Frankenstein and Ackroyd: a Study of the Text as the Monster

Anish Bhattacharyya

Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, Adamas University.
Orcid: 0000-0001-8104-2752. Email:

   Volume 10, Number 2, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n2.21

Received January 16, 2017; Revised May 20, 2018; Accepted May 21, 2018; Published May 26, 2018.


There have been several retellings of the Frankenstein narrative since its publication. Peter Ackroyd’s rendition of the same was published in 2008 under the title, The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein. The text attempts to look at Mary Shelley’s narrative from a different perspective, rather than simply reiterating the events in a familiar way. It employs the historical fictional mode of storytelling. This paper attempts to study the role of Ackroyd as a reader, author and manipulator of history. It will also strive to understand the politics behind Ackroyd’s attempted resurrection of Shelley, Byron, Polidori and Mary Shelley as his characters. The goal is to comprehend, how Ackroyd’s voice functions within this cacophony of voices.

Keywords: rhizome, author, reader, historiographic metafiction, discourse, unreliability.

Black Feminist Discourse of Power in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide

Lamia Khalil Hammad, Yarmouk University, Jordan

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This paper discusses black feminist discourse of power in Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem For Colored Girls Who have considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. The work depicts the struggle of black women through a rainbow of experiences. At the end, the girls arrive at ‘selfhood’ by finding God in themselves. This paper focuses on how the patriarchal discourse lead to their suffereing and how they were able to claim back their identities as black females who only need to be loved and appreciated.

Voicing Colourspaces: Colour-usage and Response as Alternative Narration in Dennis Cooley’s Bloody Jack

Ashes Gupta, Tripura University, India.

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Dennis Cooley has attempted to unsettle several complex issues relating to post modernity, intertextuality, mingling of genres, decentering authority et al.  His poetry is rich in complexity and in dealing with the problems of the text. He has published three books of poetry.  Leaving (Turnstone 1980), Fielding (Thistledown 1983) and Bloody Jack (Turnstone 1985).  His poetry reveals his interest in formal departures from the tyranny of orthodox running rhythm, and the left hand margin.  From Leaving to Bloody Jack, Cooley has decentred authority from its traditional formal and ideological strongholds including the author, and placed it in the mind and heart of the reader.  In his books of poetry, especially Bloody Jack, Cooley tends to deal with flexibility, knowledge and tolerance and seeks to voice the sparsely populated and neglected space of the Canadian prairie. This paper is an attempt to read Dennis Cooley’s Bloody Jack from the semiotic perspective of his use of colour as sign-code in it and the other related issues that it voices.

The Poetics of John Ashbery

Gargi Bhattacharya, Rabindra Bharati University

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John Ashbery (1927- ) takes the postmodernist polysemy of meaning in interpreting a work of art and the polyphony of styles in composing as his forte. He questions the various linguistic codes and makes us aware of the artificiality of the language. All political, ethical and aesthetic imperatives are rhetorical constructs. The writer uses language to persuade the reader to accept the formulated truth and he intervenes in the process of perception by his/her politics of representation. Though his iconoclastic approach towards writing and individuality of style has kept him aloof from mainstream academic syllabi, yet he has now become a prominent figure in Contemporary American Literature. It is interesting to note how Ashbery’s poetry revives the Romantic sensibility while applying the digitalized methods and the postmodern syndromes of immediacy, indeterminacy, disjunctive syntax, open-ended and multiplicity of interpretations. This paper explores the aesthetics of John Ashbery’s poetry.

Language as Remnant: Survival, Translation and the Poetry of Paul Celan

Dipanjan Maitra, Jadavpur University, Kolkata

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This paper is an attempt to explore the relation between poetry and survival taking as a point of focus the poetry of the post-war European poet Paul Celan. By drawing attention to the French thinker Jacques Derrida’s several influential studies of Celan’s poetry on the problems of “witnessing”,  “testimony” and the “idiomatic” this paper finally examines the Italian thinker Giorgio Agamben’s notion of the “remnant” to understand a poetics of survival.

