PDA

View Full Version : Was Frankenstein Jewish?


Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
12-20-2000, 09:46 AM
I saw the 1921 film The Golem (http://imdb.com/Title?0011237) for the first time recently, and noticed a similarity in the Golem and James Whale's monster in the classic Frankenstein (http://us.imdb.com/Title?0021884) a decade later.

Then I thought about the similarity in the story line: In the Golem legend, a rabbi breathes life into an unliving hunk of clay. In Ms Shelley's story, a "scientist" (with a name that at first glance "appears" to be Jewish) breathes life into an unliving hodgepodge of body parts.

So, the questions: Do we think Whale was influenced much by "The Golem?" Do we think Mary Shelly was inspired by the legend of The Golem?

I read once (somewhere) that Ms Shelly came up with the name "Frankenstein" because of Benjamin Franklin, who had been known to be an all-around smart guy.

I also saw an interview with (someone in the know) that the reasons for the excessive height on The Monster's head and the big clunky shoes were that The Monster was supposed to be huge, but Boris Karloff was only average-sized, so those things were added to enhance his height.

Eve
12-20-2000, 10:08 AM
The Golem is an ages-old Jewish legend, which may or may not have inspired Mary Shelley.

"Frankenstein" would just be considered a "Jewish name" in recent U.S. history, as so many Eastern European Jews with similar-sounding names came here within the past 150 years or so—it would not have sounded Jewish to early 19th-century Brits.

It's been a long time since I read the book—but I seem to remember that Mary Shelley's "monster" was actually quite good-looking . . .

And does this mean "Frankenberry" is Irish?

DocCathode
12-20-2000, 10:34 AM
After consulting The Frankenstein Omnibus, I can say
that there is no actual evidence Shelley based her book on the legend of the Golem. She always claimed that inspiration came to her while she was tripping on laudanum.
It's likely that she read the legend while doing research, but there are no notes.

Second, Shelley's creature was highly inteligent. He spoke French, German and Latin. He was not good looking by any stretch of the imagination. He had: "watery eyes", his skin was a dessicated-yellow and was stretched too tight over his frame. Bernie Wrightson did a series of illustrations that were accurate.

As for the doctor's religion, it seems unlikely that he was Jewish. To begin with, he violates religious law by desecrating corpses. He also marries a girl who is essentially an adopted sister. This also violates Jewish law. Lastly, the description of William's funeral does not fit that of a traditional Jewish ceremony.

IzzyR
12-20-2000, 10:54 AM
Originally posted by DocCathode
He also marries a girl who is essentially an adopted sister. This also violates Jewish law.This is not correct. (Adoptions have no bearing on religious law).

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
12-20-2000, 11:30 AM
As far as I can remember Shelley's character was Swiss, and
since there are many instances of characters being referred to or addressed as "M(onsieur) X", I'm forced to conclude
that he was French speaking also.

Fretful Porpentine
12-20-2000, 11:54 AM
FWIW, in the first (1818) edition of Frankenstein, Victor marries his first cousin. Mary Shelley changed her to an unrelated adopted sister in a later edition.

Lamia
12-20-2000, 12:11 PM
Originally posted by Eve

It's been a long time since I read the book—but I seem to remember that Mary Shelley's "monster" was actually quite good-looking . . .


No, he was ugly, but the good doctor had attempted to make him good-looking. The monster had long black hair (like a Romantic poet I guess) and, if memory serves, good teeth. Unfortunately this couldn't hide the fact that he was made of dead skin.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
12-20-2000, 03:45 PM
I got the Wrightson-illustrated version of Frankenstein.

I can recommend it to all the SD Posters.
I only wish it was a hard-cover, bound in leather. (I got the trade paperback edition.)

rowrrbazzle
12-20-2000, 04:26 PM
Originally posted by Mjollnir
I read once (somewhere) that Ms Shelly came up with the name "Frankenstein" because of Benjamin Franklin, who had been known to be an all-around smart guy.In 1814 the Shelleys traveled through Germany. According to this page (http://blitz21.com/frankenstein/legends.html) and a Discovery Channel program, it's plausible the Shelleys visited the Burgstasse region on a boat trip and saw the real Castle Frankenstein. If they did, they might have heard about an alchemist named Dipple. He was born at the castle, the child of servants, I believe. As an adult he lived at the castle and was rumored to be experimenting with body parts.

Dr. Rieux
12-20-2000, 06:55 PM
I remember the story about the real Castle Frankenstein and Konrad Dipple from Radu Florescu's book, "In Search of Frankenstein" (1975?). The castle stands on a hill outside Darmstadt, IIRC.

pldennison
12-20-2000, 07:51 PM
Originally posted by Dr. Rieux
I remember the story about the real Castle Frankenstein and Konrad Dipple from Radu Florescu's book, "In Search of Frankenstein" (1975?). The castle stands on a hill outside Darmstadt, IIRC.

