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Forbidden Planet, Frankenstein, and the atomic age
Dennis R. Perry

While Forbidden Planet draws on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with science standing in for magic, an equally important source during this time of atomic paranoia is Frankenstein, which exposes the Cold War context during the mid-1950s, tying Forbidden Planet to other films concerned with the contemporary debate on how atomic power is to be controlled, and who is to control it. This is a problem Forbidden Planet’s Krell race neglected to consider, and it led to their annihilation. This essay makes a case for the importance of Frankenstein and its popular-culture progeny as important intertexts of Forbidden Planet in terms of the ties between Frankenstein and his monster, atomic scientists and theirs, and Morbius and his id monster. All three pairs embody variants of a process associated with information networks called feedback loops, in these cases connecting creators and creations.

in Adapting Frankenstein
Frankenstein, neo-Victorian fiction, and the palimpsestuous literary past
Jamie Horrocks

Examining two pieces of revisionary historiographic metafiction, Peter Ackroyd’s The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein and Paul Di Filippo’s ‘Hottentots’, this essay suggests that the special relationship existing between neo-Victorian fiction and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein owes a great deal to the manner in which adaptation functions in both. Neo-Victorian fiction, which places nineteenth-century characters and tropes within retrofuturistic settings, relies on the principle of the palimpsest. In a palimpsestuous multiple texts remain visible within the primary text, which re-visions earlier pieces of literature in much the same way that adaptations of Shelley’s novel do. Di Filippo’s and Ackroyd’s texts – both of which allude to, appropriate, or adapt Shelley’s Frankenstein – demonstrate how the ‘hideous progeny’ of Mary Shelley’s imagination becomes an embodiment of the palimpsestuous narrative production central to both neo-Victorian fiction and adaptation.

in Adapting Frankenstein
Frankenstein meets H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘Herbert West – Reanimator’
Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

In the contexts of Gothic texts as ‘corpse producing machines’ and the new post-humanist understandings of the significance of objects, commodities, and things, this essay explores Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and H.P. Lovecraft’s campy ‘Herbert West – Reanimator’ in terms of the way some bodies have always been closer to death and to thing-hood than others. It further prompts a question ignored in Frankenstein – do West’s mindlessly cannibalistic reanimated zombies have souls? According to Lovecraft’s infamous racist screed, West’s reanimations are alive only in the sense that the inhabitants of the New York slums are alive. Hence, both stories demonstrate that some bodies are considered more alive – less thing-like – than others, complicating the posthumanist ‘democracy of objects’ perspective.

in Adapting Frankenstein
Adapting Mary Shelley’s monster in superhero comic books
Joe Darowski

This chapter offers a brief history of Frankenstein adaptations in the comic book industry before examining three 1968 issues of The X-Men comic book series written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Don Heck. The first issue features the X-Men battling Frankenstein’s monster, but despite explicit references to Mary Shelley’s book and the presence of the monster, it bears little thematic or narrative connection to the original text. However, the subsequent two issues features an antagonist called Grotesk, the Sub-Human, and this story contains many more affinities with Shelley’s text. This chapter suggests that the influence of Frankenstein is surprisingly pervasive in the Marvel Universe.

in Adapting Frankenstein
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Graphic children’s texts and the twenty-first-century monster
Jessica Straley

This chapter traces the evolution of the Frankenstein Monster’s image in children’s literature, particularly recent picture books by Jennifer Adams and Allison Oliver, Keith Graves, Patrick McDowell, and Neil Numberman and a film directed by Tim Burton. These texts reveal both the conflict between Gothic fiction and children’s literature as well as the conflation of the two modes in modern conceptions of the child as monster. In so doing, they engage the child’s anxiety about monstrosity, naughtiness, and aberrant desire; while some texts seek to tame and to normalise the monster’s unruly body, reassuring readers that abnormality is only temporary, Graves’s Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance and Burton’s Frankenweenie celebrate the enduring deviance and wonderful weirdness that continue to constitute monster and child alike.

in Adapting Frankenstein
The representation of incest in children’s literature
Alice Mills

