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ENGL478O Body of Frankenstein

An expansive exploration of Mary Shelley’s famous British Romantic novel,featuring the themes, tropes, texts, films, and histories associated with Frankenstein and its impact on our cultural imagination.

Some topics to be explored: the way that science, gender, and radical politics interact; the Other as monstrosity; the differences between human and post-human identity, as well as living and non-living being; the acquisition of knowledge as both a dangerous and subversive activity; artificial and natural notions of the family; the perils and attractions of bio-engineering; differences and similarities between literature and other media, and the interface between technological and social life.  The first part of the course will be devoted to reading literary works alluded to in Frankenstein, including those by Coleridge, Goethe, and Milton, as well as writings by her famous parents, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, and her husband, the British Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.  The second part of the course will consider how the themes of Frankenstein are conveyed and transformed throughout the 20th and 21rst centuries, in films like James Whale's Frankenstein, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, Spike Jonze’s Her, and Alex Garland’s Ex Machina.    Course responsibilities: Short and long papers, and a final exam.

0101 - Orrin Wang

Schedule of Classes
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