“the labors of men of genius…” This quote comes from Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein chapter 2 page 27. The context of this is that Frankenstein has just moved away from his friends and family to peruse further education. His professor tells him that the narrowest pursuit of one singular discipline of chemistry is folly in that its too narrow to understand the field of science fully. This inspires Frankenstein to broaden his horizons.
This sets a good precedent for this chapter in which Will moves his entire family to Virgina where Will seeks to expand his photographic palate, where he normally photographs war-zones, impoverished areas, ect now he seeks to document how a family settles into a new house. What seems to really inspire him is the discovery of the ¼” discrepancy where Reston is pulled in, being a man of architectural science and seeks to assure that Navy has made a mistake. (NOTE: For fear of sounding completely illiterate, despite every other site I searched claiming that the quote comes from chapter 3 page 34 I could not find it on that page much less that chapter. I read it on google books towards the end of chapter 2.)
It’s worth noting that the original full title was “Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus”. Which got me thinking (the following are the type of thoughts that keep me awake at night): who’s Prometheus in the context of this book? It’s a seemingly easy question until one remembers this titan’s less famous twin brother, Epimethius. When we consider them as a pair, they seem to fit the Navidson brothers reasonably well however the problem comes into play when we consider Karen, who I can safely assert plays the role of Pandora/Anesidora in this theatric work (see Chapter 2 Page 10 lines 4 and 43-4). This is not to say that the characters in here conform to only one mythological archetype each, but I’ve found evidence for many of the characters to fit many archtypes spanning the mythological themes highlighted in this book (mostly Greeco-Roman, Norse, and Hebrew). I’ll highlight the evidence I find as I find it, but a more in-depth/centralized analysis of the characters will come in the future in a stand alone post “Character List”.
One argument in favour of Navy being Prometheus is how the movie he creates is comparable to the monster Dr. Frankenstein intended to make and the monster he actually made (which is the one everyone remembers). However, this discussion is better fleshed out in the “Character List” post so I digress.
This is a pretty clear reference to Frankenstein in that the Doctor intended to create life, a thing of beauty, however what he ended up creating was something monstrous and horrible. This can also be a illusion towards the House being compared to the monster, epically if one considers Shelly’s description of the the monster once completed uncannily large but with perfectly white teeth, black lips and long black hair (reminiscent of the white siding and black hallways).
“All too often major discoveries are the unintended outcome of experiments or explorations aimed at achieving entirely different results.”
I don’t remember what documentary I saw that mentioned something almost exactly along these lines but the film maker said “I wasn’t really sure what I was looking to say or convey when I begun this project but it found me at some point.” I figured it was relevent enough since The Navidson Record (TNR) is a documentary.
“Isaiah Rosen, Ph.D…Eddie Hapax press…” This one took a bit of searching but here’s what I’ve come up with. Hapax is short for hapax legomenon. Both Isaiah and Rosen are Hebrew names which lead me to the Hebrew examples on said page which the Hebrew bible has only one occurrence of Lilith (which is what a hapax is) which happens to be in the book of Isiah 34:14. And Lilith, being Adam’s first wife and the first woman banished from Eden after banging the archangel Samael, is a rather interesting character. Worth knowing about anyway. More interesting and relevant points about Lilith in mythology:
- the etymology of her name means “lady of the night” or “lady of darkness”
- she is said to be the branches of the spirit tree in the Epic of Gilgamesh
- in another version of the epic of Gilgamesh she is said to have planted the spirit tree and built a house in it once it reach maturity 10 years later and then destroyed said house.
It would appear that Isaiah 34:14 alludes to a tree in which Lilith makes a home in and being the goddess of darkness its not a far stretch to guess that this myth plays a role in the inspiration for the house.
- Chapter 1 Page 4 (houseofleavesblog.wordpress.com)
- Chapter one Pages 1-3 (houseofleavesblog.wordpress.com)
- Information on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (costumediscounters.com)
- The ABC’s of Villainy: F is for Frankenstein (thehighwall.com)