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The Making ofan American Metaphor

Elizabeth Young

N EW YORKU NIV ER SI T Y PR ESS New Yor k and London

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NEW YORK U N IV E RS IT Y PRE SS New York and London www.nyupre!;S.org 1I:l 2008 by New York University All rights reserved Extract from "Dreaming Frankenstein" from Dr~amil1g Fra n ke nst~ i l1 and Collected Poems by l iz lochhead is reproduct'd by perm ission of Polygon, an imprint of Bi rlinn I.ld. (wwwbuhnn.co.uk). A portion ofchapter 4 originally appeared in "Here Comes the Bri,k Wedding Gender and Race in Bride of Frankel1Sl e i n .~ Feminist Stud ies 11. 3 (fall 1991): 403- 37.

I [BRARY O F CO NGRESS C ATALOGI I' G · [N · PUB liC A TI O l' OATA Young, Elizabelh. Black Frankenstein : the making of an American metaphor I Elizabeth Young. p. em. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN- 13: 978 - 0-8[47-9715-0 (cloth : alk. paper) ISBN - IO: 0- 8147- 9715- 6 (d oth : aIk. paper) ISBN- 13: 978- 0-8'47-97'6-7 (pbl.. : alk. paper) ISBN - Io: 0-8147-97[6- 4 (pbk. : alk, paper) J. American literature-While authors -c- Htstory and criticism. 2. American literature- African American authors-History and criticism. 3. African Americans in literature. 4. Ract' in li terature. 5. Race relations in literature. 6. Frankenstein (Fictitious character) inlilerature. 7. Frankenstein (Fictiliom character)-Polilical aspects. 8. in literature. 9. Mctapbor in literature. 10. Monsters in motion pictures. I. Title. PSI73.S4Y68 2008 810.9'352996073-dc22 2008008049

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List ofIllustrations ix Acknowledgments xr

Introduction ,

, United States of Frankenstein '9 z Black Monsters, Dead Metaphors 68

3 The Signifying >07

4 Souls on Ice ' 59

Afterword "9

Notes 23' Index 293 About the A uthor 308


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t , Frank Bellew. "The Modern Frankenstein" 39 ,. Henry Louis Stephens, "I he New Frankenstein" 49 3· Atlanta University Bulletin 6, 4· Peter Newell, "In the Laboratory" 85 5· Edison Fra nkenstein , 64 6. Edison Frankenstein , 65 7· Edison Frankenstein , 66 8. Edison Frankenstein , 67 9· Birth of a Nation ro. '"78 u . Bride of Frankenstein ,85 t z. Bla ckenstein '9' ' 3· Bla ckenstei n ' 93 ' 4· Blackenstein ' 94 ' 5· Blackenstein poster ' 95 , 6. Jerry Yulsman, Dick Gregory photograph ' °5 ,? Milton Glaser. Dick Gregorys Fra nkenstein "4 , 8. Glenn Ligon, Stu dy for Frankenstein #1 "3


