By: John Lauritsen Pagan Press 230 pages CA$17 + S&H
Even before publication, gay historian John Lauritsen's The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein had already ruffled feathers in the academic aviary with its contention that Percy Shelley, one of England's greatest poets, wrote the anonymous horror classic traditionally attributed to the teenage girl he left his wife for – and that "male love is the dominant theme" of Frankenstein.
Reviewing the thesis of Shelley scholar Phyllis Zimmerman's 1998 book Shelley's Fiction, Lauritsen champions Zimmerman's persuasive case that the classic story is wholly or largely the poet's work. And he demonstrates that throughout that complex story, there are tentative, sometimes confused, sometimes coded, approaches to the Abominable and Unmentionable Crime – early and inchoate murmurs of what, over half a century later, would become the emerging homosexual voice.
Traditional and feminist scholars will be scandalized by this revisionist study. But anyone who loves the greatest monster story of them all will find The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein engaging – and intriguing.