Keys to Understanding Frankenstein found in
     Sample Advertisements of To a Candid World

     As explained in Origin of the Vitebsk Story, the larger
type in the advertisements indicates that the information is
directly related to something in the text of the Vitebsk Story
on the opposite page. Bold type enables the reader to quickly
identify  material on the advertisement page helpful to
understanding a particular reference in the story. There are
seventy-three advertisements in To a Candid World. Two,
however, are unlike the examples that are seen here. They
contain Mary Shelley's preface and the parable of the ship's
master. Each of the following examples of advertisements
is accompanied by a link to a print version of that advertise-
ment. This provides a means of printing those pages that are
of interest, without having to print preceding pages.  An
examination of the index to the advertisements at the link on
the main page allows for survey of the topics of advertisements
not seen here.
All of the advertisements are the work of the advertisement
editor, Tom Wolfsehr, 1998.

[Brentano]                                     [To a Candid World Menu]
[Morning Chronicle]                          [Main Page Menu]
[Name Us]
[The Parable of the Ship's Master]
[Machine or Monument]
[Der Teufel is German for The Devil]
[So Strange a Vehicle]
[Verisimilitude of Proximate Cause]
[The Waltons]
[The Slip before The Fall]
[Unintended Viciousness]
["Ich bin's nit! Ich bin's nit!"]
[Connect the Dots]
[Ciceroman Question]

                             Brentano        [Print Version]
                  A d v e r t i s e m e n t
     According to its preface, the purpose of Frankenstein or The
Modern Prometheus is to involve the reader in the process of
liberating the things that matter most from the tyranny of the things
that matter less. Boundaries appear from the outset, identifying the
things that matter most and describing how those things relate to
things that matter less. For example, Mary Shelley does not believe
that it is physically possible that the “event” (animation of the
Creature?) could take place, but she chooses it as a means of
revealing some important things about being human. Several more
boundaries appear in the preface, which relate to the first. Shelley’s
preface is included at pages 144 &146.
There is a boundary the reader should be aware of with respect
to these advertisements. The word religion has a specific meaning
whenever it is used here, one often confused with something very
different. Religion, which comes from the Latin word for retracing
or rereading, aims at the best possible outcome. Superstition comes
from the Latin word for survivor (superstites). Survival is important,
but it is not the best that humans can attain. This important difference
is really what Frankenstein is about. A friend of a regular visitor to
Mary Shelley’s childhood home, Clemens Brentano (1778-1842),
defined religion as philosophy taught through mystery. The last
boundary in Shelley’s preface has to do with philosophy and its
opposite, prejudice, which Cicero identified as the greatest source
of evil in the world. About the same time that Cicero (106-43
B.C.E.) was pointing out the difference between superstition and
religion, Lucretius (94-55 B.C.E.) was using the word religion in
the place of the word superstition. Confusion of religion and
superstition has been a problem for thousands of years. If
Frankenstein helps restore the boundary between the two,  it is
among the most valuable books and its author is deserving of the
gratitude of the human race. (for more about this click here)
     In his entry of September 5th, Robert Walton faces
the same problem of mutiny that Henry Hudson
encountered in the Barents Sea in 1609. Agreeing to
change course, Hudson avoided further hostility from
his crew. However, on June 22, 1612, Hudson was set
adrift in James Bay by another mutinous crew, never to
be seen again.
    [To a Candid World Menu]     6     [Advertisement Menu]