Copyrighted Material Introduction

You can teach an old mc taphor new tri cks. In the Fratlken­ stein story, first introduced in the nonl by in t8J8 and made famou, On by lam c'S Whale in 19.;1, a mon. ter, a"embled (rom corp'" and reanim.ted , rebd, violen tly ag.in,t hi, creator. The Franken· stein story has a long history of be ing used as a political metaphor, and at the star! of the twemy-first centu,y, it CJ ov"li,t Carl o, Fuent,·, ,,!f,·c• • simi­ lar cautionary talc but links the monster to a familial metaphor: "Sadda m Hussei n wos S. ddam Hussein becau, e the Unitcd State< gave him all po",ihle , upport. The Un itc'd States i, extr.ordinarily gitied in creating monsters like Fran kenstein. Then one fi ne day they di,cover that the,e Franken,tein' arc dre. dfuL However, for twenty yeo" they were the , poilt children, their pro tege,. and the b.bie5 of the United State':" lournal· ist :\-l aurccn Oo....d invoke, the idea of religiou, owrreaching when , he condemn, Vice Pre,ident Did Chem'y "and hi, era/y-eyed Ig"" at the Pentagon [for] their hung er to remake the Middle Ea.!. It', often 5ccn in , Inl,od"clio" s ~ a r y movies: you play God to ~reate something in your own image, and the mons tcr you mak c cnds up coming altcr you." Shc ren amcs Ihc " ice pre,ident "Dr. Cheney' tcin_~ " Even when thc mct aphor is nol direct ly n.mcd, Fra" ke"st<'in informs contemporary critiqu<" of U.s. foreign poli cy. "B l" whac k~ i' the term pop' ularil ed by Chalmers fohllsoll 10 describe contcmporary violence agai nsl the United States Ih. t rcsults from its foreign policy, "Thc mo st direct .nd obviou, f"rm of blowback oftell o~~ u r, when the v i ~tim , fI ght ha ck alter a sccrct Ame r ican bomb illg, or a u.S.-spo nsored ~ampaigll of state lerror­ i' m, or a CIA-enginee red o verthrow of a f"reign politi",l leader."' With ih plol of boo mcrang ..iolencc. Fra" kenstei" is thc embodime nt of blowback, or as another commentalor summari,.e'S the theo ry, "}Jaw the own>!cr has turn"" on ii' crealor."' In M" l/it",/e: \'I.'" , ""d [Jemonoq ill II.. Age of f:mpire (ao04), Antonio Il ardt and Michael Negri extracl a dilfercnt po ­ litical !csson from Fm"",", t,'i" . They open the volume, the sequel to their intluential Empire (aooo), with a discussion of the Fran kenstein monster . nd the , ."other fictiona l mo",ter who rebels agoi" st hi' cre.tor. Wr iting "under of war ... belween Seplember Il, 2001, ond Ihe 2003 Iraq War," Hard t an d "'egri suuest that both monster and golem are "whi, p,-ring to u, , e ~retly under the din of our global banlefield .. . 0 lesson abo ut the mo nstrosity of war and our po"ible redemption through love." ' Later in th,- volum e, lI ardt and "'egri m e the f ranken,t,-in mOo­ 'Ier as the al1i rmative , ymb,,1 of the " m ulh tu de ,~ their mo del of a global democral ic proletariat. Since "Fra nkenstein is now a mem ber of the fam ­ ily; th y a"~rt, " [t]be n ~ "'" world of mon,ters i' w h ~ r ~ hum.nity h.. (" gra,p iis fu ture."' Hard t and Negri are vague on Ihe J etails of this vision, bUI Ihcy arc d early faithful to Mar y Shelley's own dcpict i" n of thc mon­ 'Ier as a sympathetic ligure. Thc "Iovc fcst" of ,\10o rc', "We Fillally Gol Ou r Fran kenstein" has become the "redemption thro u ~ lo..e" promptcd by mon,ter,. These are disparate examples. vary ing in tone, soph istication, and lar' ge!. .'vly interest is in the metaphor ic figure they employ as much as th e politica] gro"nd they " ecupy _or ra t h~r, in the way the figure . h" p ~< thf grou nd. )"1otJl'hors n,atler 10 culture and Ihought, and these examples all ' ugg,', t the conti " uing vitality of th~ franken,t,-in met.phor for ,hap­ ing ~onte m pora r)" polilical crilique and. in particular, for void ng di,­ scnt agJinst clites whose polleies arc seen as misgu ided in intention and di,astr"", in dkct. Cr itique" of U.S. power ar<' () nf inhe ritanc e of thf Franken,tein 'tory in a 1'0' 1' 9/ 11 worl d; expressions of , ympalhy for Ihe Imrodudicn mons tro u, violence that delin", that world are another. W hat we might call the "blowback" an d "sympathy" themes of the Fraokon,tein story extract dirf,'rent hut compkmont ory mcanings fr" m it, using it to "iti· oile monster-m, kers and to explain mon strous violenc e, if nOl to dd end mnn,t"" thcm solve. _ Highlighting .omo contomporary political uses of the Franken. tein mdaphor, these examp les also sugg'''1 snme amb iguitks intri nsic to Ihis me t. phor. Mooro omplo y_ "Fran h'mtcin» to ,ignal both monster . nd mons ter-makor. whoreas in Shelley's novd "Frankenstein" refers on ly to the m. ker, who is • unive" ity studen t, not a doctor; Fuont es's imago