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CAS 420-DA: Frankenstein(s), A Study in Cultural Descendance

Instructor: Smart

With the publication in 1818 of her first novel Frankenstein, young Mary Godwin (soon to be Shelley) launched a powerful cultural story that has haunted Western literature and culture for more than 200 years now. Hardly a week passes without some reference to Shelley’s creation in application to politics, contemporary literature, history, even food (cf Frankenfoods!). In this capstone, we examine the original closely, and then shift to some more recent applications of the Frankenstein story, from Middle Eastern politics (Frankenstein in Baghdad) to racial applications in American literature and culture, as in S. Crane’s The Monster. This province of investigation should give us lots of potential avenues for exploring the interdisciplinary iterations of the original story.