszak retells the story of Frankenstein from the viewpoint of Victor's unfortunate bride, Elizabeth. An inquisitive and intelligent young woman, she is taught by tutors in the household, and more particularly, by her adoptive mother the Lady Caroline. Her closeness to Victor is encouraged; more than just brother and sister, they are destined to marry and their union is (apparently) also part of some great experiment (which I could not make head or tails of, as you shall see). So... as part of her education Elizabeth learns to take no shame in her body and gets initiated into a secret cult of women which reveals to her all kinds of ancient female knowledge. I was blasting through the book, enjoying the writing and intrigued by the story until it got to a certain point. Elizabeth's gradual awareness of her sexuality was not repugnant to me, but things started to get really weird when Victor was included in some of the secret rites, which started to combine alchemy with eroticism. It was so bizarre. I thought alchemy had to do with turning stuff into gold? what does that have to do with sex? and all the obscure symbolism made no sense either and I got weary of trying to figure it out. The more interesting part of the story was the constant contrast between Victor's hunger for scientific knowledge- dissection, mathematics, the new discovery of electricity (we all know to what use he put that!)- and Elizabeth's blossoming understanding of the strengths of women- founded in the wonders of nature. But all that alchemy/mystic sex stuff was just too bewildering. It actually started to bore me. Who else has picked up this book? what did you make of it?

I am remember now and have no idea how this book got onto my TBR list. I think I read a review of it somewhere online that sparked my interest, but can't find that now. For a few other reader's opinions, check out the links below.

Abandoned........ 425 pages, 1995

more opinions at:
Las Risas
somewhere i have never travelled
The Actress and the Bishop


Anna said...

Hmm...this sounded so promising at the beginning, but if it started to bore you, I think I'll pass.

Jeane said...

Well, I only got bored because I couldn't figure out quite what was going on at that point. If you're a more astute reader than I, or don't mind being puzzled, you might well enjoy it!

Jenny said...

I feel like I should read the real Frankenstein first... :p

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

This sounded really good at first, but then your description makes it sound really weird. The combination of alchemy and eroticism seems odd.