The chapter draws attention to the extreme unspeakability of incest in children's literature and the rarity of texts either literally or symbolically dealing with the topic. It analyses Crew and Scott’s picture story book, In My Father’s Room (2000), in terms of the Bluebeard fairy tale, with close attention to ways of seeing and being seen. This disturbing text (marketed as a book for young children) plays a father’s love for his daughter, manifested in his secret story-writing, against the Bluebeard story of secrecy, multiple sexual partners and murder. The boundaries of the unspeakable in literature for children have changed markedly in the post-war era, particularly in terms of problem novels for a young adult readership; but picture story books for younger readers remain almost uniformly committed to a depiction of the loving nuclear family with mother, father and child or children, where childhood naughtiness is the worst evil that can be encountered; incestuous behaviours by a father are barely mentionable and the incestuous mother unthinkable.

in Incest in contemporary literature
The crisis of masculinity in Ian McEwan’s early fiction
Justine Gieni

Ian McEwan’s early fiction delves into the dark drives and desires of ordinary men and women, revealing disturbing realities about the human psyche. McEwan’s psychological probing of deeply disturbed characters reveals how it is often the mundane feelings of inadequacy or failure that compel seemingly ‘normal’ people to commit horrific acts of sexual violence. Within selected short stories in First Love, Last Rites (1975) and In Between the Sheets (1978), and his first novelThe Cement Garden (1978), McEwan horrifies his audience by representing insidious evils that occur through the actions and in the minds of seemingly ordinary men. Reading McEwan’s portrayals of ‘manliness’ is shocking and disturbing not only in his portrayals of rape and incest, but also in the seemingly normal occurrence of sadomasochism, produced and supported by traditional gender relationships.

in Incest in contemporary literature
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Ethical virtue in Iris Murdoch’s The Black Prince (1973) and Simone de Beauvoir’s The Mandarins (1954)
Miles Leeson

This chapter will be twofold. Firstly an examination of the narrative place of incest within both Murdoch’s and de Beauvoir’s work and questioning the role of the ephebophilic attitudes of the central male characters to the younger, less experienced Julian Baffin (The Black Prince, 1973) and Nadine Dubreuilh (The Mandarins, 1954). Both of these texts are informed by philosophical idea of the virtuous and it seems clear that Murdoch takes much from de Beauvoir’s earlier novel. The structure of Murdoch’s work is far more relaxed and this is clearly seen in the style that Murdoch presents us with the sexual relations of the characters whereas de Beauvoir’s work aims to bring the reader to a better understanding of the underlying existentialist position. Is love debased by both Murdoch and de Beauvoir via the taboo of incest to heighten the eventual outcomes of the respective novels or does it form a signifying position that point us toward a new moral reality that developed after the Second World War?

Little work has been produced relating these two authors to the other and a reassessment of their work is both timely and necessary.

in Incest in contemporary literature
Creative women and daydreaming in Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels (2008)
Emma V. Miller

Since its release in 2008 as a Young Adult (YA) text, Tender Morsels has been subject to widespread praise and censure. In reviews and reading groups it has been criticised by adults (including educators), as well its target audience of fourteen plus readers, for containing circumstances too challenging and traumatic for young readers; and with incestuous sexual abuse and gang rape in the first few pages it is easy to see why that has been the case. By juxtaposing the dominant psychoanalytic theories of literary criticism, with the fairytale retellings by feminist authors from the 1970s to the present time, as well as key second wave feminist texts like Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949) and Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will (1975), this novel can be seen to not only challenge the prevalence of a ‘real’ feminism in our literary criticism, but also in the Western world at large.

in Incest in contemporary literature
The case of Pier Paolo Pasolini
Michael Mack

This chapter focuses on Pasolini's film Edipe Re (1967), his love poem to his mother, and his play Affabulacione (1966). The latter is concerned with a father who turns into a jealous lover of his son. He is so possessive of his son that he ends up killing the son. A reversal of Oedipus and Sophocles' ghost is a key character in the play. Thus Affublacione or Fabrications problematizes incest as a gay reversal of the Oedipus complex. The crucial point is that the reversal of Oedipus in Pasolini's play Affabulacione is Oedipal too: it is premised on the desire for power and the power of desire. Art and psychoanalysis here meet politics. The political aspect of mental life and its deceptive representations are also pertinent for a better understanding of Pasolini’s early films, Mamma Roma (1962) and Accatone (1961).

in Incest in contemporary literature