whitman’s brain, frankenstein


In the 1931 movie Frankenstein, the doctor’s hunchback assistant Franz raids the medical school’s lab to retrieve a brain for the monster. Whoops! He drops the jar that has the good brain and takes the bad brain instead – the brain of a demented murderer. (Video below.) Who would have guessed that there is some factual basis for this set piece? Walt Whitman’s brain may have been on the back of someone’s mind as the scenario was written, though it cannot be proved for certain. You see, Walt Whitman’s postmortem brain was put into some sort of a jam jar, and somebody dropped it, and it shattered. The brain, not the jar … or rather, probably, both. Or neither. Actually, it’s not certain the brain ever made it into a jar, or was dropped while it was in a sort of rubber sack.

more from Cynthia Haven at The Book Haven here.