Contemporary Work

An examination of a work contemporary to Frankenstein


Volume II: Chapter One

Volume III: Chapter Four

Volume III: Chapter Five

Volume III: Chapter Six

1818 Text of Frankenstein

Caroline Beaufort-Frankenstein

Map of Minor Characters

The New Frontier

Author's Letters 

Contemporary Response

Romantic Era Timeline

Romanticism Links

San Jose State University Department of English

Citations and Sources


"THE Half-Brothers" by the authors of the O'Hara Tales discusses the prevalence of poverty in mid-19th century England. The authors, John and Michael Banim, include a testament to the ease with which wealth can be lost.   The Banims, brothers, experienced circumstances similar to the protagonists in their short story, being born in poverty, lifted up by hard-work, then cast back down into dire situations by seeming whims of Fate.  Despite their hardships, they produced a large body of work which, in part, attempted to cry for reconciliation between Ireland and England, rather than revolution.  "The Half-Brothers" involves hardships experienced by people in both England and Ireland, though the story itself takes place in Kent, England.  The Banims, being Irish, sought to gain sympathy with English audiences by portrayingd both Irish and English people in unifying contexts, even arranging literary romances between English heroes and Irish maidens.  In many ways, they believed the English protestants and Irish catholics in Ireland were like half-brothers, and like the two brothers in their short story, the two peoples had to find a love for each other that transcended religious and economic tension. 


Works Cited

Banim, John and Michael.  'The Half-Brothers'.  The Keepsake for 1829.  Ed. Frederic Mansel Reynolds.  New York:  Broadview Encore Editions, 2006.

Banim, John (1798–1842)'. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.                  [,  accessed 10 April 2008]