Things we found interesting this week and hope that you will too! Penny dreadfuls, unreliable narrators, Frankenstein, and when your war criminal character shares the name of real person....
The lost Victorian genre: It's strange to think that there's a genre that no longer exists. The 19th century saw the temporary popularity of the penny dreadful. These were small, cheaply-made booklets that featured tales of sensation or scandal--such as famous highwaymen, gruesome murders, ghosts, or creatures like vampires. They were so cheaply made on flimsy paper that few examples still exist. This article by the BBC covers the history of the now-forgotten genre and way that it was viewed in Victorian society.
Unreliable narrators in fiction: This is a fun one. Have you ever read a novel with an unreliable narrator? Take a look at this compilation from The Guardian, and try to come up with some other examples. The Unexpected Guest by Agatha Christie comes to mind. And I believe that I would have included "The Cask of Amontillado" over "The Tell-Tale Heart," because the malice seems more subtle, but it's interesting to think about all the same.
Is Frankenstein still relevant? This article by Jacob Brogan offers an interesting perspective on Frankenstein, its attitude toward scientific innovation, and how the novel is used to discuss scientific ethics in the twenty-first century. Brogan discusses how the novel can be interpreted as an example of mankind's reaction to progress and innovation. Is Frankenstein a story about a scientist's unnatural creation, or is it a story about the scientist's (and society's) reaction to an unnatural creation?