English 24

Freshman Seminar: Frankenstein and Its Rewritings

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Fall 2020 Christ, Carol T.
M 2-3

Book List

McEwan, Ian: Machines Like Me; Saadawi, Ahmed: Frankenstein in Baghdad; Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein: Original Edition; Winterson, Jeanette: Frankisstein


Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein has so much cultural resonance that Frankenstein itself has become a word. Reflecting a slippage between the scientist and the being he creates, Frankenstein has come to mean a monstrous creation that destroys its maker. No less an economist than Milton Friedman writes, "How can we keep the government we create from becoming a Frankenstein that will destroy the very freedom we establish it to protect?" With Hurricane Sandy, we even had Frankenstorm. We have Frankenfood. As cultural historian and collector of Frankensteiniana, Susan Tyler Hitchcock observes, Frankenstein is both a joke and a symbol for a profound ethical dilemma. Frankenstein is instantly recognizable as a cultural icon and has an enormous richness of referential context. In this seminar we will study Mary Shelley's novel, and several contemporary novels and films that re-imagine its central idea in the context of robotics, artificial intelligence, and genetic engineering.

This 1-unit course may not be counted as one of the twelve courses required to complete the English major.

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