Furcht und Hoffnung der Gentechnik Richard D. Anglais , , pages. Universita degli studi, , 4 microfiche. Which means that the whole poem, and not only these lines, may be the context of Frankenstein. In the poem the dead are alive which is important for two reasons. Examines the way in which Frankenstein became an iconic figure in our culture since Mary Shelley s novel of Electric," once doubled for Boris Karloff in a dangerous scene and was nearly electrocuted.
Group, , 48 pages. Muller, , pages. His lyrical essays draw on images from literature, art, history, myth, television, and film to provide new insights into our physical selves. This study includes: an introductory overview of the novel, including a brief account of its historical and literary contexts, and reception history; discussion of the major themes and narrative structure; chapters analysing in detail the representation of key characters, such as Walton, Frankenstein, and the Creature; a conclusion reminding students of the links between the characters and the key themes and issues; and a guide to further reading.
Norton, , pages. From Victorian musical theater to Boris Karloff with neck bolts, to invocations at the President s Council on Bioethics, the monster and his myth have inspired. This is a lively and eclectic cultural history, illuminated with dozens of pictures and illustrations, and told with skill and humor. Susan Tyler Hitchcock uses film, literature, history, science, and even punk music to help us understand the meaning of this monster made by man.
Norton, A Norton Critical Edition ,, xii, pages. Bonaventure University, , 76 pages. Fischer, , pages. Korslund, , 96 pages. Lettres , , pages. Selbstmord im englischen Roman des Jahrhunderts, Heidelberg, Winter Verlag, , pages. Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature accompanies a traveling exhibit of the same name. This lavishly illustrated volume begins by highlighting Shelley s novel and the context in which she conceived it. It next focuses on the redefinition of the Frankenstein myth in popular culture.
Here, the fate of the monster becomes a moral lesson illustrating the punishment for ambitious scientists who seek to usurp the place of God by creating life. The final section examines the continuing power of the Frankenstein story to articulate presentday concerns raised by new developments in biomedicine such as cloning and xenografting the use of animal organs in human bodies , and the role scientists and citizens play in determining acceptable limits of scientific and medical advances.
This study focuses on how Frankenstein works: how the story is told and why it is so rich and gripping. Part I uses carefully selected short extracts for close textual analysis, while Part II examines Shelley s life, the historical and literary contexts of the novel, and offers a sample of key criticism. When "Frankenstein" appeared in it was well known that the medical profession lent silent support to the graverobbing gangs who regulary sold the surgeons newly-buried bodies for dissection.
This "resurection trade" led to the sensational Burke and Hare case,. This work demonstrates that the third edition of "Frankenstein", appearing in , acquires a remarkable range of new meanings from these developments. Marshall s particular historical focus is the Anatomy Act of , which ended the grave-robbin trade by permitting the use of unclaimed pauper bodies for dissection. He argues that "Frankenstein" and the Anatomy Act can be seen as twins, one in the world of the imagination, the other in the realms of legilation.
Drawing on work by Ruth Richardson, Elias Canetti and Karl Polyani, Marshall assembles the earlyth century s fictional commentary on the changing and troubled status of the medical profession. All documents are discussed and explained. The volume also offers carefully annotated key passages from the novel itself and concludes with a list of recommended editions and further reading. III Stantford, pp. Traduit par Pechmann. Krupskoy, Frankenstein poignantly captures the spirit of the early s as an age of transition tragically divided between scientific progress and religious conservatism, revolutionary reform and conformist reaction.
This Guide encapsulates the most important critical reactions to a novel that straddles the realms of both "high" literature and popular culture. Maturin, Paris, Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, , 79 pages. Frankenstein, Ingolstadt, CreativeVerlag, , pages. This book is a combination of history, biology, and genetics, literary and film criticism, and bioethics debate.
A senior lecturer in science communication in the department of science and technology studies at University College London, Turney has many interesting things to say about how biological science is communicated to the public, how the story of Frankenstein has conjured up in popular culture certain images of science and scientists, and how those images have changed over time.