Memory: The ‘Spiral’ in the Poetry of Joy Harjo

Susmita Paul, Independent Scholar

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Memory as a narrative is a vindicated thesis in academia. In the article, the author focuses on the nature and the function of ‘memory’ in the poetry of Joy Harjo, an indigenous American poet with tribal affiliations. Instead of using only Eurocentric discourses of performance studies and theoretical studies on memory, the author attempts to assess the distillation of Harjo’s independent ideas on memory in her creative oeuvre – written and performed poetry. Further, the author probes how Harjo’s ‘theory’ of memory connects the past, the present and the future.

Book Review: In the Heart of the Beat the Poetry of Rap by Alexs Pate

The Scarecrow Press, Inc.

Pub Date: Jan 2010

Hardcover, 176 pages

Price: $24.95

ISBN: 0-8108-6008-2

ISBN-13: 978-0-8108-6008-7

Series:  African American Cultural Theory and Heritage

Review by

Pragna Paramita Mondal, Victoria College, Kolkata

Alexs Pate’s In the Heart of the Beat begins with an anecdote from his childhood days in North Philadelphia. Johnny, a boy in the neighborhood who survived a car accident, was subsequently involved in a conscious process of reorientation of speech as a means to counter his disability. What the ‘Professor’ (Johnny) and rappers share in common, however, is their sense of exigency in speech and their need to articulate and prioritize their distinct worldviews from a position of marginality and oppression. In fact, orality has been one of the defining features in Black cultural history, one that has sustained African American sanity and self-expression. In this book Pate, therefore, makes an attempt at disengaging the poetry of rap from the claims of music and hip hop beats and validates the ‘speech’ of rap by subverting the conventional notions that determine its popular consumption.

Art/Science: Problem-Solving Model as a Unifying Principle of Creativity in Art and Science

Slobodan Dan Paich, Artship Foundation, San Francisco, USA

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Possible procedural similarities between abstract problems mathematically expressed, engineering problems mechanically resolved, collective tensions and yearning expressed as significant poetic, acoustic or visual manifestations in art will be explored through a series of open questions and reflections. We begin with a short analysis and comparison of the methodologies of Nicola Tesla and Leonardo da Vinci, and explore issues raised by examples of imagination in scientific discovery, such as the German chemist Friedrich August Kekulé resolving the riddle of the benzene ring in 1865. The exploration will include reflection on issues of:

   1. Mastery and skill sets

   2. Preparing the field and gathering elements for research

   3. Cognitive modeling in Art and Science

   4. Unexpected connections/discovery

   5. Motivation to complete

Before ending with an open-ended summary, we will include the segment of questions and answers from an ongoing dialogue between the author of this paper and Dr. Paul Pangaro, Board Member of Artship Foundation, Cybernetics practitioner, theorist and the proponent of Conversation Theory.

The Astronomer’s Palace: an Instrument for the Observation of the Sky

Maria Elisa Navarro Morales, McGill University, Canada


As a result of the improvement in observational astronomy in the seventeenth century, particularly with the advent of the telescope, astronomical observatories started to be built to house the instruments for the observation of the heavens. With Tycho Brahe’s Uraniborg as precedent in the XVI century, the astronomical observatories of the XVII century were mainly institutional buildings with a political agenda. In contrast, the project for an Astronomical Palace by Juan Caramuel de Lobkowitz (1678-9), was neither a building to contain instruments, nor did it follow an institutional program.  In Caramuel’s project, the building serves as an instrument for the observation and measurement of the celestial movements, integrating the instruments traditionally housed in the building and the building itself into a single structure.  The present paper will look at the Astronomical Palace as an instance of architecture as an instrument to inquire into the natural world. 

The Spectacle of Science: the Art of Illusion in Prints of the French Revolution

Claire Trévien, University of Warwick, UK

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In this article, I will discuss prints from the French Revolution that utilize scientific instruments as political metaphors. France’s fascination with science during the Enlightenment has been well documented, notably by Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent and Christine Blondel in their recent investigation of its uses as a popular form of entertainment. Whether it was seen as an ally or a foe, the spectacle of science attracted Revolutionary artists. This pull reveals not only an understanding of scientific material thanks to the groundwork of the Enlightenment, but also a need to reposition science within a Revolutionary context. What the prints have in common is ‘spectacle’ in the sense that they are pre-occupied with the idea of illusion, not just as a negative act of deception but as a creative and potentially empowering process, allowing the viewer to see beyond reality into a brighter future.

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