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Reflections of a working writer and reader



More Loose Ends Than A Grass Skirt

Germaine Greer on who wrote Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus?

Literature courses in the US are oddly skewed towards novels because few undergraduates are required to read any poetry. If Lauritsen had read a sufficient quantity of poetry, he would know better than to state that the monster’s famous statement that he will “glut the maw of death” by killing all those whom Frankenstein loves, is pure Shelley, because it is, of course, pure Milton (Paradise Lost, Book 10).

Was it Mary or Percy? Germaine thinks Mary must have written it; after all, it’s so bad . . .

2 Responses to “More Loose Ends Than A Grass Skirt”

  1. Well, as usual Greer is being provocative, and in danger of tying herself up in knots, but she’s not really saying that women write rubbish, she’s just using Lauritsen’s assumption against him to undermine his thesis:

    ‘The logic goes something like this: Frankenstein is a masterpiece; masterpieces are not written by self-educated girls and therefore Frankenstein cannot have been written by Mary Shelley. If Frankenstein is not a masterpiece, the thesis collapses.’

    jb says: Yes, that’s how I understood it, Elizabeth. I also don’t mind Germaine being provocative. She does it well.

  2. I took the point of the paragraph to be that there’s someone teaching English literature (Lauritsen) who doesn’t know the basics of English literature (Milton). As to what you claim to be her opinion on who wrote Frankenstein, she says no such thing. I don’t think it’s Germaine who’s being provocative here, John.

    jb says: Germaine is taking Lauritsen to task for trying to rewrite literary history around his own sympathies.