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The Frankenstein of 1790 and Other Lost Chapters from Revolutionary France Hardcover – September 27, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“Julia V. Douthwaite succeeds admirably in showing the interrelations between history and literature and introduces the reader to a long-neglected body of works. By showing the role of Revolutionary fiction and its reinterpretation by later writers, this important book fills a significant gap in the history of literature.”
(Marie-Helene Huet, Princeton University )

“In this meticulously researched, carefully argued, and beautifully written book, Professor Douthwaite shows us why we should care about the neglected literature that came out of France from the fall of the Bastille to Napoleon’s coronation. Whereas most scholars of the French Revolution focus on its origins or course, Douthwaite concentrates on its consequences, locating its imprint on literature and culture from the early nineteenth century to our own day. Her skillful use of archival sources as well as printed texts and images, combined with her trenchant historiographical interventions and brilliant contextual readings, make The Frankenstein of 1790 a model of interdisciplinary scholarship.”
(Ronald Schechter, College of William and Mary )

“This book offers eye-opening revelations about French fiction in the Revolutionary period, not least the rediscovery of a parable about an inventor named Frankenstein and his life-size artificial man, published more than a quarter century before Mary Shelley’s famous novel. Moreover, in a series of inspired chapter codas, Douthwaite shows the subsequent importance for literary history—both in France and in England—of the now-neglected 1790s novels on which she focuses. The Frankenstein of 1790 will be of enormous interest to any student of the French Revolution’s literary legacies.”
(James Chandler, University of Chicago )

About the Author

Julia V. Douthwaite is professor of French at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of Exotic Women: Literary Heroines and Cultural Strategies in Ancien Régime France and The Wild Girl, Natural Man, and the Monster: Dangerous Experiments in the Age of Enlightenment, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.

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More About the Author

I am a professor at the University of Notre Dame, mother of two, wife of one, and mistress of a cat and a dog. Although I was born and raised in Seattle, WA, I have a passion for all things French! French ideas, people, literature, history, films, and politics. And the French language, of course.
Each of my books has drawn inspiration from my life and times, as viewed through the prism of French literature and history. My first book (1992), conceived during the heyday of feminism, staged paired readings of novels by women and men to explore the status of the exotic Other. My second book (2002), partly inspired by the experience of raising two young boys, tells the stories of real-life "wild children" found in the woods, as well as theories of perfectibility in the 18th century. My latest book, "The Frankenstein of 1790 and Other Lost Chapters from Revolutionary France" (2012), was inspired by memories of growing up in the midst of a political family during the civil rights era, to show how politics forms our imaginations. It relates five events from the French Revolution through the prism of journalism, fiction, caricature, and works by later authors such as Mary Shelley, Balzac, Flaubert, and L. Frank Baum.
A French edition, entitled "Le Frankenstein français et la littérature de l'ère révolutionnaire," is in preparation.
After launching the Amnesty International DIGNITY exhibit at UND in 2012, an edited volume, "Art in the Service of Humanity: Rousseau and DIGNITY," is underway.
Inspired by the 826 National network, I enjoy helping kids in South Bend discover the joy of writing via the Upward Bound program (summer academy on the ND campus, 2012 and 2013) and a little class for kids ages 7-13 called "Write YOUR Story," offered for free at the Saint Joseph County Public Library.

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The Frankenstein of 1790 and Other Lost Chapters from Revolutionary France
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