If the servants had any request to make, it was always through her intercession. We were strangers to any species of disunion and dispute; for although there was a great dissimilitude in our characters, there was an harmony in that very dissimilitude. I was more calm and philosophical than my companion; yet my temper was not so yielding. My application was of longer endurance; but it was not so severe whilst it endured. I delighted in investigating the facts relative to the actual world; she busied herself in following the aerial creations of the poets.
The world was to me a secret, which I desired to discover; to her it was a vacancy, which she sought to people with imaginations Chapter I 27 of her own. My brothers were considerably younger than myself; but I had a friend in one of my schoolfellows, who compensated for this deficiency. Henry Clerval was the son of a merchant of Geneva, an intimate friend of my father. He was a boy of sin- gular talent and fancy. I remember, when he was nine years old, he wrote a fairy tale, which was the delight and amaze- ment of all his companions. His favourite study consisted in books of chivalry and romance; and when very young, I can remember, that we used to act plays composed by him out of these favourite books, the principal characters of which were Orlando, Robin Hood, Amadis, and St.
No youth could have passed more happily than mine. My parents were indulgent, and my companions amiable.
Our studies were never forced; and by some means we always had an end placed in view, which excited us to ardour in the prosecution of them. It was by this method, and not by emulation, that we were urged to application. Elizabeth was not incited to apply herself to drawing, that her companions might not outstrip her; but through the desire of pleasing her aunt, by the representation of some favourite scene done by her own hand. We learned Latin and English, that we might read the writings in those languages; and so far from study being made odious to us through punishment, we loved application, and our amusements would have been the labours of other children.
Perhaps we did not read so many books, or learn languages so quickly, as those who are disciplined according to the ordinary methods; but what we learned was impressed the more deeply on our memories. In this description of our domestic circle I include Henry Clerval; for he was constantly with us. He went to school with me, and generally passed the afternoon at our house; for being an only child, and destitute of companions at home, 28 Chapter I his father was well pleased that he should find associates at our house; and we were never completely happy when Clerval was absent.
I feel pleasure in dwelling on the recollections of child- hood, before misfortune had tainted my mind, and changed its bright visions of extensive usefulness into gloomy and narrow reflections upon self. But, in drawing the picture of my early days, I must not omit to record those events which led, by insensible steps to my after tale of misery: for when I would account to myself for the birth of that passion, which af- terwards ruled my destiny, I find it arise, like a mountain river, from ignoble and almost forgotten sources; but, swelling as it proceeded, it became the torrent which, in its course, has swept away all my hopes and joys.
Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate; I desire therefore, in this narration, to state those facts which led to my predilection for that science. When I was thirteen years of age, we all went on a party of pleasure to the baths near Thonon: the inclemency of the weather obliged us to remain a day confined to the inn. In this house I chanced to find a volume of the works of Cornelius Agrippa. I opened it with apathy; the theory which he attempts to demonstrate, and the wonderful facts which he relates, soon changed this feeling into enthusiasm. A new light seemed to dawn upon my mind; and, bounding with joy, I communicated my discovery to my father.
I cannot help remarking here the many opportunities instructors possess of directing the attention of their pupils to useful knowledge, which they utterly neglect. My father looked carelessly at the title-page of my book, and said, "Ah! Cornelius Agrippa! My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this; it is sad trash.
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It is even possible, that the train of my ideas would never have received the fatal impulse that led to my ruin. But the cursory glance my father had taken of my volume by no means assured me that he was acquainted with its contents; and I continued to read with the greatest avidity. When I returned home, my first care was to procure the whole works of this author, and afterwards of Paracelsus and Albertus Magnus.
I read and studied the wild fancies of these writers with delight; they appeared to me treasures known to few beside myself; and although I often wished to communicate these secret stores of knowledge to my father, yet his indefinite censure of my favourite Agrippa always withheld me. I disclosed my discoveries to Elizabeth, therefore, under a promise of strict secrecy; but she did not interest herself in the subject, and I was left by her to pursue my studies alone.
