a rationale for the arrangement and content of the site
|poetry explication: thomas moore|
a note about the structure an appearance of this website: there are some minor differences between the mozilla firefox interface and those of other internet browsers; this website was created using firefox, and it looks best using firefox. all of the links above, other than the two sections from the novel itself, are my work. there are, however, several very useful links on this website's homepage, which are the product of a small class of students at san jose state university. my sincerest thanks goes to those peers, who, buried in the trenches that accompany the study of gothic literature, have produced incredible pieces.
the utility of my website's rationale is to explain the connection between my content and the themes, structure, images, and so on found in frankenstein (1818). this site is intended to be scholarly, but is itself supposed to be a bit of a work of art; in other words, many of the choices that were made during the construction of this product were made precisely and intentionally, and not just as a means of receiving a grade. categorized below are some explanations about why the site looks the way it does, why different things are included and what sorts of thoughts those inclusions are intended to prompt, and a general defense of the organization and content of this site.
regarding the theme
during my course of study in philosophy, i cultivated an awareness for the psychological effect that visual details--like color, shape, speed, size, and so on--may have on a viewer's perception of an object; i would assume that graphic designers and architects alike are attune to this same tendency of human nature. relying on this relationship to reveal itself, i decided that the layout of my site could be a important tool to use in the effort to convey a theme that shelley artfully highlights in her novel: forced disjunction as combination. the instances of this theme in frankenstein are glaring: the creature's body is made up of parts that fit together according to scientific principle, but are maximally disgusting when viewed as a rotting set; frankenstein and his creation, two organisms who necessarily have some sort of relationship, are the subjects of heightened and prolonged tension because of their inextricability; the creature's mode of conducting his feelings--namely, by way of murder and deceit--is considered inappropriate in a societal setting, but the creature is placed in that setting straight away, and then abandoned without guidance or temperament. it is clear that throughout shelley's novel, pieces that do not fit together are made to do so, resulting in calamity, anger, emptiness and longing, and sometimes in death.
it is my intention to show that this sort of conflict can and certainly does have some negative consequences when it is not addressed and thoughtfully maintained; however, in the field of art--that is, in website design and in literary criticism, for example--this sort of disjunction can be utilized instead of avoided, harnessed instead of relinquished, and appreciated instead of feared.
in the very invention of this site, the effort has been many-parted. the research contributions have come from many different students, each of whom had personal goals and who searched experts--who also had personal views to express--and subjects based on those specific goals. the arsenal of research compiled in the links on my homepage is the definition of many becoming one, by necessity: those catalogs are our creatures.
further, the exploration of frankenstein is made more fruitful when it is examined as a work that is a product of many diverse mitigating pressures, as it is a novel that is an assembly of emotions, viewpoints, and techniques that were unique. it is reasonable to believe that most literary works require much the same multifarious input from the author: after all, an essay without a critical eye or a poem that does not feature any emotional weight is relatively useless. but this novel in particular is worth noting, because it is the product of and voice of a citizen who has experienced several revolutions, is a pioneer in the novel as a form, is intrigued by and wary of the dangers of scientific progress, and has the rare opportunity to travel, study, write for leisure, and to correspond with europe's intellects. a multi-faceted approach to frankenstein and its author will provide a deeper understanding of all the influences that inspired the work; this is precisely a goal of the literary historical timeline, the related links composite, the poetry explication, the contemporary authorship and biography, and the review of a review.
the decision to place only a very few hyperlinks into the chapter selections was an intentional one, and is a reflection of personal preference. when reading a novel for the second time, it can be cumbersome and controlling to read notation from previous readings instead of producing spontaneous, unguided thoughts. the sparse links that are provided are links to other areas in this website, which would have been available in the first place.
one of the most challenging facets of creating this website was trying to hone down the amount of information packed into each page. reading text on a computer screen eventually starts to hurt, so i constantly struggled to eliminate blocks of analysis in order to make the site more manageable. its possible that the lowercase type inhibits easy readership, but that decision is discussed a bit later in this section. given the goal of maintaining a balance between tons of text and enjoyment of the site, the choice to maintain a low level of stimulating images, garish colors, flashing pictures, and so on, was an intentional one. the appearance of the website is intended, in a minor way, to echo a notebook of the sort that frankenstein kept regarding his scientific study: it contains sections on slightly tangential topics in order to broaden one's understanding of the main theme, it is a portfolio that is constantly in flux, it owes its existence to an obsession with technological advancement and inquiry, and it has a section devoted to drawings of the creature.
the color scheme and the fonts featured throughout the site are as simple as possible, but each was chosen for a particular reason. the purple-on-purple hues in the index and the dull purple titles should reflect the feelings of melancholy and anguish that is pervasive in frankenstein's experience. additionally, it should be noted that my own work is done in lower case in order to set it apart from original work done by other authors. just as frankenstein's creature is a crude assembly of other peoples' parts, so too is this website an amalgam. my "part", so to speak, is aesthetically minimal, and is intended to create a bit of visual dissonance--an intentional "mismatch"--when juxtaposed against the traditional look of academic works. thus, this website is itself a compilation of previously unconnected parts, assembled here for the purpose of literary criticism.
several of the components of this website were mandatory to include; additions to the standard contents are the images of the creature section and the examination of sartrean existentialism. these supplementary pages are intended to broaden the reader's view of frankenstein in a way that is substantively different than the timeline and the contemporary authorship pages should, as discussed above. instead of demonstrating the way in which the novel was a product of a wide variety of pressures, these additional pages are intended to connect philosophy , technology, and pop culture that are much more modern (and even current) to the themes in frankenstein. in this way, i hope that any fan of the novel will see in these other pieces the same glint of social criticism or existential exploration that is so important in frankenstein, and that a new avenue of study or hobby--blogging, drawing, philosophy, comic books, and so on--may begin.
travis campbell engl149: technoromanticism questions, comments, concerns, feedback site last updated 21 May 2008