12 April 2007
The Guardian

To the Editor:

To her credit, Germaine Greer correctly spells my name and gives the title of my new book, The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein. Other than that, her 9 April 2007 article trashes my book without ever once confronting my arguments or my evidence. It begins and ends with ad hominem arguments and gratuitous insults, insinuating that I was motivated to write my book either from hatred of “radical feminists” (not my term) or in order to flog “another dead horse”.

We are all entitled to have our ideas evaluated — one at a time. Although my writings on “AIDS” and on “poppers” (nitrite inhalants) are irrelevant to my work on Frankenstein, I stand by them. Some of these are archived on the Internet <virusmyth.net>.

Greer's pronouncement — Frankenstein “is not a good, let alone a great novel” — cannot go unchallenged. To those who can really read, the 1818 Frankenstein is a radical and disturbing work, containing some of the most beautiful prose in the English language. Though not an easy work, Frankenstein, even in the bowdlerized 1831 edition, has been in print for nearly two centuries. How many people will be reading the Harry Potter novels in the 23rd century?

Greer dredges up old feminist misinterpretations of Frankenstein: motherhood, dead or aborted babies, and so on. No. Frankenstein, from start to finish, is a man's book; it is about male relationships: romantic friendship, companionship and, for the poor monster, ostracism.

The time has come to raise Frankenstein to its deserved stature: it is a profound and moving masterpiece, fully worthy of its author, Percy Bysshe Shelley.

                            Faithfully yours,
                            John Lauritsen
                            Dorchester, Massachusetts

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