It may appear very strange, that a disciple of Albertus Magnus should arise in the eighteenth century; but our fam- ily was not scientifical, and I had not attended any of the lectures given at the schools of Geneva. My dreams were therefore undisturbed by reality; and I entered with the great- est diligence into the search of the philosopher's stone and the elixir of life.
But the latter obtained my most undivided attention: wealth was an inferior object; but what glory would attend the discovery, if I could banish disease from the hu- 30 Chapter I man frame, and render man invulnerable to any but a violent death! Nor were these my only visions. The raising of ghosts or devils was a promise liberally accorded by my favourite authors, the fulfilment of which I most eagerly sought; and if my incantations were always unsuccessful, I attributed the failure rather to my own inexperience and mistake, than to a want of skill or fidelity in my instructors.
The natural phenomena that take place every day be- fore our eyes did not escape my examinations. Distillation, and the wonderful effects of steam, processes of which my favourite authors were utterly ignorant, excited my astonish- ment; but my utmost wonder was engaged by some experi- ments on an air-pump, which I saw employed by a gentleman whom we were in the habit of visiting. The ignorance of the early philosophers on these and several other points served to decrease their credit with me: but I could not entirely throw them aside, before some other system should occupy their place in my mind.
When I was about fifteen years old, we had retired to our house near Belrive, when we witnessed a most violent and terrible thunder-storm. It advanced from behind the mountains of Jura; and the thunder burst at once with frightful loudness from various quarters of the heavens.
I remained, while the storm lasted, watching its progress with curiosity and delight. As I stood at the door, on a sudden I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak, which stood about twenty yards from our house; and so soon as the dazzling light vanished, the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump.
When we visited it the next morning, we found the tree shattered in a singular manner. It was not splintered by the shock, but entirely reduced to thin ribbands of wood. I never beheld any thing Chapter I 31 so utterly destroyed. The catastrophe of this tree excited my extreme aston- ishment; and I eagerly inquired of my father the nature and origin of thunder and lightning. He replied, "Electricity;" de- scribing at the same time the various effects of that power. He constructed a small electrical machine, and exhibited a few experiments; he made also a kite, with a wire and string, which drew down that fluid from the clouds.
This last stroke completed the overthrow of Cornelius Agrippa, Albertus Magnus, and Paracelsus, who had so long reigned the lords of my imagination. But by some fatality I did not feel inclined to commence the study of any modern sys- tem; and this disinclination was influenced by the following circumstance. My father expressed a wish that I should attend a course of lectures upon natural philosophy, to which I cheerfully consented.
Some accident prevented my attending these lectures until the course was nearly finished. The lecture, being therefore one of the last, was entirely incomprehensible to me. The professor discoursed with the greatest fluency of potassium and boron, of sulphates and oxyds, terms to which I could affix no idea; and I became disgusted with the science of natural philosophy, although I still read Pliny and Buffon with delight, authors, in my estimation, of nearly equal interest and utility. My occupations at this age were principally the mathe- matics, and most of the branches of study appertaining to that science.
I was busily employed in learning languages; Latin was already familiar to me, and I began to read some of the easiest Greek authors without the help of a lexicon. I also perfectly understood English and German. This is the list of my accomplishments at the age of seventeen; and you may conceive that my hours were fully employed in acquiring 32 Chapter I and maintaining a knowledge of this various literature. Another task also devolved upon me, when I became the instructor of my brothers. Ernest was six years younger than myself, and was my principal pupil.
He had been afflicted with ill health from his infancy, through which Elizabeth and I had been his constant nurses: his disposition was gentle, but he was incapable of any severe application. William, the youngest of our family, was yet an infant, and the most beautiful little fellow in the world; his lively blue eyes, dim- pled cheeks, and endearing manners, inspired the tenderest affection. Such was our domestic circle, from which care and pain seemed for ever banished. My father directed our studies, and my mother partook of our enjoyments.