                       Morning Chronicle [Print Version]
                             A d v e r t i s e m e n t
     Mary Shelley could never have written her famous novel, had
it not been for an article that appeared in a London newspaper,
Morning Chronicle, on October 20, 1794. The article was a reply
to the Terror that had begun in Scotland in the spring. A dozen men
were about to go on trial for their lives, and more trials were sure
to follow. However, after the October 20 article was reprinted
throughout the kingdom, the Terror was soon bloodlessly brought
to an end. A major target of the Terror, William Godwin survived
to father Mary Shelley. At least two of the contributors to this
volume,  Helen Hanna Wise and Peter Wolfsehr, like Mary Shelley,
would never have been born, if the Terror of 1794 had not been
     The Terror of 1794 was one of the terrible spawn of the French
Revolution, which had been applauded by some English politicians
in its early stages. American politics were also shaped by the
attraction of politicians, such as Thomas Jefferson, to revolutionary
developments in France. The need for a mate, expressed by the
Creature’s demand that Victor produce a female as hideous as
himself, has a clear parallel in the political energies of France
directed at shaping American policy.
     Edmund Burke’s Reflections on The Revolution in France
accurately predicted several of the unpleasant stages of the process
so well that readers often assume that the book was written later
than it was. Among other things, Burke predicted the rise of a
military leader, a Napoleon. The Vitebsk tradition introduces
Napoleon, famous for violating boundaries, as a reader of
Frankenstein, a book which, as pointed out on page 6, has
boundaries described in its preface. If we are concerned with the
former emperor’s behavior with respect to those boundaries, our
own behavior with regard to those boundaries may become a topic
of discussion as well. These advertisements will show that readers
generally pay little attention to the guidance Shelley provides
through the boundaries, point of view, and other means. One of the
reasons for this is that the story of Frankenstein’s creation of a
living being is seen as the most important aspect of the novel. The
relationship between Walton and his sister and her family is taken as
unimportant, a byproduct of a device used to present Victor’s tale.
The preface to Frankenstein, however, indicates that its author
believes that readers’ minds are under-utilized, that the novel is
intended as mental and moral exercise of a kind not found in most
    [To a Candid World Menu]     8      [Advertisement Menu]