My family was stationed in Darmstadt from 1976-79, and visited the castle frequently. Little was left of it; the passage of time and Allied war bombings took their toll. I think some restoration has since been done. What I do remember is that a kick-ass Halloween pageant used to be held there every year.

SpinneZiege
12-20-2000, 08:10 PM
I seem to remember reading that Shelley came up with Frankenstein during a weekend getaway with her friends, a ghost story told around the campfire. Only later did she write the whole thing and publish it into a novel.

Personally, I've been a fan of some of her other stuff. Anyone here ever read the "Masque of Anarchy"?

pezwookiee
12-21-2000, 12:48 AM
To find out more about the writing of "Frankenstein" and Mary Shelley tripping out with her buddies, check out the movie "Haunted Summer." It has Bill S. Preston, Esq. in it!!!

Arnold Winkelried
12-21-2000, 04:58 AM
Originally posted by javaman
As far as I can remember Shelley's character was Swiss, and
since there are many instances of characters being referred to or addressed as "M(onsieur) X", I'm forced to conclude
that he was French speaking also.

Yes, Dr. Victor Frankenstein was from Geneva, which is in the french-speaking part of Switzerland.

ElvisL1ves
12-21-2000, 08:51 AM
Was the monster Jewish? I dunno; did the Doc sew ALL the parts back on or not?

Spoke
12-21-2000, 09:38 AM
Originally posted by pezwookiee
To find out more about the writing of "Frankenstein" and Mary Shelley tripping out with her buddies, check out the movie "Haunted Summer." It has Bill S. Preston, Esq. in it!!!

The movie Gothic (http://us.imdb.com/Title?0091142) is also based upon Mary Shelley's trippy escapades.

Ukulele Ike
12-21-2000, 10:19 AM
Originally posted by zgystardst
If they did, they might have heard about an alchemist named Dipple.

Well, thank god she went the the castle name.

I can't imagine a Hollywood Horror Dynasty built on the name "Dipple."

DIPPLE (1931)
THE BRIDE OF DIPPLE (1935)
THE SON OF DIPPLE (1939)
THE GHOST OF DIPPLE (1941)
DIPPLE MEETS THE WOLF MAN (1942)
THE HOUSE OF DIPPLE (1944)
ABBOTT AND COSTELL0 MEET DIPPLE (1948)

Plus all the rest: THE HORROR OF DIPPLE, DIPPLE MUST BE DESTROYED, DIPPLE AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL...

Polycarp
12-21-2000, 10:24 AM
I recall reading somewhere (Brian Aldiss?) that Mary Shelley had in fact read a book of Jewish folklore including one or more golem stories shortly before writing Frankenstein. But I have no proof of this.

Regarding the OP, however:

"Was Frankenstein Jewish?"

--Yes, in part(s). :D

Arnold Winkelried
12-21-2000, 11:54 AM
Polycarp, it pains me to see you commit the common error made when discussing Mary Shelley's novel.

The joke should go "Was Frankenstein’s monster Jewish"?

pldennison
12-21-2000, 11:59 AM
Uke, you overlooked a very important offering from that ouvre:

BLACKENDIPPLE (1973)

Ukulele Ike
12-21-2000, 12:05 PM
Thanks, Phil...I also missed that classic exploitation movie, I WAS A TEENAGE DIPPLE.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
12-21-2000, 02:15 PM
Originally posted by Ukulele Ike
Thanks, Phil...I also missed that classic exploitation movie, I WAS A TEENAGE DIPPLE.

Ike, I'm sure you were a Teenage Dipple. In fact, nobody who knows you would doubt it for a minute. :p

Best Topics: seabee tatoo rubber match origins unrippable paper anesthetists pronunciation meclizine sleep aid jarred olives lablue family fire ebay max bid network decay cvr ltr japan baseball fight remembering charlie morecraft amazon cis long ear buds egg sucker tony danza shirtless [email protected] generator floating neutral msdos font change jar calculator tires nails escorts incall outcall walk sadly jane doe origin airborne hiv acetaminophen abbreviation winston soft pack thermostat lockbox jet formations triops tank paul simon obvious child how to cut iron pipe why does breaking your neck kill you does vodka evaporate in the freezer how to play taps on bugle best spray for rusted bolts is dom deluise dead nature abhors a vacuum far side this is why we don't have nice things dutch ovens urban dictionary shanna hoarders after the show pt cruiser front license plate holder why does drinking cause hiccups what does ;-p mean what are cinderella's step sisters names does home depot sell wood pallets miconazole nitrate dog ear infection old gas in lawn mower parliament (cigarette) can a restraining order be appealed girl never initiates text how to play craps in the hood what is an ebay watcher riding in a helicopter roaches after heavy rain sleep for 20 hours ac dc message board albania albania you border on the adriatic simply wearing a lap-and-shoulder belt combination can cut your chance of being killed by martin saturday night live book on the constitution what happened to ted the caver funny 12 days of christmas how to say happy birthday in italian to a woman