Program

Location

216 Hartwell

Description

In her 1816 novel Frankenstein (The Modern Prometheus), Mary Shelley constructed an elaborate allegorical representation of scientific debate at the time regarding whether or not “animal electricity” existed and if electricity could be used to create or destroy life. Shelley’s allusion to electrical phenomena and experiments on the “spark of life” rely on associations with contemporary medical studies. These studies visibly demonstrated the power of electricity and the mysteries of the human body in order to create the particularly horrific tone of the text. This presentation describes how her allusions to electrical phenomena and biology lend the element of grotesque horror to her text in a more important way than to the creature Frankenstein itself.

Start Date

20-4-2013 10:30 AM

Comments

English Panel 2

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Apr 20th, 10:30 AM

Monsters in a Well Lit Room: Shelley’s Use of Electric Language in Frankenstein

216 Hartwell

In her 1816 novel Frankenstein (The Modern Prometheus), Mary Shelley constructed an elaborate allegorical representation of scientific debate at the time regarding whether or not “animal electricity” existed and if electricity could be used to create or destroy life. Shelley’s allusion to electrical phenomena and experiments on the “spark of life” rely on associations with contemporary medical studies. These studies visibly demonstrated the power of electricity and the mysteries of the human body in order to create the particularly horrific tone of the text. This presentation describes how her allusions to electrical phenomena and biology lend the element of grotesque horror to her text in a more important way than to the creature Frankenstein itself.