of Hussein as a long-ti me "spoilt baby" has no correspondenco to the plot of th e novd, in which the cre,ture is ,h a ndon~ d from birth : Dowd's refer­ ence to , the ocienti.fs assistant, is to the tilm version of F",,,4en,rd,,. Such changes themsdves have a long history, the term ·Fra n k en 't ei n~ migrated from creator to mo n,ter as ~ a rl y as th,- ' 830s, and th,- a" i, tant character was add ed to t h ~ a t r i c al productions in thc .' Co mbining d i tfer~nt elements of t h ~ Fra n k ~ n ,tei n story, t h ,-, ~ writer. do not so much repbce oldor vorsions with n.wer on" .. roanimato eloments in place sinco the early nineu enth cen tury. In those pro cessos of rocombinatio n and rc, nimation, they mimic th ~ . ction. of Victor Frank ens tein with in tho ,tory, a _elf·rdlexivity th.t Mary Shelky had . ot in mot ion in her ,83' p rcfac~ to th, no" d , in which she aligned mon ,tcr and book: "I bid my hideo us progeny go fnrth and pro, por:" The piecing·togethor proce" by which "Fran kenstein" become s "Chell'Y,tdn" i, part of a longor. alld ill­ dc-ed pro,per ou" histor y in which commenl,tor. On Fr"" k"" ,r'i" repr i, c­ tho mons ler·m,king in Iho it,elf. There ore. of course, many other str.nds of Frankenstdn imagery in contemporary political culture, including references to tho , tory ill dis· cllssions of ,tem-cdl ro,earch . cloning, cos metic , argery, , nd genet i­ c.lly ",odin,-d food,." The,e di, cu"ion' draw on the impli"ti"" s of thc­ idea of "Frankenstein» as monstrous creation. an idea embo died ill lhe noolo gism, dr awn from the word itsd f. Thus. • judge ruling in • law­ , uit . gain,t ~kDon " ld\ Chi, ken M,NuggC'l. condemn s thi, prod Uc t a, ". McFrankenstdn crcation"; opponents of a cellphone tower d«igned t" look lih' a fir tree t,r", it "Frank,npine:'" Wher,-a, thc-.' exampks provide a verb al analogue to hybrid m"",ters. other> also make tho con· noction to mons ter-m.kers. For example, camp.igners ag.insl "franken­ food," att.ck g ~ n e t i ca ll y mo dified f"od, a. monst ro u' crealion" while al,o targeting the corporations thai pro duce the>e food ,. like ~lonsa ll to . ~ In,roduction a, bo th monst er-makers and monsterl ike agribu,iness giant•." .\1oreover. the mctapho r i. me d by tho. e on the political right", well as the loft. For ex' mp le, Le"n Ka", former chairman of Prcsiden t Bush" Counc il nf Bio­ eth ics, h" exeoriated cloning for what he sees " its place on a , I;ppery ,lnp" of soci, 1 wrong' including femini'm, s ingle -p~r e n t i n g , gay right., ,ex with anim,l,. c ~ n ni b a li , m , and the de,ecration of eorp,e•. Coun.el­ ing "the wisdo m of repugnance" ag'i"'t d on ing. Kass eonde" ",, "the Franke n,teinian huhris to create human life and increasingly to control it, destiny:'" But iflhe Frank enstein melaphor is so prote,n that il sometime s seems to defy categorization, it does h.ve particularly sigrJ ificant forms. I h.n chosen to begin with exampk< from left-wing d, 'pedfic plot of bodily . nimation. a. a contemporary l.nguage of polilieal d'" ent. Thi' boo k inn'ligates one prehistory of such politic.l critiques. tracking th e f rankenstein melaphor ;n u.s. literature, fil m, and cultu re of the past two cent uries ;n relation to the interdependent them os of race and nati"n. These the mes conyerge in the ,mt. ined. mu ltinlent, and revelatory imagery of a bla ck Ame ric.n Franken,tein mnn,ter. Writing in 1860 on lhe eve of C ivil War, Freder ick Dougl.ss dedared, "Slavery is everywhere the pet mo nster of th t Americ. n peo pl<.· " A c ings of tho era in term. of the monster', revenge against his creator. In the srher< of dom or os a defen,e of mun,ter, them ­ selves. In a rad,t culture that alrea dy ~o n,ide red bla~ k men mo n,trous and contained them within pattrn.li,t rhetoriC, the Fran ken,t<-in ,tory, wilh its fo~ us on the literal making of mo nst.'r> and the unmaking of fa· th ers, provided a stylized rhetoric with which to turn an ex;,;ting diseour, e of black m"n'!rn'ity a",ins! it, d f. Blac" Franken,tein ,Inri,'" I argue', ef­ fected four kind, of antiradst crilique: they humaniled the slaw; they ex· plJined, if not justified. his violen«; they con demned the ,la veowner; and they exposed Ihe instability of wh ite power. These argument, abo ut black Frankenst ein ' IOries are organi zed chron­ ojogic.lly in four chapters, with an "m pha'i' on the turn of th,' twentieth ~en t u ry. when fiction by Stephen Crane and Paul Lauren« Dunb" ilr· tie ulated the liierar y possibilities of the black Fran kemtdn monster most full y_ My aim i, kss to "tfer • comprch"n"i"e hi,to,ia! , u",'''y tha ll to trace. networ" of alliliation s du, tering at par tieu lar hi,torieal moments and acro" litnary, cin..matic, and oth..r cultural f",m'. In chapter " I show that the imagery of the hanke nstein story is central 10 U.S, discu, ­ sio"s of race and nation in the nitleteen th cenmry. The Fran kenstein mon­ , t.., "..