                        Name Us       [Print Version]
                A d v e r t i s e m e n t
     At the end of Shelley’s novel, enervated readers think that
Victor Frankenstein is dead. Walton writes, “Margaret, what
comment can I make on the untimely extinction of this glorious
spirit?” The mentally and morally robust reader, however, steps
back five paragraphs for some pertinent information. There Uncle
Bob says that he “often thought that life [Victor’s] was entirely
extinct”. Indeed, for at least a week, Victor  has been lapsing into a
state of “apparent lifelessness”, as the robust reader finds in the
second paragraph of the entry for September 5th. The need to
review,  retrace, reread, in order to understand present possibilities,
demonstrated by such construction in Frankenstein, shows that the
novel is a religious exercise. That is, of course, religious in the
sense of the word described on page 6.  [to page 6 definition]
     The quoted letter on the opposite page is entirely consistent
with what Shelley had written up to that point. Uncle Bob is not a
doctor. He doesn’t know whether Victor is dead or alive. He often
thinks he knows something he doesn’t know, and sometimes he
thinks he knows better than a doctor. “The surgeon gave him a
composing draught, and ordered us to leave him undisturbed.” Did
we? To whom does Uncle Bob’s word “us” refer? Twice Victor
speaks to Uncle Bob, after “we” are ordered to leave. It is not
difficult to imagine what has been happening since the doctor
ordered that Victor be left alone. He falls into that state of apparent
lifelessness, each time eliciting from Uncle Bob expressions of grief,
which disturb Victor’s much needed rest. “Us” includes the
unthinking reader, the reader who has not been paying any more
attention than Uncle Bob has been paying to the real needs of the
person he has been attempting to save. Here Uncle Bob’s moral
tendency to restore Victor to health is having the opposite effect,
because his moral tendency is not being guided by what Godwin
calls “the principled use of knowledge already in hand”. This fits
with what was promised in the preface, which suggests that moral
tendencies may cause us discomfort.
     There is an advantage to the Saville family point of view with
regard to the actual end of Walton’s account. The novel is printed
and bound. Walton’s story in the Saville home is handwritten. The
reader who has not adopted the Saville point of view will not
imagine the scrutiny Uncle Bob’s letters underwent. The robust
reader will have to exercise those “untried resources of mind” to
arrive at some idea of what Walton’s story looked like before
Victor so altered it.
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         Parable of the Ship’s Master [Print Version]
                      A d v e r t i s e m e n t
    If the readers of Frankenstein have not exercised enough mental
and moral muscle to enable them to see that rescue of the Creature
is possible, it is not because Mary Shelley failed to provide
sufficient motivation or means. Dissatisfaction readers experience at
the conclusion of the novel is anticipated by the author’s preface,
which points to “moral tendencies” as the cause.   “Why would
‘moral tendencies’ expressed in sentiments or characters cause
distress?” readers might ask. Shelley understood that many readers
would assume the words “moral tendencies” really meant “immoral
tendencies”. To show that she meant exactly what she wrote, the
first story in Frankenstein is about moral tendency that outruns
reason, causing considerable distress and requiring considerable
effort to remedy. The parable of the ship’s master is included at
page 146.
    The observation that well-meaning people, following
their moral tendencies, do act destructively at times did
not first appear in Godwin’s Political Justice.  Cicero’s
De Officis mentions a book called The Destruction of
Human Life, which made the same observation two
thousand years before Godwin’s Political Justice. The
Hebrew and Greek Bibles include examples of  and
declarations of  this fact of life, as later advertisements
will show.
     At this point, it is important to call the reader’s attention to
another of the boundaries drawn in the preface to Frankenstein.
There Shelley says that no inference is justly to be drawn from the
book as prejudicing any philosophical doctrine of whatever kind.
Godwin’s observation, that moral tendencies need to be guided by
the principled use of knowledge already acquired, qualifies as such
a philosophical doctrine. When readers assume that only immoral
tendencies produce harmful effects, they violate this most important
boundary and, in doing so, shut off the way to the exhibition of the
excellence of universal virtue, which the author declares to be her
chief concern. The excellence of universal virtue is to be expressed
by the reader.
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              Machine or Monument    [Print Version]
                    A d v e r t i s e m e n t
          In the Parable of the Ship’s Master (pages 12 & 146),
domestic affection is advanced, after some difficulty, through the
agency of the hero. The parable, not only provides strong evidence
that Mary Shelley meant what she wrote in the preface, but also
suggests that, like the hero in the parable, she may have had to
distance herself from the object of her affection.  Indeed, the
unhappy Creature is left by the author in a condition rather like that
of the young woman in the parable, when she appears to have been
abandoned by the hero. The robust reader will appreciate the
possibility that Mary Shelley’s apparent abandonment is motivated
by the same interest as the hero’s in the parable. Point of view may
be as critical in understanding Shelley’s motive as it is the hero’s
and will contrast interestingly with Leonard Wolf idea of Mary’s
fear of abandonment as the impetus for the novel.
      When it was announced that Talk of the Nation’s Book Club of
the Air had selected Frankenstein for its January 1996 meeting, one
of the contributors to this volume wrote to the program’s host,
urging consideration of the preface and warning of some of the
pitfalls commonly encountered in discussions of Shelley’s famous
novel. Several contributors listened to the program, and some of
their thoughts concerning it are included in this book, beginning
with the advertisement on page 30.
     Generally speaking, the book club members either express views
that are consistent with the Saville perspective or they express
views that are consistent with Walton’s perspective. The former
requires that some parts of Walton’s account be used to determine
the significance of others. In this way,  the Savilles see something
happening of which Uncle Bob is unaware, as shown on pages 12 &
14. For the Savilles, the text is like a machine. Walton views the
text as a memorial or monument to the gifted Victor Frankenstein
and  does not see that the text has parts that may be operated to
reveal something hidden.
     We trust the reader will understand that we do not mean to be
unkind to those who express views consistent with Walton’s
perspective. We know of no one who grasps Mary Shelley’s
machinery of universal virtue and operates it successfully from the
outset. As Godwin explains in Political Justice, such understanding
requires repeated trial and review.  We do not assume that the
Waltonian expressions of some of the book club members
necessarily reflect their views today or will tomorrow.

