Black Frankenstein

The Making of an American Metaphor

by

Series: America and the Long 19th Century

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 1479809608
  • 9780814797167
  • 9781479809608
  • 9780814745373

For all the scholarship devoted to Mary Shelley's English novel Frankenstein, there has been surprisingly little attention paid to its role in American culture, and virtually none to its racial resonances in the United States. In Black Frankenstein, Elizabeth Young identifies and interprets the figure of a black American Frankenstein monster as it appears with surprising frequency throughout nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. culture, in fiction, film, essays, oratory, painting, and other media, and in works by both whites and African Americans.

Black Frankenstein stories, Young argues, effect four kinds of racial critique: they humanize the slave; they explain, if not justify, black violence; they condemn the slaveowner; and they expose the instability of white power. The black Frankenstein's monster has served as a powerful metaphor for reinforcing racial hierarchy—and as an even more powerful metaphor for shaping anti-racist critique. Illuminating the power of parody and reappropriation, Black Frankenstein tells the story of a metaphor that continues to matter to literature, culture, aesthetics, and politics.

  • NYU Press; August 2008
  • ISBN: 9780814745373
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
  • Title: Black Frankenstein
  • Series: America and the Long 19th Century
  • Author: Elizabeth Young
  • Imprint: NYU Press
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 1479809608
  • 9780814797167
  • 9781479809608
  • 9780814745373

In The Press

In Black Frankenstein, Young tears apart and rearranges the monster we think we know into something entirely fresh and challenging. This excellent and provocative book offers a compelling lesson in the political and cultural uses of a metaphor organized by design, as well as unconsciously, into a racial paradigm."

-Eric J. Sundquist,author of Strangers in the Land: Blacks, Jews, Post-Holocaust America

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 1479809608
  • 9780814797167
  • 9781479809608
  • 9780814745373