[\' ed as th.' dy, topian ' p ,·~t,· r of a bod y politic t..nuom ly a" ..mbled f,o m disparate parts, as well as the embodiment of racial upri sing in J 6 )",,,,ducrion nation rhet orkally founded on the imagery of filial revolt. Beginning with conn ections forged betwee" the Franken,tein , tory and aecou"t, of the Nat Turner revolt, I argue fnr the importan« of thi,, tor y in antehdlum wriling by !\.1 argard Fuller, John Van Evrie, lIerman Melville, and Fred er­ ick Douglass; in lik rary and vi' ual a, Hen ry Loui, Stephen" and Charles Sumner; in the newly cod ified post war rhetorics of mi,cegen.tion and imerrad al rape; and in the tum' of·the -century language of African Am,'rican ra~ i a l uplift. I turn in chapters 2 and 3 to more explicilly literary representations of a hlack Fran ken,tein momter in turn ·of·the-«ntury fiction hy Stephen Crane and Paul laure nce Du nbar. In chapter 2. J focns on Crane', 1he Monsrer ('898), arguing th.t this novella intertwine' a th emati c foeu, nn a hlack mon,ter with an ae>the tic inquiry into the resemhlance he­ tween mons tors and metaphors. Situating I he Monster in the conte xt of I.le-nineteenth-cen tury rhetor ic about metaphor as wd l as mOll' trosity, I argue that altemion to the no vdl is figurative , urfaee transforms our un ­ derstanding of it' raci,l them,'s as well as of metap hor it,e1f. In chapta 3, I analyze Dunbar', nnvel7he .~rort oflhe God. (1902), wh ich expl icitly names its violent hlack protago nist", a Fran kenstein mons ter, along with other wur ks from thro ughout Du nbar', Carecr. I argue that Du nbar', writ­ ing pivot, on the qU"'tion of paro dy, a for m that is extensively the malized within She'lIey's Frankensrein, a, well as within the African American ,ig­ nifying tr aditi on from whic h Dunbar drew. Du nbar and Cra ne , I show, self-rclkxivcly adapt a nowl in ....hich the Fran kenstein monster is already both a dead metaphor brought to life and a debased and debasing parody of an origina l. T....enti eth-century block Frankenstein ,torie" the suhject of ehapter 4, are dom inated hy the visual translation of the story into film. 1 hegin by suggesting the aesthetic conn ections between film form and the Franken­ ,tei n mo n,tn in two , ;lent fi lms: the Edi,on F"",kentr"i" (1910), lhe Ii"t film wrsion of l he novel. and D. W. Griffith's 'l he Birrh of a "'alion (t9t5) , the founding cinematic depiction of blockness as monstr ou,. J argne that th,' mo, t famo u, of F"",ke",r<, in lilm', ram<" Whale', '9) 1 F" ",h'" srein and 1935 Bride of Frllnke",tein, arc implieit hlock Fran ken,tein , tories, which updal<' the homo erotici,m of Shdlcy', n,wel an d th,' Edj, on F,anke",rein, while rejecting the radst vo~ah" lary of dnematic mons trosity initiated hy Gritfith. The fi lm Blarkenst",n (dir. William Levey, t973) ma ke, explicit thc raCial implicat inn' of the Whale fi lm, by situating the mon,ter wilhin the self-parodying aesthetic5 of blaxplo itation horror. Turn ing in the second h.lf of th is "h'rter to works by bla<:k wr ite.., [ argu e th.t the figure of a blaek Frankenstein mo nster indire ctly structure, nonfictIon of th ~ civJl right' . ml 1I1.d;, Pow"r era' by jame' lI.ldwin . nd Eldridgo Cleaver and dir ~ct[y shapes the autobiogr. phie'. essay', , nd p ~rfor m a n ces of P ick Gregory, G r<' g"r ~ bring, the " pposilional p""ibilitios of. black Franken· stein monster to fruition. moving him from [ uropo to Amer ic. yi. Afric. and from white man's gothic sp ~e ter to blaek m, n', comic satire. In an arterword, 1 turn to a recen t painting by Glenn Ligon, wh i"h br ings toge t h~r Yis u.l .nd verbal m od ~, of repro ,enting the Franken stein story in now waY', In so doin g. Ligon .' ugge't, now configuration' of ra<:e and ,e xua lity in the bl.ck Fr.nkenst ein met. phor, wh ile dr. wing att~ n tio n to t h ~ limits of visibility, of verbali zation, . nd of m ~ taphor.' • whole. Ap.rt from .ddr•."ing a , ur prisi ng .b,once in the scholarship on f'r"nk enstdn, th is book h.s thre ~ m. jor go.I,. First. this ,tudy u s ~, the blaek Fr a n ke n, t ~in m" ifi,anc< to American ~ ultu re , The Eng­ IL,h .tory of a momter mad. in a European laboratory, J argue , has as domestic a claim on Ameriean literary culture a, that of th e , lave in hi, cabin. If this .tudy makes a urney in which race i, "added" to Fr~ n ken. lein " il rcache, America, but rather a