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          Der Teufel is German for the Devil
                       A d v e r t i s e m e n t    [Print Version]
          Means of suppressing a book vary. Thomas Paine’s Rights
of Man was outlawed, and booksellers who sold that book were
arrested. The head of government, Mr. Pitt, argued that such a
measure was not necessary with Godwin’s Enquiry Concerning
Political Justice. In effect, Mr. Pitt said, the publisher had already
done much to prevent the book from being read by most people. Its
price, he pointed out, was prohibitively high for all but the wealthy.
This shows that Mr. Pitt understood the advantage in avoiding
unnecessary bans of books, which would draw attention to them.
Yet, it also shows how little Mr. Pitt understood the people he
governed. Poor people pooled funds, purchased copies of Godwin’s
book, and read it aloud to one another. In the north of the country,
a great many unauthorized copies were printed and sold cheaply.
Before Mr. Pitt knew what had happened, everyone  was talking
about Godwin’s ideas.
     Godwin proposes that we look closely at the machinery of
society so that we can discover its defects and work to remedy
them. In 1793, however, France was undergoing violent revolution.
To some it seemed that the violence across the channel had begun
with the kind of wide ranging discussion in which Godwin engaged.
Even though Godwin’s Political Justice clearly shows violent
revolution to be counterproductive, it was argued that such
discussion would lead to violence nevertheless. Godwin’s
expectations of what was possible were thought to be unrealistic.
He had declined to involve himself in any political party or
association,  even when it would have meant significant advance-
ment in his career. What did he know about the political process?
But such a question was not a strong enough method of turning
people away from Godwin’s proposal, at a time when it seemed to
represent a dangerous, if well-intended, enterprise. So it was that
virtually every conceivable suspicion was used to cause Godwin’s
name to be associated with violence and evil. H. C. Robinson
recalled that, whenever some especially nasty inhumanity took
place, a certain minister would express the view that he had thought
only William Godwin to be capable of committing such an awful
     The Montgolfier brothers produced balloons, both
hot air and hydrogen. The guest’s family’s link with the
Montgolfiers may have figured in Shelley’s choice of
her storyteller’s name.

     [To a Candid World Menu]    28   [Advertisement Menu]

