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Hideous Progenies: Dramatizations of "Frankenstein" from the Nineteenth Century to the Present

ISBN: 9780812281316
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Edition: illustrated edition
Publication Date: 1990-02-01
Number of pages: 328
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The Frankenstein we know is not Mary Shelley's creature at all. Rather it is an amalgam of over 200 years of images and dramatizations that range from the ghoulish fiends of nineteenth-century sensation dramas to Boris Karloff's movie monster to Mel Brooks's tap-dancing giant. These versions treat the Frankenstein myth with varying levels of horror, hysteria, and humor, but all of them attest to its enduring power.

In Hideous Progenies, Steven Earl Forry offers a historical overview of the legend's transformation over time—beginning with Shelley's original and the earliest popular dramatizations of it (which transformed the myth, adding a burlesque quality and simplifying its moral allegory) and continuing on through the advent of cinema. He also documents this development with actual texts of seven pre-1931 dramatizations, a sampling of cartoons and playbills, and a shooting script for the first cinematic version, Thomas Edison's Frankenstein (1910). Forry's rare materials and interesting survey offer a valuable resource for scholars and students of theater history, literary history, and popular culture.

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