Parodic Transitions to Corporeal Reality: The Spectator’s Experience(s) of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein

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Scholars agree that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of the most influential novels from the twentieth century. Recent studies (Cutchins and Perry; Saggini; Parrino) have called for a more interdisciplinary and transmedia approach to Frankenstein’s adaptations. Friedman’s article focuses on Mel Brook’s parodic film adaptation Young Frankenstein (1974) and analyses the latter’s relationship with the target texts through the lens of Iser’s reader-response criticism, which has not yet been applied in studies on film parody. Referring to the paradox of parody (Hutcheon), the article argues that Young Frankenstein does not transgress the authority of gothic horror genre, but, whilst disrupting spectators’ expectations, operates a shift from the abstract mechanisms of genre to a corporeal dimension. Concepts such as dynamic interaction, negation and implied reader allow Friedman to demonstrate that spectators’ meaning construction takes place between degrees of knowledge (Rose) concerning the target films and their dynamic interaction with the gothic genre, which is characterised by an insistence on corporeality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)f1-f25
Number of pages25
JournalJournal for Literary and Intermedia Crossings
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2023


  • Frankenstein
  • Gothic
  • Parody
  • Young Frankenstein
  • Reader Response Criticism

Research Centres

  • Research Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies


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