                     So Strange a Vehicle [Print Version]
                        A d v e r t i s e m e n t
          Frankenstein can be analyzed as a metaphor for the making
of a book, Danny from Vermont observes, adding that there are
many clues in the text that support this. He sees the Creature as a
metaphor for the anxiety an author experiences when writing a
book that might not be liked and that might become more than the
author expected. Book Club of the Air host, Ray Suarez, asks a
teacher from San Francisco and Leonard Wolf to respond to
Danny’s comments.  Neither does. Here, however, not only is
Danny’s mental robustness commended for making so useful the
boundaries and promises of the Frankenstein preface,  but, as the
reader may appreciate,  it is identified as having contributed to this
book’s  physical allusions, such as the bolts that hold the Creature’s
head on in films.
     The two books mentioned in Shelley’s dedication of
Frankenstein, are of the kind Danny is talking about. Political
Justice was certain to elicit a very negative response from Britain’s
repressive government. Thomas Paine had been condemned to
death less than three months before Godwin’s book was published.
Caleb Williams was so disliked by one of Godwin’s closest friends,
that the friend urged Godwin to burn it at once. To some
contributors this adds to the weight of possibility that Shelley
invented the Vitebsk story. Noting that Godwin’s friend had made
his recommendation before Godwin had written half of the novel,
they suggest that the translators in the Vitebsk oral tradition may
represent those of Godwin’s friends who thought that James
Marshal might later change his mind about the story. Further,
Godwin was required by his publisher to change the ending of
Caleb Williams. Shelley’s reference to her father’s novel may be
another clue for the reader that the ending of her story does not
appear in the book.
     In Frankenstein, the lieutenant asks why the guest had come “in
so strange a vehicle”. Yet, as Walton’s first letter has already
established, there is nothing strange about the vehicle in such a
setting. “This is the most favorable period for traveling in Russia.
They fly quickly over the snow in their sledges; the motion is
pleasant, and, in my opinion, far more agreeable than that of an
English stage-coach.” The lieutenant, as a resident of Archangel,
would not find anything strange about a sledge or sled being used
on snow and ice. So, in what strange vehicle does the guest arrive?
Might not the strange vehicle be the book itself?
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             Verisimilitude of Proximate Cause
                         A d v e r t i s e m e n t    [Print Version]
       In one of his first footnotes to the text of The Essential
Frankenstein, Leonard Wolf writes that Shelley’s use of letters in
the novel “gives an aura of verisimilitude to the action; and it
permits her to manipulate the reader’s point of view”.  If this were
true, we could expect readers to take an interest in Walton, with a
view as to how various developments have or will affect him.
     A sequel to Shelley’s famous novel might well begin with a
letter to Margaret Saville from the insurance company, requesting
the surrender of all her brother’s letters for use in the investigation
of a substantial claim. If the ship were lost, the insurance
underwriters would have a great financial interest in evidence that
the ship was used in contravention of the conditions stipulated in
the insurance contract. A public examination of the manipulation of
a family member by a madman could be painful to the Saville
family. A foretaste of such is offered by Shelley in the scene in
which Victor tries to involve the magistrate in his crusade. As will
later be shown, there are some discrepancies in Victor’s story. The
reader, who notices these discrepancies, will see how the magistrate
could have determined that the story was a fabrication, if the
version Victor told Walton is the same as the one the magistrate
heard. That is, assuming that Victor did not make up the account of
his telling his story to the magistrate.
   Pat Dunlap observes that it is not uncommon for readers to be left
with the impression that Shelley’s Walton promises Victor that he
will destroy the Creature, should the opportunity to do so arise.
Walton records no such promise. Shelley provides information that
explains why Walton would be reluctant to make such a promise,
or, if he did, why he would choose not to record it. Insurance is
mentioned as a necessity in Walton’s first letter. Shelley enhances
the verisimilitude the insurance requirement provides with the
change mentioned on page 32  to Walton’s fourth letter in the 1831
edition. As if revising his letter, in order to remove a loose thread
that, if pulled, could unravel the veil that conceals his having
strayed from the confines of his contract, Walton’s  letters provide
more than the aura of verisimilitude to the action Wolf suggests.
The action that is hidden from view becomes more in evidence,
even while the mystery surrounding it remains impenetrable.
     In the Vitebsk story, when Walton approves the guest’s
suggestions, and when the debacle occurs, the man’s name and his
motivations are unknowns.
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                            The Waltons      [Print Version]
                           A d v e r t i s e m e n t
          Kenneth Branagh’s film, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,
removes the uncertainty surrounding Victor’s and the Creature’s
deaths, the uncertainty Mary Shelley was careful to include in her
novel. When such  vital parts of her novel, which serve important
purposes described in her preface, are removed, Mary Shelley’s
machinery cannot function as it was intended to do, and it is unfair
to call the result Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Also absent from the
film is the point of view of the Saville family, which puts the focus,
not on Victor and his Creature, but rather on Walton himself. The
Walton Margaret Saville knows is completely missing from the film,
although Aidan Quinn plays a character so named. Margaret’s
brother is lonely, and, manipulated by Victor, believes the story,
allows Victor to speak to the crew in his place, denies that the
Creature is sincerely repentant, and turns him away. Kenneth
Branagh’s Walton does not allow Victor to manipulate him or his
crew. “I give the orders here,” he snaps. Of Victor’s story he says,
“It couldn’t be true.” On the other hand, he seems to believe the
Creature is who he says he is, Victor’s son.