Neither of us possessed the slightest pre-eminence over the other; the voice of command was never heard amongst us; but mutual affection engaged us all to comply with and obey the slightest desire of each other.
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Chapter II When I had attained the age of seventeen, my parents re- solved that I should become a student at the university of Ingolstadt. I had hitherto attended the schools of Geneva; but my father thought it necessary for the completion of my education, that I should be made acquainted with other cus- toms than those of my native country.
My departure was therefore fixed at an early date; but, before the day resolved upon could arrive, the first misfortune of my life occurred — an omen, as it were, of my future misery. Elizabeth had caught the scarlet fever; but her illness was not severe, and she quickly recovered. During her con- finement, many arguments had been urged to persuade my mother to refrain from attending upon her. She had, at first, yielded to our entreaties; but when she heard that her favourite was recovering, she could no longer debar herself from her society, and entered her chamber long before the danger of infection was past.
The consequences of this im- prudence were fatal. On the third day my mother sickened; her fever was very malignant, and the looks of her attendants prognosticated the worst event. On her death-bed the forti- tude and benignity of this admirable woman did not desert her. She joined the hands of Elizabeth and myself: "My 33 34 Chapter II children," she said, "my firmest hopes of future happiness were placed on the prospect of your union. This expectation will now be the consolation of your father. Elizabeth, my love, you must supply my place to your younger cousins.
I regret that I am taken from you; and, happy and beloved as I have been, is it not hard to quit you all? But these are not thoughts befitting me; I will endeavour to resign myself cheerfully to death, and will indulge a hope of meeting you in another world. I need not describe the feelings of those whose dearest ties are rent by that most irreparable evil, the void that presents itself to the soul, and the despair that is exhibited on the countenance.
It is so long before the mind can persuade itself that she, whom we saw every day, and whose very existence appeared a part of our own, can have departed for ever — that the brightness of a beloved eye can have been extinguished, and the sound of a voice so famil- iar, and dear to the ear, can be hushed, never more to be heard. These are the reflections of the first days; but when the lapse of time proves the reality of the evil, then the actual bitterness of grief commences. Yet from whom has not that rude hand rent away some dear connexion; and why should I describe a sorrow which all have felt, and must feel?
The time at length arrives, when grief is rather an indulgence than a necessity; and the smile that plays upon the lips, although it may be deemed a sacrilege, is not banished. My mother was dead, but we had still duties which we ought to perform; we must continue our course with the rest, and learn to think ourselves fortunate, whilst one remains whom the spoiler has not seized.
My journey to Ingolstadt, which had been deferred by these events, was now again determined upon. I obtained Chapter II 35 from my father a respite of some weeks. This period was spent sadly; my mother's death, and my speedy departure, depressed our spirits; but Elizabeth endeavoured to renew the spirit of cheerfulness in our little society. Since the death of her aunt, her mind had acquired new firmness and vigour. She determined to fulfil her duties with the greatest exact- ness; and she felt that that most imperious duty, of rendering her uncle and cousins happy, had devolved upon her.
She consoled me, amused her uncle, instructed my brothers; and I never beheld her so enchanting as at this time, when she was continually endeavouring to contribute to the happiness of others, entirely forgetful of herself. The day of my departure at length arrived. I had taken leave of all my friends, excepting Clerval, who spent the last evening with us. He bitterly lamented that he was unable to accompany me: but his father could not be persuaded to part with him, intending that he should become a partner with him in business, in compliance with his favourite theory, that learning was superfluous in the commerce of ordinary life.
Henry had a refined mind; he had no desire to be idle, and was well pleased to become his father's partner, but he believed that a man might be a very good trader, and yet possess a cultivated understanding. We sat late, listening to his complaints, and making many little arrangements for the future. The next morning early I departed.
