Cold War Frankenstein

Posted on 1st October 2013 by simonbeattie

Frankenstein (1818), Mary Shelley’s seminal novel, had to wait a long time before it finally appeared in Russian, published in Moscow in 1965, translated by Zinaida Aleksandrova.  But the date of its appearance makes it all the more interesting.  In the long introductory preface by Anna Elistratova, a leading Russian authority on English Romanticism (her works included Bairon, 1956; Robert Berns, 1957; and Uil’iam Bleik, 1957), we find this assessment of why Russian readers should take notice: ‘In the age of cybernetics, atomic energy and nuclear weapons Mary Shelley has become particularly topical.  References to Frankenstein are frequently to be found in today’s periodicals, articles on current affairs, and speeches by politicians in Britain and the USA.  The image of Frankenstein has begun to be associated with the problems of the modern world …’ (pp. 22–3).

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