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The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein by…

The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein (original 1995; edition 1995)

by Theodore Roszak (Author)

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238871,711 (3.16)7
Title:The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein
Authors:Theodore Roszak (Author)
Info:Random House (1995), Edition: 1st, 425 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Theodore Roszak (1995)



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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
First of all, let me say that this novel is well written (although a bit repetitive). The male author produces a very believable female voice which is distinct from the voice of the persnickety “editor” – not many authors can do that.

Readers of many books, for example Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Mists of Avalon” will be familiar with the Druidic concept of “The Great Marriage”, “Marriage With the Land”, or “The Sacred Marriage” as Dan Brown calls it in “The DaVinci Code”. In this novel, Baroness Frankenstein, mother of Victor and adopted mother of Elizabeth tries to indoctrinate her pre-teen step-siblings into the Druidic mysteries / tantric sex rites / alchemical ceremonies to further “The Great Work” of “The Chymical Marriage”. So, the author describes in great detail how these two kids are encouraged and instructed in how to perform these esoteric sex acts while the adult teachers look on. Somehow this was supposed to further alchemical outcomes, like producing the philosopher’s stone, but I never understood that part.

Elizabeth’s journal tells how she was systematically brainwashed and raped over and over again at the direction of her mother. Think this description is too harsh, that it was in the name of religion and divine mysteries? Just imagine that the leader was the father instead. Not many books offend me, but this one did.
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  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
Not too bad on its own merits, I guess, but it doesn't mesh well with the original novel. There isn't a single mention of Justine or her death, despite how anguished Elizabeth seemed to be over it in "Frankenstein." There isn't even a single mention of Victor's little brother, William, who was strangled by the Monster. In this novel, the Monster apparently didn't kill anyone. There is also not a single mention of Victor's boyhood friend, Clerval.

Those were three important figures in the original novel, all killed by the Monster, and NONE of them figure in this novel... not even a single mention of their names. The author mentions Victor's other brother, but not the one that died. I found that disappointing. ( )
  VincentDarlage | Jan 30, 2015 |

Won the 1995 Tiptree Award. I wasn't quite sure what to expect; it's not terribly closely related to Shelley's own Frankenstein (and I'm baffled by the numerous online reviews whining that it's not a "sequel" - most of the book is set before the action of the original novel, so if anything it would be a prequel; but in reality it is an extended meditation on the character of Elizabeth Frankenstein and what might have shaped her life and Victor's to their date with destiny. It provides an unexpected background of the creation of the monster in the obsession of the senior Baroness Frankenstein with alchemy, and her manipulation of Elizabeth (who is presented as Victor's adopted sister, as well as his eventual wife) and Victor as part of her own grand plan, which inevitably grinds to a halt against Victor's interest in science rather than alchemy, though he shares the goal of creating a new form of life (and indeed is more successful). Poor Elizabeth is nastily manipulated by everyone, though I was amused by the outraged scholarly apparatus purportedly provided by an older Robert Walton (who, as everyone forgets, is the narrator of the framing story in Shelley). Inevitably one must compare with Mists of Avalon, which is the same sort of book (reframing of familiar legendary material through perspective of an alternative, more female-centred and largely fictional belief system). I think Roszak is a bit more disciplined than Bradley, but is also drawing on a smaller canvas which may make that easier. ( )
  nwhyte | Jul 20, 2014 |
I originally picked up this book because Roszak's FLICKER is one of the best books I have ever read...I am still in awe of it. Incidentally, I am also a huge fan of Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN after reading it for school and falling in love with the haunting story of man and monster. You would think this book was tailor-made for me, consider its feminist take on a classic tale as it attempts to shed light on the story of Elizabeth Lavenza, Frankenstein's paramour. In reality, the book ends up being kind of okay. The writing, as I said before, is stellar and crisp, almost as precise as a scalpel, and because of this Elizabeth does feel like a fully-realized counterpart to the famous Dr. Frankenstein. However, the book doesn't really follow the original FRANKENSTEIN narrative so closely which was of some disappointment to me. No mention of Justine or other plot points that chilled me to the bone from the original novel left me a bit deflated, but I hoped Roszak would have something better in store because of this. But instead of transcending the original (a daunting task, admittedly), a new world of witchcraft the author introduces with meticulous detail manages to feel excessive and insufficient at the same time. The issue of sexuality, while strongly utilized, felt a bit "much" by the end. I'm no prude, but I felt like a lot of the sexual content could have been pared down for the same effect. I think it's safe to say that this book isn't sexy so much as graphic graphic GRAPHIC. The most exciting pages were the last fifty, which is such a shame because they should come so much earlier in the story than they do. Those final pages made this book worthwhile, but just barely as a devout Roszak and FRANKENSTEIN fan. ( )
  marthaearly | Jun 6, 2014 |
Tiptree winner 1995 ( )
  SChant | May 2, 2013 |
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Book description
This is the sensual stor that Mary Shelley dared not write. A deep bond is forged between Elizabeth Lavenza and her foster brother, Victor Frankenstein. But when their union shatters, it throws Victor into a dark, secret life.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679437320, Hardcover)

The premise of this emotionally wrenching novel is that Elizabeth (an orphan) and Victor Frankenstein were raised from early childhood by Victor's mother to fulfill her dream of an alchemic union that would promote the cause of "feminine" magic in a world where "masculine" science rears its arrogant head. But her plans go catastrophically awry. This is a story of extraordinary depth--respectful to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, packed with scenes of mystic rituals and sexual explorations, and above all, filled with the voice of a strong, complex woman in devastating circumstances. (And you'll love the new perspective on the monster.)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:03 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A rewrite of Mary Shelley's 19th Century horror classic, Frankenstein, from the point of view of Elizabeth, the murdered bride of Victor Frankenstein. The novel describes her life, from her gypsy origins to her "chemical" marriage to Victor, which involved mixing her menstrual blood with his semen. By the author of The Making of a Counterculture.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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