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Though Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has inspired a vast body of criticism, there are no book-length studies that contextualize this widely taught novel in contemporary scientific and literary debates. The essays in this volume by leading writers in their fields provide new historical scholarship into areas of science and pseudo-science that generated fierce controversy in Mary Shelley's time: anatomy, electricity, medicine, teratology, Mesmerism, quackery, and proto-evolutionary biology.
The collection embraces a multifaceted view of the exciting cultural climate in Britain and Europe from 1780 to 1830. While Frankenstein is all too often read as a cautionary tale of the inherent dangers of uncontrolled scientific experimentation, the essays here take the reader back to a period when experimenters and radical thinkers viewed science as the harbinger of social innovation that would counter the virulent conservative backlash following the French Revolution. The collection will be an invaluable resource for students and scholars specializing in Romanticism, cultural history, philosophy, and the history of science.
List of Figures
1 Introduction Christa Knellwolf Knellwolf, Christa Jane Goodall Goodall, Jane 1
2 Educating Mary: Women and Scientific Literature in the Early Nineteenth Century Patricia Fara Fara, Patricia 17
3 The Professor and the Orang-Outang: Mary Shelley as a Child Reader Judith Barbour Barbour, Judith 33
4 Geographic Boundaries and Inner Space: Frankenstein, Scientific Explorations and the Quest for the Absolute Christa Knellwolf Knellwolf, Christa 49
5 Animal Experiments and Antivivisection Debates in the 1820s Anita Guerrini Guerrini, Anita 71
6 Monstrous Progeny: The Teratological Tradition in Science and Literature Melinda Cooper Cooper, Melinda 87
7 Shadows of the Invisible World: Mesmer, Swedenborg and the Spiritualist Sciences Joan Kirkby Kirkby, Joan 99
8 Electrical Romanticism Jane Goodall Goodall, Jane 117
9 Evolution, Revolution and Frankenstein's Creature Allan K. Hunter Hunter, Allan K. 133
10 Science as Spectacle: Electrical Showmanship in the English Enlightenment Ian Jackson Jackson, Ian 151
11 Collectors of Nature' s Curiosities: Science, Popular Culture and the Rise of Natural History Museums Christine Cheater Cheater, Christine 167
12 The Nightmare of Evolution: H. G. Wells, Percival Lowell and the Legacies of Frankenstein's Science Robert Markley Markley, Robert 183