The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein
by John Lauritsen (2007, 232 pp., illustrations, appendices, bibliography, pb.; publ. Pagan Press, Dorchester Mass., ISBN 978-0-943742-14-4).

Reviewed by Tom Elliott
Book Review Editor
Mensa Bulletin
June 2007

 You read it right, the man. So you bought into the myth that an  uneducated teenaged girl wrote a book that ranks among the world's  greatest classics? Not according to John, who has written a fascinating  book of literary sleuthing that makes three claims: (1) Frankenstein is  not a “scary story” that grew out of telling tales around a campfire,  but a great work of profound and radical ideas, consistently underrated  and misinterpreted, (2) the real author of Frankenstein is Percy Bysshe  Shelley, not Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly [née Godwin], his second wife,  and (3) male love, in the form of romantic male friendship, is the  dominant theme. Although he uses extra-textual evidence as well, his  main focus is on the text, arguing that if one compares it to the  writings of Shelley and those of Mary in terms of quality and style,  there is no doubt who is the true author. But, being as firmly  entrenched in academia and the public psyche as it is, the Mary Shelley  legend will probably continue.