When she wrote Frankenstein, Mary Shelley was profoundly influenced by the scientific research of her time, like the use of electricity to move the heads of executed convicts or the limbs of frogs. She used the story to explore the opportunities afforded by scientific endeavour and to question the ethical basis of research. Was Dr Victor Frankenstein a great scientist who created ‘The Modern Prometheus’ and challenged the old world order, or a man who became a creator and then dodged responsibility for what he had created? Whatever the answers, the concepts of crazed scientists and runaway scientific experiments have been linked to the novel ever since.
Had Mary Shelley written the novel today, what new developments in genetics, bioengineering and electrophysiology would have inspired her? What would her ‘monster’ look like, and how would she paint the misadventures of Dr Victor Frankenstein? Could such a scientist even exist in today’s world? Join us for a fascinating evening of talks and discussion about this enigmatic writer, the science of Frankenstein, and its modern-day equivalents.
With Constantin Coussios, Statutory Chair of Biomedical Engineering, University of Oxford and Miranda Seymour, English literary critic, novelist, and biographer.
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Nissan Lecture Theatre, St Anthonys College
62 Woodstock Rd, Oxford , OX2 6JF