:vI arcu, Wood has emphasized the mixture of "masochism, para noia , ,df­ delu sion, hypo cri'y. anx icty, ange r. terror, guilt, horror. and envy which lie, fn' qum tly di' gui'ed. with in Engli'h aHempts h> rC'p"nd to the k-gacy of Atlantic ,lavery."" We might call this list a taxonomy of the ' white At­ lantic" in its most anxiou' mode. and it is an apt , ummary hoth of Vic· tor Frankenstein's own re'ponse, to the mom ter he creates and of the resp on'e'S to , lavery of some of the white American writers under di, ­ cussi" n here. such a, Thom,,-' D.,w and Thomas Dixo n. Other auth<1", and art i't', however, arc not red ucible to a language of wh ite anxiety. as with Stephen Crane, and ,till others criticize this language, as with lames W hale. Collectively, th ese works by whites and African Americam show th e tran ..tlantie circulation of Frankenstein imagery in Anglo-A merican expressions of wh ite anx iety and in African American acco unt, of antira· cist res istanc c, and also in wo rks, acro ss race, that retlect hybr id mixtures of an xiety and resi,tance. The black and white Atlantic , tori es generated in the wake of l'r~n K ..nstein ,imultan eo usly s u~ es t the novel', fit with U.S. narrative, of race and nation, and the interdependence t>( thosc traditions with a broader Atlantic world. Like Harri et Beecher Stowe's Unde Tom. the Fran kenstein monster is an iconic figure creat,'d by a woman writer. A' a ,tudy in cultural con­ structiom of race-both nationally , pecific and transatlantica lly orga · nized ~ thi, i" n",,,,,,aril y, an inve,tigation of g"n der and ,exuality in U.S. cuhure. A, more than a quarter century of feminist criticism has ,hown, Shelley's Frun Ken s!ein uses it, male-centered plots to explore questions ahout wom "n , indudi ng fema le auth or'hip, ma«'mity, ,exuality, and th.· very field of feminist cri tici,m, which has hea-oily emphasized Shelley's no vel at di tferent stages of its OW " acade mic development." BlMk l'r~nK ­ en, ld n enters this critical genealogy at the juncture of femin ist critici,m with stu dies of masculinity. The majority of the wor ks under discussion arc by me" . nd ah"ut m<·n. and they e~tcn d what Bette Lond"" term, Fmnken.sics looking westward to "virgin laod "- focus on t n, lay of tne land. Wnen tneir neatnr·flgur", ore undone, tne,e, t"o, hcome mclo d ram a' of be,et man nood." Moreover, a' a sludy "f men locked in inti mate rdation t(l eacn ",ner, this pro joct confir ms and extend, tno , ox"al C(ln notations of Sndloy's Fr~n k " ",' ei M on tn e lOrrain of Ameriean eulture. Eve Kosof'ky Sedgwick fir-t identifi "d the organi, ing tahkau of Shelley's Fm"ko",'ei" .. lhat " f "two me n chasing one an othe r anoss a landscape . It is importantly unde­ cidahle in tnis tahleao . .. wnelner tne tW(l me n repre'ent tW(l C(l n,ci ous· nesses or (lnly one; and it i. importantly undecidahle wneth er tnoir bond . . • is murderou. M amorou,,"" Those stori"" expan d on the novd ', inler­ .'sl in rdation,nip, hetween me n, from tne ho moerotic to tne nomopho · bie. Panic aboul sexual int imacy betweco men conjoins. in lhe black Franken"tein tradition, with rari't ,0nSlruction , of black "exuality and, later, with more atlirmative accou nts of gay possibility. In the.e dynamics bC"1 ween men, the black Fr.nken,lOin tr adition highlight' the inlOrracial male "hudd y stor y' so central to American culture, Some of tne ,tories under discussion present both creator and creation as African Ame ri­ can, but mO,,1 emph "i'e , ero,"-ra "i, l eon tr..t betwe"n wh itt ,",'ator and black crealion. In so doing, they bo tn revo"l tno anxioty heni nd Ihe inlenaei, 1 buddy plots of Arne'riean "ullure and , u>lll,·, t t" ols for rad i"al invcrsio'" of Inese plot" In the hl"ck Franke nstein tradi tion , wnite and black men togetn er arc not so mucn Iluck and lim as lIuck and Frank, an antagon ;,'i" pairing in whi"h the bla"k man u"." the bod}' mad" by the' wnite m ~ ll as a lethal weapon against him." My firS l goal in B I ~ ck Fra nKenstein, then, i. to snow how Inc hlack Frankonslei n metap nor affirms, and al the same time cnallenge>, struc' ture s of race ;md masculin ity in U.S. cultur e. My second goal is to of­ fer a , tud y in fo,m, f" r the projc'<:t is "' mu"h about the ma king of the' Frankom1ein metap n" r in aestnetic terms .. in cultural ones. 1 explore the formal clements of thi. project of metapnor-m aking at severallevd •. At lhe kvel of genre, in tra"ing a genealogy of bl."k Franken, tein slo · rics across nineteenth- and twentieth- centur y literature and into film, I hrin g t(lgethn tne crilical framewor", surround ing dilfe" 'nt f",m, of the gotnic. Race is now often a1 tne center of studies of ninetcenth -century gOlnic American liter ature, hut tne gothic in lWenlietn -century literature i' ge'nerally routed regionally into J i, cu"i"n' of Ih e' Snulh, anJ interp re· tations of film horror ,ddom focus on race." Emph..i,ing raci,,11hemcs Imrod"ction 11 throughout the,e ditferent gothic m",1ia, I draw partkular attentio n to the centrality of African Am erican writing in and about th e gothic, The "hla"k goth i,,' writero whllm I discuss here - Douglass, Dunhar, Bald· win , Cleaver, and Grcgory-con,istem ly usc the genre 10 etfect a re, iMant stralegy that Ter",. C"ddu ha, called "haunting back ,'" The gothic is not the on ly genre und er transformation hore: a, the "Fran kenfoods," " MeFran kt-n'lc in ,~ "Frankenpine," an d "Ch eneystein" ex­ amp les all sugg,',t, the Frankenstein , tory ofh' n moV", from hurror into humor, It i, no accident that lhe genoalogy of black Fran kenstein , to­ rie, that I lrace culminales in lhe work of a comedian, Dick Gregory_ In I'mnke",roi"'s theatr ical and popular hi, tory, humor has often blun ted th e voice of the mon'tor, bUl humor has al,o b.,<,n used to dismember th., _,tor y', lang uage of demonilation and lurn it back against symbolic mo nster-makers , In this ca,e, comedy provide, a form of leverage against raci,m, a way of laughins back as well as hau nting back . TI,e black Frank­ enstein genealogy, I sugge,t, force, a reth inking of "black comedy," , ug­ g.' that it is • modc as insi'tontly connuud to U.S. r.cial ~u e'linn, a, the "blackness' of the golhi". In add ition to ~ ue, tion, of gen re. issue, of form are intrinsic to the Franken,tein Slory in more ,tructur.l ways as welL AII~gory, for ~X3m ­ pic, is one fra mework for the reading, that f"lIow-1 read m ~ny of th,'Se Fr a n k~ n, tein , tor ic' "" racial a ll~gori~' - and a ll~g ory it, d f, as a rhet orical form, has ",me , imilaritie, to the Frankemtein momter. Allo;::ory has of· lOn b~~n dcvalucd as Ilat, artificial. or mechanical -term, that haY~ been appl icd I" thc mo nster too. In Angus Fktchcr', influential cha raclOril.a­ lion, alkgori<:al char",te" ,com to act as though posse"ed by "daemol15" and as though they a r~ ">," a combi nation for which h~ explicitly name, Shd ley's Fran kenstein mo nst~r one of ,ev~ral "prototypical cre­ ation, :"" All'110ry has b~~n rccx am i n~d in recent literary theory, its pc­ j"rative t",m, b"th re,'alued an d hist"riciud, in her study of nincteenth­ c~n tu ry American lilerature. for example, Cindy Weinstein , how, how d<'Seription. of allegory as a m ~ e h a n lc al proe~ss correspond to accou nt. of I ~bor' \ Thi' study con tinu e., the pn)«''' of r.-approi,ing all~gory, by identifying a ncw ground-U.S, roee relations- for which the Franken­ stein m"nster's st" ry can , ,,, ve as a figure and by providi ng a ncw w ~y "r th inking about hi, ,tory as, itself, a commenlary on the rd ation bet ween fi[;ure and ground. A ma.; or way I con,id,-r this relation bet w ,- ~ n fi gure and ground i, through an,ly,i, of the structure of parody. Parody i, often celebrated in contemp orary culture and theor y, and Frankenstein has frequently bcon parodied. ntost famou sly in 's filnt Yo" ng F" ",kenstein (t974)." Thi, ' Iudy turn' allention to the much l"n ger his10ry of parody 0' a f"rm. ""alp ing nindeemh-ccn tury parodies of Franken,tein and the rd ation of parody to Shelley', n,,"cI. At the ,arne time. I explore the role "f p,,,, dy in bla~ k ~ull nral pr a~ 1ice, particularly a, Iate-ninc tconth-century American writers eng ag~ d in it. In this project, parody is at once deeply histor k al ond in' i,tently literory, not '0 m u~h impo>cd .,.ternolly on an original te. t as given proleptic shape by the te.1 thol will be it> parodic target. The issue of f"rm mo,t impnrtant tn thi, project - without which it, analysos of genre, allegnry. and parody ~nul d not procced- i, that of met­ "phor. Thb e, a study of a literary met'ph<>r, but one in wh i"h metaphor itsd f has a "hanging hi,tor y and a d yn o m i ~ form. I discu ,_' thi, history most c>plicitly in my ex"", ination of Crane's The M onster. a text hyper­ boli cally attuned to quc, tions of fi gu r a t i v~ language; in my a""ount of Crane. a sp<'C ializro form of metap hnr- the dead metaphor- has a privi­ leged 1'10",. .\fore generally, the making of literary met aph"r sutfuses the pr oj e~ t a' a wholc. Shelley', Franke n,tein m"",ter. I argue. is a met,phor for metaphor itsd f, and the Frankenstein stor ies Ihat foll" w "ft ~ n drama ­ tile the pr"c c,>. ~ , whereby m et a p h" rs -li k~ mon, k r, -are made. That tho Franhn,lein stor k s I analYle roi,e highly charged r.dal que, tio", , uggest' the high , tah, involved in taking md aph" r ,;eriously a, a w' y of making ~u i t ura l me ani ng, These stor ies also sUM est th e importan"e of taking culture seri ously as • way of undn,tanding ae"thdic form, . The /ic·ld, of ae,thelics and cul­ tura l , tudies have often bccn ,con a, oppo,ed, if not mu tually exd u,ive, with guestions of th e a ~ sth l k . en,Idn advanc" this repar ative convcrsalion betwcon fields. Franke",tein metaphors, a, I discuss Ihem, have e m erg~d bolh thro ugh cultural frame­ w" rk, , nd 0' ae'thdie for m,_ In tum. the black Franken,tein mo n,tn /nlrod" rlio" I)

~om ments on both ~ul t u ra l and aesthe tk modes of making metaph or, and on th ~ relati ons b~ tw~~ n th c,~ mod~s . The third gllal of th i' p ro j e ~ t - inlertwineJ with hoth ~ ultu ral and ae" Ih etic qu ~' t io ns -is to e~ p l ",~ metaphor', polilic< . A, my op~ ning exam ­ pit's fro m the aftermath of 9/11 sugge'l, the Franke n' tein mon,ler is ollen invoked in highly politicized situatio ns. The black l'rankenstein mons ter is a key tigure in th~ hi'tory of ntonskrs a. politically char g~d for m" os well a_' in the hi,tory of monslrusit)' as a comlilulive fealure of lh.language of politi"." l h. monster ov.rlaps with a variety of politically charged fic­ lional fi gure s, parlicularly the , the ot her umlc,J ~haracter who was enshrined in nin:e of blood." The ' tor ie' unJer di, ru"inn he're wnfirm Ih<' political pro~imily of Frank­ enslein oml vomp ire imag<'s to eo~h ot her and 10 U.S. ,"cial n.rratives. Frcderid' Douglass and Dick Gr~g ory, for examp le, u,e b('1 '.J .11'uo Ul ' 41 ilu"n JO "pJO'] .'lpnV .' ,oJI]do, od 01 "'lln'!lPP ,1'11 "'0'1' 0' 1" ,("ljllnq " A"'" 1""1'"1 UI "" ' I1 " 41Inll "AJlun", J" 'l lllW J"U JJljlOUl "'lllJU '"4 J01

