The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein by John Lauritsen
For Immediate Release
Contact: Andrew Flinn
Who Wrote Frankenstein?
The most famous work of English Romanticism is the novel, Frankenstein. Its two main characters, Victor Frankenstein and the monster he created, have entered our collective imagination -- through movies, comic books, T-shirts, Halloween masks, etc. They have entered the speech of erudite scholars, as well as the man on the street.
The conventional belief is that Frankenstein was written by a teenaged girl, Mary Godwin (later Mary Shelley), who took part in a ghost-story contest in Geneva, had a nightmare, and was inspired to write a story "which would frighten my reader as I myself had been frightened that night!"
John Lauritsen's new book, The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein, disintegrates the Mary Shelley myth, demonstrating that Frankenstein is not just a scary story, but a work of profound and radical ideas. It was written by one of the greatest poets in the English language, who deliberately concealed his authorship. The book has three theses:
- Frankenstein is a great work, which has consistently been underrated and misinterpreted.
- The real author of Frankenstein is Percy Bysshe Shelley, not his second wife, Mary.
- Male love is a central theme of Frankenstein.
According to Lauritsen, the theme of romantic male friendship runs from the very beginning to the final page of Frankenstein. Sometimes the expressions of male love are remarkably direct, but at other times they are expressed in coded language or references known only to the "initiated". He uses his skills as a gay historian to decode and interpret these references.
Already Lauritsen's second thesis has caused apprehension in academia, where many of the biggest names in English Romanticism are invested in the Mary Shelley myth. On an electronic list devoted to discussion of Romanticism, a senior scholar ordered participants to seal their ears and remain silent regarding the authorship debate.
John Lauritsen studied English Literature and Social Relations at Harvard. A retired market research analyst, his writings, including ten books, have won him an international reputation. His most frequently cited books are:
- (Co-author) The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935) (Times Change Press 1974 / 2nd Edition 1995)
- The AIDS War (Asklepios 1993)
John Lauritsen. The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein. Publisher: Pagan Press. 232 pages, 3 illustrations, Bibliography & 9 Appendices. Trade paperback edition: $16.95 ISBN: 978-0-943742-14-4 Library edition: $24.95 ISBN: 978-0-943742-15-1 Publication date: May 2007