In movies, television shows and even Halloween costumes, Frankenstein’s monster is usually portrayed as a shuffling, grunting beast, sometimes flanked by Dr. Victor Frankenstein himself, the OG mad scientist. This monstrosity created in the lab is now part of our common language. From Frankenfoods to the Frankenstrat, allusions to Mary Shelley’s novel—published 200 years ago this year—and its many descendants are easy to find in everyday language. And from The Rocky Horror Show to the 1931 film that made Boris Karloff’s career, retellings of Shelley’s story are everywhere. Beyond the monster clichés, though, the original story of Frankenstein has a lot to teach modern readers–especially those grappling with the ethical questions science continues to raise today.
It was this idea that drove a creative new edition of the novel for readers in STEM fields. Published last year by MIT Press, Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers and Creators of All Kinds is specifically aimed at college students, but has a broad appeal to those looking to explore the past and future of scientific innovation. When Shelley published Frankenstein, it was considered a graphic book with shocking portrayals of mental illness and ethically fraught science—two qualities that lay at the heart of why the story has endured. “It is hard to talk about Frankenstein without engaging with questions of science and technology,” says Gita Manaktala, MIT Press’s editorial director. From the electricity that Dr. Frankenstein uses to animate his discovery to the polar voyage that frames the narrative, science is integral to the novel.
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/reading-original-frankenstein-200-years-180968473/#tOPpHHceet77V24T.99
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