Many monsters in Victorian British novels were intimately connected with the protagonist, and representative of both a character's personal failings and the failings of the society in which they lived. By contrast, more recent film adaptations of these novels depict the creatures as arbitrarily engaging in senseless violence, and suggest a modern fear of the uncontrollable. This dichotomy is here analyzed through examinations of the classic novels Frankenstein, Dracula, H. Rider Haggard's She, Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Wells's The Island of Dr. Moreau, and analysis of the 20th century film adaptations of the works.
Abigail Burnham Bloom teaches Victorian literature at Hunter College and The New School in New York City. She is editor of Nineteenth-century British Women Writers and Personal Moments in the Lives of Victorian Women.