     It is important to note the differences between Shelley’s Walton
and Branagh’s because, among other things, Branagh’s remaking of
Walton closely follows the common pattern of avoiding Walton’s
problems found among Shelley’s readers generally. Book Club of
the Air host, Ray Suarez, speaks of Walton as wanting to “reach
out” to the Creature, who “runs and jumps out the window”. Thus
the manipulation of Walton’s moral tendencies and his culpability,
things that make the reader uncomfortable, are omitted, and Walton
is remade to better suit conventional expectations.
     As has been suggested, Victor evidently remakes himself in the
story he tells, for reasons that may not be essentially different from
Mr. Suarez’s reasons for remaking Walton. Traces of the original
Victor that connect with the Vitebsk story were included by Shelley
in 1818, to which more were added in 1831. Two examples will
help the reader to appreciate this, both with respect to the Vitebsk
story thus far and with some things to come. Victor tells Walton
that he proceeded to England by sea. In the apparently unnecessary
inclusion of the words “by sea” a balloon appears as the only
possible alternative. Added to the 1831 edition is mention of Victor
playing at being a crusader who redeems “the holy sepulchre from
the hands of the infidels”.
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              The Slip Before The Fall  [Print Version]
                       A d v e r t i s e m e n t
     Without independent thought, any “organized religion”
degenerates into superstition, which  is destructive of the
object of religion. This is demonstrated numerous times in
Scripture, beginning with the early chapters of Genesis. This
should come as no great surprise, given the independent
thought of Abraham. (see Nimrod page 74). This advertise-
ment provides a small demonstration of how the authors of
Scripture, like Mary Shelley, included discrepancies, which
only religion can reconcile.  This particular demonstration
more than affirms Spinoza’s observation that superstition
arises when humans find that rules do not seem to apply. It
goes further, showing that the disorder, which causes the
human to resort to superstition, may begin with the desire to
avert disorder. It also reveals something of the problem of the
confusion of religion with superstition that Spinoza identifies
as coming from the attitude often taken by those in positions
of so-called religious authority.
     Although the commandment concerning the fruit of the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil is that the human not eat it,
to the inquiry of the serpent, the woman replies as though the
Lord had given two commandments to the man concerning a
tree in the center of the garden. She says that the Lord also      for more on
prohibited touching the fruit of that particular tree. From the     this click here
series of reported events, and with common knowledge of
human behavior, we propose an explanation for the discrep-
ancy. The man, the only human who existed at the time the
commandment was given, is concerned that the new human
will not be as careful as he believes himself to be with regard
to the danger the Lord described. As a precaution, the man
invents the Lord’s commandment not to touch the fruit, as it
seems more likely that his fellow human will obey the Lord
than that she will conform her behavior to give her mate the
peace of mind that was his when the decision to obey the
Lord was his and only his. The woman’s response to the serpent
reveals that the man is not treating her as an equal. Considering
the second commandment as superstition, it is possible to see
that accidental touching could have led the woman to believe
that the Lord, whom she thinks authored the commandment, was
either ignorant or dishonest. Thus, in an ancient religious text,
we see that a moral tendency may inspire superstition and become
destructive of the object of religion.
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                          Monster     [Print Version]
                  A d v e r t i s e m e n t
    Frances of South Bend, Indiana points out that Mary
Wollstonecraft’s death, following her giving birth to Mary Shelley,
made Frankenstein’s author “fearful of creating and creations”. To
this Leonard Wolf adds that Mary Shelley’s mother was an abused
and abandoned woman, whose suffering led her to attempt suicide.
It is not surprising that Mr. Wolf includes this information since, at
the beginning of the Book Club of the Air meeting, he says that the
subject of abandonment and the risks women take when they
become involved with men are what Frankenstein is about.
Frances, who is the author of Vindication, a novel based on the life
of Mary Wollstonecraft,  agrees saying that some people, unable to
accept this contradictory aspect in the life of a woman who wrote
about the rights of women, criticized her for including it in her
novel. Host, Ray Suarez, joins in with the observation that William
Godwin “leaves Mary Shelley’s mother in much the way Percy
Shelley leaves his own wife and children for Mary”. So, as an adult,
says Suarez, Mary Shelley was part of a pattern of abandonment
she had experienced as a child.
     Although Ray Suarez’ observation fits well with the theme of
abandonment that Leonard Wolf says is so central to Frankenstein,
Ray’s representation of William Godwin could not be less accurate.
It was Gilbert Imlay who abandoned Mary Shelley’s mother (page
60). Godwin, according to Mary Wollstonecraft’s last words, was
“the kindest and the best man in the world”. Mr. Suarez, confusing
two very different deceased men, combines parts of them into one
person he calls William Godwin. Through the power of radio, Mr.
Suarez’ monster comes to life in the minds of many book club
members, where it will remain, unless those who know better
correct the error before the meeting concludes. Frances affirms
what Ray says, and Leonard Wolf says nothing to dispel the very
false impression that has just been created. Interviews after the
program reveal subsequent prejudice against William Godwin and
his writings. A book club member comments that Mary Shelley had
probably dedicated Frankenstein to her father in an attempt to win
from him the affection that he had never shown her.
     One of the first Book Club members to speak references a
discussion he heard on a National Public Radio program some
fifteen years ago. We might then expect that a strong impression,
based on Mr. Suarez’ misstatement of fact, might last a very long
time and might  propagate in future conversations concerning
Shelley’s Frankenstein.

