I had for some time considered the parallels and similarities between Emily Bronte’s creation ‘Heathcliffe’ and Mary Shelley’s ‘Creature’ and how ideas of revenge drive forward the plots of both Wuthering Heights and Frankenstein. Modern interpretations of both often try and force a romantic plot line onto these works, rather than a Romantic one. In both cases an abandoned child grows up alone, any love or comfort is fleeting and often quickly taken away by fate. Each character grows embittered and determines to take revenge, unlike the Count of Monte Cristo (fairly contemporary to Wuthering Heights) who takes very specific revenge on each of the people who wrong him, these characters take revenge that although directed at one person is a revenge on the whole world – it is savage, raw, visceral.
It made me wonder about the authors, whether these characters were outlets for their own feelings of abandonment (both had mother’s who died young and father’s more concerned with philosophy and theology), the pain of their own loss of children, siblings, loved ones.
In my one off book I imagine a narrative for Frankenstein that tells the story from the Creature’s perspective and pulls out the similarities with Heathcliffe on one side and on the other is a series of visual thoughts about the relationship between Emily and Mary, between Mary and Percy and Byron and about women repressing their raw emotions and putting them into their art. The design of the book was inspired by a facsimile of a German children’s book that has cut outs through the middle of the pages and a zig-zag fold out page formation that allows you to rearrange it so you can create different through views. This seemed to me the perfect vehicle for interpreting a classic novel – one that has gathered many different viewpoints and interpretations over the years.
The book was exhibited at the Liverpool Book Art Fair in 2018. The exhibtion was themed to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein.