Frankenstein was originally a philosophical novel, Michael Saler reveals in his review of The Annotated Frankenstein. Mary Shelley used her monster to comment on the terrors of the French Revolution, patriarchy, social justice, and slavery, he writes.
“When danger or pain press too nearly, they are incapable of giving any delight, and are simply terrible; but at certain distances and with certain modifications, they may be, and they are delightful, as we every day experience. The cause of this I shall endeavour to investigate further.” David Shields quotes Edmund Burke in an interview about his new book War Is Beautiful.
"No drugs on the bus!" Take a road trip with poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and some other really fantastic poets.
Norman Rockwell was an unhappy and enervated man who became iconic by painting scenes of happy, energetic people. He developed a style that became synonymous with idyllic visions of America. At Page-Turner, Lee Siegel reads Deborah Solmon's American Mirror, a new biography of Rockwell that acknowledges the painter’s contradictions without “mocking or scolding” him for the gulf between his life and his art.
“My Blake, the radical visionary poet of the 1960s, seems almost old-fashioned now. I realize how many other Blakes there have been, both before and since.” Richard Blake writes about the greatness of William Blake(s). Need more poetry? Check out our On Poetry column.