The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein.

By John Lauritsen. 232 pages. Illustrations, bibliography, and appendices. Trade Paperback: Price lowered to $3.99  (was $16.95)  ISBN 978-0-943742-14-4.  Also available in a Library Binding (Smythe sewn, case binding): Price lowered to $5.99 (was $24.95).  ISBN 978-0-943742-15-1. Pagan Press 2007.

Frankenstein is the most famous work of English Romanticism. Victor Frankenstein and the monster he created have entered our collective imagination — through movies, comic books, T-shirts, Halloween masks, etc. They have entered the discourse of erudite scholars, as well as the man on the street.

The conventional belief is that Frankenstein was written by a teenaged girl, Mary Godwin (later Mary Shelley), who took part in a ghost-story contest in Geneva, had a nightmare, and was inspired to write a story “which would frighten my reader as I myself had been frightened that night!”

John Lauritsen's new book, The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein (TMWWF), explodes the Mary Shelley myth, demonstrating that Frankenstein is not just a scary story, but a work of profound and radical ideas, written by one of the greatest poets in English, who deliberately concealed his authorship.  The book has three theses:

Frankenstein is a great work, which has consistently been underrated and misinterpreted.

•The real author of Frankenstein is Percy Bysshe Shelley.

• Male love is a central theme of Frankenstein.

According to Lauritsen, male love, as romantic friendship, is a central theme of Frankenstein. Sometimes the expressions of male love are remarkably direct, but at other times they are expressed in coded language or references known only to the “initiated”. He uses his skills as a gay historian to decode and interpret these references.

The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein has nine appendices, which include full texts of the following:

• Percy Bysshe Shelley's Preface to Frankenstein.

• Shelley's review of Frankenstein.

• The Introduction to the bowdlerized 1831 edition of Frankenstein — which was written, at least in part, by William Godwin.

• The 1824 Knights Quarterly review of Valperga.

• Richard Garnett's essay on Mary Shelley from the Dictionary of National Biography.

There is also an annotated Bibliography.

For Camille Paglia's review click here.

For Jim Herrick's review in Gay Humanist Quarterly click here.

For Richard Labonte's “Bookmarks” review click here.

For Tom Elliott's Mensa Bulletin review click here.

For Jesse Monteagudo's review in the South Florida Express click here.

For Hubert Kennedy's review in The Guide click here.

For Ian Young's review in Torso click here.

For Andrew Calimach's review click here.

For Douglas Sadownick's review in Gay & Lesbian Review click here

There is cognitive dissonance in having to believe that a masterpiece like Frankenstein was written by a mediocre writer like Mary Shelley.  In a hostile non-review of TMWWF (Guardian, 9 April 2007) Germaine Greer resolved this dissonance by asserting that Frankenstein “is not a good, let alone a great novel."  She evaluated Frankenstein as a  realistic novel — which it is not, nor intended to be. To read my reply, which the Guardian published, click here.

The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein did receive two negative reviews.  Both were written by academics; both were grossly unfair and biased.  But at least the editors permitted me to reply to them:

• Reply to Jonathan Gross review in Common Review, 2007.  To read my reply click here.

• Reply to Christopher Goulding review in BARS Review, Fall 2008.  To read my reply click here.


Books can be ordered directly from Pagan Press using PayPal.  Just send an e-mail to Pagan Press mentioning the books you wish to buy. We will then send you back an e-mail invoice, which will give the total cost, including shipping and handling. If you wish to purchase the books, click the Pay button on the invoice 
which takes you to the secure PayPal site, where you can pay through your PayPal account (if you have one) or through a credit card.

For United States orders postage is free. For overseas air mail, postage will be calculated at cost.  I
f you use PayPal, you will make payment in your home currency.

Pagan Press books can also be purchased from

Pagan Press BOOKLIST

Return to the Frankenstein pages