Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing


Literature, English.


Matheson, C. S.,




This thesis examines the ways in which various discourses intersected in the construction of the "black body" in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the ways in which the grotesque and "othered" body of Mary Shelley's monster in Frankenstein is ideologically aligned with the bodies of blacks. Chapter One considers the representation of the monster in Shelley's original 1818 text in relation to the spectacularization of black bodies in early nineteenth-century ethnographic displays and the visual arts. Chapter Two examines the representation of the monster on the nineteenth-century stage, with specific reference to three theatrical adaptations of Shelley's novel: R. B. Peake's Presumption (1823), Henry Milner's Frankenstein; or, The Man and the Monster (1826), and Richard and Barnabas Brough's Frankenstein; or, The Model Man (1849). Chapter Three is concerned with the representation of Shelley's monster in twentieth-century film adaptations. It is argued that James Whale's treatment of the monster in his films Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935) is intimately informed by the horrific public spectacles of lynching in early twentieth-century America. The chapter concludes with a consideration of William A. Levey's 1972 'blaxploitation' film Blackenstein as a politically and racially charged re-telling of Shelley's tale. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)Dept. of English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2000 .B66. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 39-02, page: 0358. Adviser: C. S. Matheson. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2000.