The Myth of Frankenstein and Scientific Hubris

Here’s an excellent essay by Phillip Ball, ‘“Frankenstein” Reflects the Hopes and Fears of Every Scientific Era‘ that challenges the oft-circulated idea that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is directed against the hubris of scientists. Sometimes, this is framed as feminist critique, but this can be challenged. It is, of course, more complex and subtle than that (though Shelley’s 1831 revisions do tend to give weight to that approach). Ball also goes on to discuss how the myth of Frankenstein, how the narrative has been reinterpreted and adapted since its inception, says much about cultural anxieties.

And, still on Frankenstein, there’s a talk at the Barbican with Prof. Angela Wright and Prof. Mark Bishop, one of a series on classic SF texts:

Penguin Classics, in partnership with the Barbican, presents a series of book club events, each focusing on an iconic title from the Science Fiction genre. These events are open to all, although it is recommended that attendees have a familiarity with the title being discussed, and existing book club groups are particularly encouraged to attend.

Mary Shelley’s enduring novel, Frankenstein, will be the subject of the penultimate book club event. Henry Eliot, Creative Editor of Penguin Classics, is joined by a prestigious line-up of speakers to explore this iconic Science Fiction text – Professor Angela Wright of the University of Sheffield, whose critical study of Mary Shelley is due to be published later this year, and Professor Mark Bishop, an Artificial Intelligence specialist and Professor of Cognitive Computing at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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