BIOGRAPHY OFMARY SHELLEY • Lived 1797-1851 • Daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin • Married to Percy Bysshe Shelley • Began Frankenstein when she was 18
FRANKENSTEINTHE NOVEL• Written in the Gothic novel tradition• Answer to Lord Byron’s challenge• Finished when Shelley was 19• “The Modern Prometheus”• The story has inspired many horror stories and genres
FRANKENSTEINTHE MOVIES• The first film adaptation came out in 1910. – Silent Film – 16 min. long• The most famous adaption came out in 1931; directed by James Whale – Boris Karloff portrayed the monster• Frankenstein ranked #3 of The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived
THE GOTHIC NOVEL• Tradition began in 1764 by Horace Walpole• Juxtaposition of horror and romance• Pleasing terror + melodrama + parody• More concerned with mental action than physical• Began to be parodied in 1818 with Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey
THE PROMETHEUS STORY• Greek Mythology: – Titan – Created mankind – Stole fire from Heavens and gave to man – Punishment: chained to a rock and each day a bird eats out his liver, which regrows and to be eaten again the next day.• Typically a heroic story, not so to Shelley
ESSENTIALQUESTION • How has technology changed what it means to be human?
Part of being human is the inability tocontrol how life begins and ends. Themoment nature can be controlled andwe are not subject to it is the moment we cease to be human.
For this research project you will be creating ablog that outlines one scientific concept that resemblesVictor Frankenstein’s Promethean efforts. In other words, how have scientists reachedbeyond normal human bounds in recent technology? Your blog should outline the concept fully andalso provide your personal opinions on the technology.
• Example blog….• http://flightscience.wordpress.com/
SOME IDEAS • Nuclear weapons • Genetic Engineering • Stem Cell Research • Modified Food • Factory Farming • Abortion • Euthanasia • Weather Control • Cloning • Nuclear Energy
“’The ancient teachers of this science,” said he, “promised impossibilities, and performed nothing. The modern masterspromise very little; they know that metals cannot be transmuted, and that the elixir of life is a chimera. But these philosophers, whose hands seem only made to dabble in dirt, and their eyes to pour over the microscopes or crucible, have indeed performed miracles. They penetrate into the recesses of nature, and shewhow she works in her hiding places. They ascent into the heavens;they have discovered how the blood circulates, and the nature ofthe air we breathe. They have acquired new and almost unlimited powers; they can command the thunders of heaven, mimic the earthquake, and even mock the invisible world with its own shadows.”’ -M. Waldman (27-28)
“Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which Ishould first break through, and pour a torrent of lightinto our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellentnatures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve their’s.” -Victor Frankenstein (32)
Much in Mary Shelley’s life was remarkable. She was the daughter of a brilliant mother (Mary Wollstonecraft) andfather (William Godwin). She was the mistress and then wife of the poet Shelley. She read widely in five languages, including Latin and Greek. She had easy access to the writings and conversations of some of the most original minds of her age. But nothing so sets her apart from the generality of writers of her own time, and before, and for long afterward, than her early and chaotic experience, at the very time she became an author, with motherhood. Pregnant at sixteen, and almost constantly pregnant throughout the following five years; yet not a secure mother, for she lost most of her babies soon after they were born; and not a lawful mother, for she was not married – not at least when, at the age of eighteen, Mary Godwin began to write Frankenstein. So are monsters born. -Ellen Moers, “Female Gothic: The Monster’s Mother”