Sunday, June 17, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 20 (Mary Shelley)

Frankenstein
Shelley, Mary
Frankenstein

I am not sure where I bought this. There are three possibilities: The UB campus bookstore, Talking Leaves...Books, or St. Mark's Bookshop.

I am pretty sure I bought it for a course in graduate school called something like "Literature & Film." Most of the course books I bought were sold at Talking Leaves, but there were a few professors who didn't bother to support the local, independent bookstore, and chose instead to sell their books through Barnes & Noble.

I didn't like the professor for this course, so I assume he had no sense of responsibility to local businesses and therefore ordered his books at B&N. This is a purely subjective judgment and may have no basis in fact.

The latter possibility, that I bought it at St. Mark's, is suggested by the presence of a St. Mark's bookmark tucked into page 29. It's possible, then, that I already owned the book when I arrived in Buffalo and then used it for the course. I have a vague recollection of having intended to read this book for a number of years and not getting around to it until I took this course in graduate school.

It was a terrible class. We basically read the book, then watched the movie. The professor would give a definition of the film's genre, usually taken verbatim from Northrop Fry, and then explain how the film was either an exemplar, an apotheosis, or a radical criticism of the genre so defined.

My friend Taylor Brady sat next to me for the first two classes, then decided it was time to drop it. I wish I had followed. I had to stay because I was a master's student planning on leaving after one year and I needed the credit.

I got into some kind of dispute with the professor about the workload. I took the course on an option that required less work because I wasn't that interested. He insisted there was no point in this and that I should take the full work option. I refused and he punished me by giving me an A- for the course, the only one of my grad school career.

Yeah, he definitely ordered the books at B&N. He was that kind of guy.

I am still uncertain whether or not I have actually read this book. I know I have read part of it. The film is so etched into my head that I remember few if any of the images my mind produced in the reading of the book.

from Frankenstein


Fear not that I shall be the instrument of future mischief. My work is nearly complete. Neither yours nor any man's death is needed to consummate the series of my being, and accomplish that which must be done; but it requires my own. Do not think that I shall be slow to perform this sacrifice. I shall quit your vessel on the iceraft which brought me thither, and shall seek the most northern extremity of the globe; I shall collect my funeral pile and consume to ashes this miserable frame, that its remains may afford no light to any curious and unhallowed wretch who would create such another as I have been. I shall die. I shall no longer feel the agonies which now consume me, or be the prey of feelings unsatisfied, yet unquenched. He is dead who called me into being; and when I shall be no more the very remembrance of us both will speedily vanish. I shall no longer see the sun or stars, or feel the winds play on my cheeks. Light, feeling, and sense will pass away; and in this condition must I find my happiness. Some years ago, when the images which this world affords first opened upon me, when I felt the cheering warmth of summer, and heard the rustling of the leaves and the warbling of the birds, and these were all to me, I should have wept to die; now it is my only consolation. Polluted by crimes, and torn by the bitterest remorse, where can I find rest but in death?

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