Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein lives on, constantly amazing us with its currency and power, taking on new and surprising forms, moving us as few other works of nineteenth-century fiction can. However, in our technically advanced, digital age it is not the flawed man of science who commands our sympathy or respect, but more often the monster.
Frankenstein joined a host of works that deemed some individuals more fit for the study of Nature than others, prescribed appropriate comportment for those who would pronounce on its laws, or imagined the consequences of a world shaped by reason alone.
Frankenstein is, in a way, a story of a man’s desire to be liberated from himself. Nearly 150 years later, Frantz Fanon explored similar themes, such as the perspective of the creature’s desperate search for love and recognition, and also the bondage of nihilistic portraits of creators and the created.
Monster metaphors matter. They show what a culture demonizes and they provide a vocabulary for those who are marked as monstrous to resist.
Victor Frankenstein’s creative act deliberately blurred the boundary between “person” and “product”—and so will the bioenhancement technologies of the coming century.
Shelley’s Frankenstein has undeniably had a significant influence on modern art and film. Themes that often emerge from such works include electricity and the reanimation of life, the social and biological characteristics of hybrid life, and redesigning bodies through bio-elective enhancement.
The topic of climate first comes in with the writing of the book, in 1816. The 18-year-old Mary Godwin was vacationing in Geneva, Switzerland, with her soon-to-be husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, and friends. It was not much of a vacation because the weather was terrible: gloomy, dark, rainy and cold.
As more and more cities work toward zero-waste initiatives, it is important to review what is happening to municipal recycling programs right now. The future of recycling seems less “brave, new world,” and potentially more challenging and ripe for innovation.
Larry and I met years ago in the cubicle-pen of a Fortune-1000 company. Looking back, our separate paths through jobs and geographies now seem to have meandering coherency.
Some places record the rise and fall of a significant building, or evoke historical events that took place there. Others, like the site where the notorious St. Louis public housing complex known as Pruitt-Igoe once stood, serve less as memorials than material imprints of loss and unresolved histories.