The sexism that Mary Shelley experienced while trying to write literary classic Frankenstein is unfortunately still an immediate and modern concern as literary award shortlists continue to be male dominated. Making Monsters does its best to explore the feminist context surrounding the creation of this psychologically gripping, and essentially modern landmark text.
As the performance starts we are transported to Geneva, where sycophants gather around literary giant and romantic Victorian wide boy Lord Byron. Mary Shelly, Claire Clairmont and Percy Bysshe Shelley along with Byron himself convinced themselves to interrupt the boredom they will compete in a literary challenge: to conceive a horror story.
The male characters are larger than life as Mary and Claire are instantly sidelined; a reflection of the recent discussion surrounding male dominated contemporary literally criticism and awards. Dismissed and belittled by Byron, Mary is not to be banished and slowly she cultivates her ghastly narrative.
Mary’s mother was Mary Woolstonecraft, the writer of A Vindication on the Rights of Woman and references to her writing act as a stepping stone to connect the themes to contemporary feminist discourse. While assessing Claire's stitching, Mary mumbles about body parts and voltage, forehead creased, considering the fear of the promethean monstrosity her mind is creating - born of dangerous knowledge and symbolic of secretive scientific endeavor. Instead of the female anatomy being created from Adam's spare rib, it is Mary, a woman, creating this twisted masculine form. News of the first human head transplant being performed in Russia this year and the ethical minefield this kind of surgery inspires, suggest Mary Shelly might be the mother of modern medical ethics.
Mary Shelly’s writing was a primal manifestation of Fuck the Patriarchy. Manarchists and brocialists - Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, the sexist radicals of their day - just couldn’t compete. (LO)
Making Monsters ran at 17.05 at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (Venue 53) until August 27th - https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/making-monsters
Sexism in publishing: 'My novel wasn’t the problem, it was me, Catherine': https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/aug/06/catherine-nichols-female-author-male-pseudonym
The Deep Rooted Sexism In Literary Awards: https://thinkprogress.org/the-deep-rooted-sexism-in-literary-awards-9b4f49c7f9e3#.14cmjvy9p
Publishing and Prejudice: 5 Female Writers Weigh in on Sexism in the Literary World: http://brooklynbased.com/blog/2013/11/15/publishing-and-prejudice-5-female-writers-weigh-in-on-sexism-in-the-literary-world/
The Ethics of Organ Transplantation: A Brief History: http://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/2012/03/mhst1-1203.html
A year after face transplant, man says he is 'feeling great' – video: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2016/aug/24/face-transplant-patrick-hardison-video