Approaches to Teaching Shelley's Frankenstein (Approaches to Teaching World Literature Series #33)by Stephen C. Behrendt (Editor), Anne K. Mellor, Anne Kostelanetz Mellor (Consultant), Joseph Gibaldi (Editor)
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is both a literary work very much rooted in its age and a cultural artifact that transcends period. "Undeniably one of the great and influential works of the English Romantic period," writes the editor, Stephen C. Behrendt, the novel provides "an excellent vehicle for introducing students to the complexities of Romantic art and thought."
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is both a literary work very much rooted in its age and a cultural artifact that transcends period. "Undeniably one of the great and influential works of the English Romantic period," writes the editor, Stephen C. Behrendt, the novel provides "an excellent vehicle for introducing students to the complexities of Romantic art and thought." At the same time, as this volume demonstrates, Frankenstein is often studied in college and secondary school courses focusing not on Romanticism but on science fiction, Gothic fiction, women's literature, or film and popular culture. The book, like others in the MLA's Approaches to Teaching World Literature series, is divided into two parts. The first part, "Materials," reviews editions of Frankenstein, discusses reference and critical works and recommended reading for students, and lists selected film versions of the novel. In the second part, "Approaches," instructors present classroom strategies for teaching the novel. The essays are divided into four groupings: general issues (e.g., choosing a text, gender and pedagogy, language and style), contexts of study (e.g., biography, Romanticism), course contexts (e.g., science fiction, women's studies, composition), and Frankenstein and film.
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One of the challenges of a contemporary instructor of young adults is to make literature written for a textually oriented, philosophically literate, and slower paced society of yesteryear available to a visually oriented body of readers today whose textual communication of choice is the 140 character eliptically coded sound bite. Behrendt has accumulated some very effective resources for just that. Her text is an extremely useful reference that puts supporting materials and classroom exercises at your fingertips. The many contributors to this volume offer case studies that show students from a variety of typical disciplines and educational levels engaging with the story. The samplings are numerous and offer clearly applied current critical approaches from which to ground the reading, discussion, and writing. Many of the projects, particularly the letter writing exercise contributed by Art Young, can be easily adapted to an internet format by opening a blog or chat for the purpose. The annotated lists of supporting materials and sources for both the instructor and students represent months of preparation for the instructor who is not a Shelly specialist but who is incorporating the novel into a more generalized class on writing, film, or humaities. Certainly, the twenty films briefly reviewed allow an informed set of visual options from which to construct a bridge for the more visually and orally situated students of today. This text, along with a quality edition of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, can make the Frankenstein unit an enjoyable experience for both instructor and student.