9. Frankenstein.

It was on a dreary night of November, that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs. (38)

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a story that seems familiar to everyone—even people who haven’t read the novel (or seen any of the movie adaptations). But the novel fleshes out the story that everyone is familiar with (a scientist creates a creature out of dead parts, releasing a force of havoc and destruction upon the world) in a number of intriguing ways. Suzanne and Chris discuss how the novel tackles creation, parenting, corporeality, nature, and death—as well as how thoroughly it is connected to Paradise Lost, and why it has inspired so many adaptations.

Show Notes.

We read the original 1818 text of Frankenstein. It‘s also available on Project Gutenberg or as a free audiobook on Librivox.

The New Annotated Frankenstein.

Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds.

The Strange and Twisted Life of Frankenstein, which includes some information about racialized imaginings of the creature.

The Science of Life and Death in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Next time: Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass. Also on Gutenberg and Librivox.

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