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            Unintended Viciousness
                    A d v e r t i s e m e n t       [Print version]

     This translated conversation begins in German.
Sieger means victor. (web note: this refers to text of the story
on page 101 of the book.)

    Ray Suarez creates his monster (page 98) not out of any
maliciousness, but like Victor Frankenstein, out of a desire to
enlighten. Ray, of course, is counting on Frances and Leonard to
keep such egregious errors from going unchecked. He is not the
solipsist acting in isolation from the community that Catherine and
many of her students think is the problem to which Mary Shelley
was pointing in Frankenstein (page 50). The harm that results from
a well intended effort gone wrong is no less than that resulting from
an intentional injury. As discouraging glimpsing the contribution to
human suffering made by unruly moral tendency may be, it does
point to the considerable benefit that greater care would bring.
     Martin Luther saw the Church of Rome’s lack of compassion
for Jews as the reason for its failure to save them through
conversion to Christianity. Confident that his gentler approach
would succeed, Luther wrote of Jesus having been born a Jew.
Thus began Luther’s two part plan 1) to convince Jews that Jesus is
their Messiah and 2) to tell them that Jesus is God. The problems
with Luther’s plan are not difficult to see, if a simple, sincere and
fair review is undertaken. It was the God of Abraham who made
Moses appear to be a god to Pharoah. Abraham showed Nimrod
that idolatry would eventually lead to the worship of man (page
74). When Moses and transfigured Jesus meet, neither falls at the
other’s feet. Luther, lacking the courtesy of Nimrod, would not
listen to the delegation of Jews who came to him to explain why his
expectations of Jews were unwise. Soon Luther was condemning
Jews for being ungrateful for his effort to save them. The same
moral tendency, with which Luther set out to save the Jews of
Germany, led him to call upon the princes of Germany to do them
great harm.
     In Godwin’s view, it matters more that injustice be prevented
than it matters that people who have no intention of doing injustice
be protected from being exposed as having caused unintended
injustice. The examples of Luther, Suarez and others offered in
these advertisements are not the result of a desire to knock them,
but are included because they illustrate the error of misguided moral
tendency that is responsible for so much human misery.

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           “Ich bin’s nit! Ich bin’s nit!”
                         A d v e r t i s e m e n t  [Print version]

    While some book club members have offered opinions that
Victor Frankenstein is based on Percy Shelley or Lord Byron, it
would be unfair to leave out the candidate Wieland would probably
have nominated, Martin Luther. Walton’s praise of Victor’s use of
language echoes praise of Luther, whose English equivalent was
said to be Shakespeare. When it is considered that, in describing
Clerval, Victor may be describing his former self, much more
similarity  with Luther is revealed. Even without the combination
with Clerval, Frankenstein is evocative of Luther. Indeed several of
the similarities involve matters that are of some interest to Leonard
Wolf, particularly Victor’s putting off marriage and his collapse at
critical moments. In addition to these similarities, we find both
Luther and  Frankenstein unwittingly create monsters and then raise
an alarm, calling upon someone else to rid the world of the menace.
Both warn against listening to what their created adversaries have
to say. Both indirectly cause the community to destroy its own
innocent members, remaining silent themselves at critical moments.
     If we look closely at the problems that arise in Frankenstein,
we find that they arise when moral tendencies proceed without the
guidance of the principled use of knowledge. It is a pattern often
found in life. According to Crabb Robinson, at the time Napoleon
was invading Germany, Wieland (pages 92, 93), himself a
Protestant, saw Luther as having caused the “series of horrid wars”
with his furious speech exciting unthinking hostility rather than
rational effort directed toward reform.  But, whatever might seem
to indicate that Luther, or Luther in combination with his father,
might have inspired the character of Victor Frankenstein, the most
valuable observations identify common patterns of error, rather
than individuals somehow different from ourselves. A great benefit
of the understanding that develops from Godwin’s view of moral
fulfillment is that irrational fear of others and prejudice constantly
decrease. That is, we tend to look for and find the moral tendency
that has not been guided by the principled use of knowledge, which
then assures us that an underlying foundation for concord exists.
We see clearly that fear and confusion are our adversaries, rather
than any persons affected by them. Even when progress is slower
than we would like, we appreciate that the principles upon which it
relies are eternal. We fear others less, because we are able to
envision steps that will lead them out of fear and confusion and
toward moral fulfillment. We see others as we see ourselves.

