Bernie Wrightson's Frankenstein: Or the Modern Prometheus
Frankenstein was Mary Shelley's immensely powerful contribution to the ghost stories which she, Percy Shelley, and Byron devised one wet summer in Switzerland. Its protagonist is a young student of natural philosophy, who learns the secret of imparting life to a creature constructed from relics of the dead, with horrific consequences. Frankenstein confronts some of the most feared innovations of evolutionism: topics such as degeneracy, hereditary disease, and mankind's status as a species of animal. The text used here is from the 1818 edition, which is a mocking expose' of leaders and achievers who leave desolation in their wake, showing humanity its choice - to live co-operatively or to die of selfishness. Drawing on new research, Marilyn Butler examines the novel in the context of the radical sciences, which were developing among much controversy, and shows how Frankenstein's experiment relates to a contemporary debate between the champions of materialist science and of received religion.