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Biographical Criticism

The definition of biographical criticism and how it applies to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Alaura Filbin

on 7 November 2012

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Transcript of Biographical Criticism

Alaura Filbin
Mrs. Bosch
AP English 12
7 November 2012 Biographical Criticism Biographical Criticism The piece is analyzed for relevance to the author's psychology or biographical data, how it pertains to the author. The ways that age, race, gender, family, education, economic status, and time period may affect the writer's work. How the piece may reflect personality characteristics, life experiences, and psychological dynamics is also considered. Mary Shelley Important People: Samuel Johnson Common Questions Works Cited 30 August 1797 - 1 February 1851
Author of Frankenstein
Daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, advocates of feminism
Educated by her father
Ran away with poet Percy Shelley in 1814 and married him in 1816
Gave birth to 4 children, miscarried 1 and only 1 survived to adulthood
Percy Shelley died in 1822
Wrote a total of 7 novels and a multitude of other works http://www.neabigread.org/teachers_guides/lesson_plans/dickinson_lessons/dickinson_lesson_two.pdf http://www.textetc.com/criticism.html http://people.brandeis.edu/~teuber/shelleybio.html Researched authors and accounts of their lives to understand nuances in their work What facts about the author’s life suggest ideas in the work? Did anything that happened to the author effect his or her themes or choice of subject matter?
What was/is the author’s world view? Which of the author’s beliefs seem reflected in their story?
What commentary on the story did the author make? Does it point to ideas in the story? More Questions What world view was typical of the author’s time? What aspects of this world view seem prevalent in this story or character? Does the author seem to accept or rebel against this world view?
How did people respond to the author’s works and life?
What ideas did people find in the author’s works and life? http://www.cla.purdue.edu/blackmon/engl360k/critical.html#bio Weaknesses Tendency to equate the work's content with the author's life
Less than credible sources of information that tend to be speculative or controversial Strengths Insight into author's psychology when the piece was written
Connects aspects of the story to author's life, personal views, and surroundings Quote #1 "I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel." Quote #2 "This was then the reward of my benevolence! I had saved a human being from destruction, and as a recompense I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound which shattered the flesh and bone. The feelings of kindness and gentleness which I had entertained but a few moments before gave place to hellish rage and gnashing of teeth. Inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind." http://www.shmoop.com/frankenstein/quotes.html Quote #3 "My departure was therefore fixed at an early date, but before the day resolved upon could arrive, the first misfortune of my life occurred--an omen, as it were, of my future misery. [...] On the third day my mother sickened; her fever was accompanied by the most alarming symptoms, and the looks of her medical attendants prognosticated the worst event. On her deathbed the fortitude and benignity of this best of women did not desert her. [...] "But these are not thoughts befitting me; I will endeavour to resign myself cheerfully to death and will indulge a hope of meeting you in another world." "
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