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                      Connect the Dots  [Print Version]
                            A d v e r t i s m e n t
          A contributor, having said Frankenstein is excellent
preparation for Bible study, was invited to participate in a Bible
study program. During the introductory session, it was explained
that there were no right or wrong answers to the study questions
participants would be given each week. The majority of questions
were to be answered, using only those verses assigned for that
week. In answering “challenge” questions, which were optional,
participants were free to use verses other than the assigned verses.
     After being shown a set of study questions, our contributor
asked for clarification. “Would it be incorrect, in formulating an
answer to the fourth question, to consider verses from the sixth
chapter of Matthew?” our contributor wanted to know. It would be
incorrect, it was explained, because the fourth question was not a
“challenge” question. Only those verses from John assigned that
week were to be used in answering the fourth question. When our
contributor asked to know the reason for this rule of exclusion, our
contributor was told that the value of the rule would be something
participants would be able to understand after some weeks in the
     The generously inclusive statement, that there were no right
or wrong answers to weekly Bible study questions, had been
contradicted by the answer to the above inquiry.  Although our
contributor spoke with five individuals responsible for the
program’s operation, none was able to explain why the Lord’s
Prayer or any other Biblical material ought to be excluded from
consideration in the course of Bible study. One, however, did say
that, if our contributor would wait until participants had been
assigned to discussion groups, he would be able to inform our
contributor of the discussion group leader’s attitude with regard to
the rule. Our contributor was given assurance that experiencing the
fellowship the program offered would make it worth keeping quiet
about the rule that could not be justified and which disproved the
claim of inclusiveness. This assurance, however, only evidenced the
truth of Gemellus’ dictum that “When we are afraid to speak our
minds, we have already begun to lose them.”
     This experience is related to illustrate how the tyranny of lesser
considerations continues at the cost of the greatest considerations.
The individuals representing the Bible study program spoke of
being “in the Word”,   not comprehending the depth of depravity
that comes of mistaking credulity for faith.

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                    Ciceroman Question   [Print Version]
                 A d v e r t i s e m e n t
     The nature of God, particularly whether God is active or
inactive in human affairs, was a topic of such importance that
Cicero thought all the world ought to examine the various doctrines
and judge which  is true. While Cicero was certain that some of his
Roman readers would see his view as one that would flood the
world with darkness, a significant number of Romans shared the
belief that civility was valued sufficiently to allow for thorough and
fruitful discussion. There were more than fifty peoples with distinct
theologies enjoying the relative progress provided by Roman civil
rule. The Ethne of the Sebasteion at Aphrodisias reflect the
Ciceroman confidence that concord is desired by all peoples and is
achievable, without endangering the distinct characters of the
various peoples. Noted by Varro as particularly well suited to the
promotion of justice, is the Hebrew of the Sebasteion, whose
literature in some ways provides a view appealing to Romans of the
sort that wrote Aetna. The Book of Daniel, which appeared in
Jerusalem at about the time that the Fourteen Books of Numa (page
82) appeared in Rome, expresses an attitude, with respect to the
matter Cicero suggests in De Natura Deorum should be decided by
humanity, which must have resonated in the noble Roman mind. In
the Book of Daniel, when three Hebrews refuse to worship the
image set up by king Nebuchadnezzar, he asks them if they believe
that the God they serve can save them from the fire of the furnace
into which he will send them for not worshipping the image he
made. (The answer of Abraham of the oral tradition, as referenced
at page 74, might be, “King Nebuchadnezzar, can the image you
made itself throw us into the furnace?”) The answer given in reply
to the king’s threat is of great value to those addressing the
doctrines Cicero says ought to be examined. The Hebrews say that
their decision to serve their God is not conditioned on their being
delivered from the furnace.  In the Roman view, the Hebrews in the
story are virtuous. If their answer had been that they were certain
that God would deliver them, they would not have been
demonstrating virtue, for, to paraphrase Publilius Syrus, one who
does what is right, because it is in his own interest to do so, cannot
be called good. The Roman and Hebrew views are more compatible
than commonly supposed. The Roman practice of modifying the
rites of the governed to promote civility was then well established
and must have generated discussions of how Judaism might be
altered for Rome’s benefit.
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