The Rightful Place of Science: Frankenstein

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Edited by Megan Halpern, Joey Eschrich, and Jathan Sadowski

Two hundred years after its publication, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus continues to speak to modern concerns about science, technology, and society. The story of Victor Frankenstein and his creature has become a cultural touchstone through myriad theatrical renditions, movies, and other adaptations and allusions. But Shelley’s original tale is richer and more relevant to contemporary issues than the common interpretation of Frankenstein as a warning against scientific hubris.

The authors of the essays in The Rightful Place of Science: Frankenstein examine the roots and origins of Shelley’s tragically flawed scientist and his benighted creature. They consider Frankenstein as a parable of creativity and responsibility that can help us better understand our current creative dilemmas. And they show how Shelley’s text foreshadows future technological innovations, and the challenges we anticipate from emerging fields such as synthetic biology and artificial intelligence.

The bicentennial of this story of a scientist who failed to care for his creation offers an opportunity to explore creativity and responsibility across literary, scientific, social, and cultural dimensions.

The Rightful Place of Science: Frankenstein features essays by Joey Eschrich, Kevin Esvelt, Ed Finn, Charlotte Gordon, David H. Guston, Megan Halpern, Jathan Sadowski, Alyssa Sims, Bina Venkataraman, and Sara Imari Walker.