Teaser Tuesday: Frankenstein: How a Monster Became an Icon

Like winter returning with a roar when you think it’s long over, the Wheel of Time has turned ‘round to Teaser Tuesday. Unlike winter returning before its time, this is a good thing.

You might remember last week I picked up a few books from the library. Rest assured I’m making my way through Jerusalem – according to Goodreads I’m halfway there. But, what am I reading when I need a break? This week, it’s Frankenstein: How a Monster Became an Icon, a selection of essays on “the science and enduring allure of Mary Shelley’s Creation” edited by Sidney Perkowitz and Eddy von Mueller.

The Goodreads Blurb:

The tale of a tormented creature created in a laboratory began on a rainy night in 1816 in the imagination of a nineteen-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, newly married to the celebrated Romantic poet Percy Shelley. Since its publication two years later, in 1818, Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus has spread around the globe through every possible medium and variation. Frankenstein has not been out of print once in 200 years.  It has appeared in hundreds of editions, perhaps more than any other novel. It has inspired a multitude of stage and screen adaptations, the latest appearing just last year. “Frankenstein” has become an indelible part of popular culture, and is shorthand for anything bizarre and human-made; for instance, genetically modified crops are “Frankenfood.”

Conversely, Frankenstein’s monster has also become a benign Halloween favorite. Yet for all its long history, Frankenstein‘s central premise—that science, not magic or God, can create a living being, and thus these creators must answer for their actions as humans, not Gods—is most relevant today as scientists approach creating synthetic life.

In its popular and cultural weight and its expression of the ethical issues raised by the advance of science, physicist Sidney Perkowitz and film expert Eddy von Muller have brought together scholars and scientists, artists and directions—including Mel Brooks—to celebrate and examine Mary Shelley’s marvelous creation and its legacy as the monster moves into his next century.

The Truly Random Number Generator sends us to page 65-66:

Since the march of exploration, innovation, and scientific progress that helped inspire the writing of the story in the first place has only continued and even dramatically accelerated, we now face a world in which the kinds of power and the kinds of problems Mary Shelley imagined are rapidly becoming realities. Given the prominence of her story, it comes as no surprise that Frankenstein often serves as map, metaphor, and manual for understanding both the new frontiers of science and the moral, ethical, and legal dilemmas they may raise.  

This is proving to be a fast read, so be sure to come back next week for a review (along with a brand new teaser!)

What are you reading today?

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