“Nature’s ‘Negative’ and the Production of Monstrosity in Frankenstein”

Helena M Feder

Abstract


Despite the lure of Alpine landscapes, Frankenstein hasn’t been taken up at length by many ecocritics. This article will examine monstrosity and acculturation in the context of Western culture’s objectification of nonhuman nature, circling back to bodies of water and the extraordinary environmental conditions of the novel’s production. Alongside explicit references to and representations of the natural world, human responses to nonhuman nature are often negatively inscribed, inversely articulated or unconscious, in culture. Reading dialectically foregrounds both types of inscription. A dialectical ecocriticism, what I am calling ecocultural materialism or an ecocultural approach, as a critical position and methodology, suggests that nonhuman nature not only encompasses and impacts human cultures, in ways that we can and cannot see, but that it also might serve as an intervention in human cultures, in ways that we both can and cannot understand.

Keywords


ecocriticism; dialectics; Frankenstein; Frankfurt Theory

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@Journal of Ecocriticism. ISSN 1916-1549