UO I/J"f'O-'J"1 t l study here arc primarily wor k.> in print and on film. a focu, that leaves many tnedb to be u"min ed. In the genealogy of n i nd c~nt h -c< " tur y American Frankenstein ' tor ie', for u ample, further ,tud y aw, ils on the ri ch the, tric,! history of Fm~ k ens te i ~ . J ,top in the e,r1y ' 990s, leaving other' to analyze new me"ia th,t take the Frankenstein ,tory in fre'h directions, Such an a"alysis might take as foundational Shelley .>on's hyp ertut novel P"kll ,,"ork Girl (1991), which interwea"es contemporary po'tstructur,li,t theory with h~ nk<' ns te in and which imaginatively eX ' ploits the congr uence between the momter's patchwor k body and t he disarticul.ted . nd recombine" dem,'nt, of hyper le.t form." )ack.>on's current proje<:t, ' Ski,,;' is a short story in wh ich thomands of partici­ p,nts h.ve v olu n tc~ r ed, Ihrough tht' Internet, to h a v ~ " s i n g l~ word uf th e stury tattoo~d on their bod ies, This project suggests Ihe " ngoing impor· U n e~ of the Frankenslein story to t w~nty- fi r s t- . I do not claim that raci,l me, nings , tt,ch only to Am er­ iean_more ,puifieally, U.S.-Fr'nk<'nste;ns; nor d" I tn,'an t" suggest Ihat race is the " nl)' index of Am erican ilation in these te. ts, as if, for ex· amp le, the d.,s politic, s" " i'ible in the "over, Briti,h ru eption art' not also a part of the American scene. As H. L. ,'I.1 ak how and Chri s Ilaldick, am ong o t h~rs . h,v~ shown, r.ci. l Ill ~ an in gs att.ch to Br itish v ~ r s i ons of lh " Fronkcn.'lt'in lllon ,ICr, .nd d,ss pulitics art' intri nsic t" American ones ," l h i, stud y aims to complement such works, providing a produc· ti v~ point of departure for rethinking Fr" n k ~mlr i n in an Ame rican Stud ­ ies context. l h is context all"ws us to unde rstan"! its racial dynam ics anew as th~y ar ~ forged in relation to i (O n o g r a p h i ~ s of the United S t.t~ s, ~ w n a, th''Sc i Cect ion appears in Ambrose Bierce's short story "),loxon's ),1"lCr" (1898), , ret~ l1in g of Fm nkmstein in wh ieh th e mon­ , ter -a fezwnring chess-pl'yer with th,' tor'" of a ~or i lla - connok s tht putative saYager y of both black men and the femin ized East.'· Further inquiry might examine the intersection of black l'ra llken,tcin , torie' with other narr,tives of race and cthnidty, as these ",rratives illumi"ate u.s. cullure and a, they organite "ther a"ount, "fnational, interna tionaI, and tran"national mon strosity. Exten ding beyond works of ncti"n, furtber inquiry might a;'o eUm· ine the role of the Fran kemtein mctaphor within contemporary cultural thcory. I will citc ;mt two examp le, . In Donna lIaraway',"A Cyborg Man­ ife, to: Science, Technology, ami Sociali,t·Femini'm in the laic n '''enhdh Century" ( 19~\), one of the mo,t innuential works of contemporary femi­ ni,t Ih",' ry, Shelley's Fm"ke"slei" i' named ncar the