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Tears gushed from the eyes of Elizabeth; they proceeded partly from sorrow at my departure, and partly because she reflected that the same journey was to have taken place three months before, when a mother's blessing would have accompanied me. I threw myself into the chaise that was to convey me away, and indulged in the most melancholy reflections. I, who had ever been surrounded by amiable companions, continually 36 Chapter II engaged in endeavouring to bestow mutual pleasure, I was now alone.
In the university, whither I was going, I must form my own friends, and be my own protector. My life had hitherto been remarkably secluded and domestic; and this had given me invincible repugnance to new countenances. I loved my brothers, Elizabeth, and Clerval; these were "old familiar faces;" but I believed myself totally unfitted for the company of strangers. Such were my reflections as I commenced my journey; but as I proceeded, my spirits and hopes rose.
I ardently desired the acquisition of knowledge. I had often, when at home, thought it hard to remain during my youth cooped up in one place, and had longed to enter the world, and take my station among other human beings. Now my desires were complied with, and it would, indeed, have been folly to repent. I had sufficient leisure for these and many other reflec- tions during my journey to Ingolstadt, which was long and fatiguing.
At length the high white steeple of the town met my eyes. I alighted, and was conducted to my solitary apartment, to spend the evening as I pleased. The next morning I delivered my letters of introduction, and paid a visit to some of the principal professors, and among others to M. Krempe, professor of natural philoso- phy. He received me with politeness, and asked me several questions concerning my progress in the different branches of science appertaining to natural philosophy. I mentioned, it is true, with fear and trembling, the only authors I had ever read upon those subjects.
The professor stared: "Have you," he said, "really spent your time in studying such nonsense? Krempe with warmth, "every instant that you have wasted on those books is utterly and entirely lost. You have burdened your memory with exploded systems, and useless names. Chapter II 37 Good God! I little expected in this enlightened and scientific age to find a disciple of Albertus Magnus and Paracelsus.
My dear Sir, you must begin your studies entirely anew. Waldman, a fellow-professor, would lecture upon chemistry the alternate days that he missed. I returned home, not disappointed, for I had long con- sidered those authors useless whom the professor had so strongly reprobated; but I did not feel much inclined to study the books which I procured at his recommendation. Krempe was a little squat man, with a gruff voice and repul- sive countenance; the teacher, therefore, did not prepossess me in favour of his doctrine. Besides, I had a contempt for the uses of modern natural philosophy.
It was very differ- ent, when the masters of the science sought immortality and power; such views, although futile, were grand: but now the scene was changed.
The ambition of the inquirer seemed to limit itself to the annihilation of those visions on which my interest in science was chiefly founded. I was required to exchange chimeras of boundless grandeur for realities of little worth. Such were my reflections during the first two or three days spent almost in solitude. But as the ensuing week commenced, I thought of the information which M. Krempe had given me concerning the lectures. And although I could 38 Chapter II not consent to go and hear that little conceited fellow deliver sentences out of a pulpit, I recollected what he had said of M.
Waldman, whom I had never seen, as he had hitherto been out of town. Partly from curiosity, and partly from idleness, I went into the lecturing room, which M. Waldman entered shortly after. This professor was very unlike his colleague. He appeared about fifty years of age, but with an aspect expressive of the greatest benevolence; a few gray hairs covered his tem- ples, but those at the back of his head were nearly black. His person was short, but remarkably erect; and his voice the sweetest I had ever heard. He began his lecture by a recapitulation of the history of chemistry and the various im- provements made by different men of learning, pronouncing with fervour the names of the most distinguished discover- ers.
He then took a cursory view of the present state of the science, and explained many of its elementary terms. After having made a few preparatory experiments, he concluded with a panegyric upon modern chemistry, the terms of which I shall never forget: — "The ancient teachers of this science," said he, "prom- ised impossibilities, and performed nothing. The modern masters promise very little; they know that metals cannot be transmuted, and that the elixir of life is a chimera.
But these philosophers, whose hands seem only made to dabble in dirt, and their eyes to pour over the microscope or crucible, have indeed performed miracles. They penetrate into the recesses of nature, and shew how she works in her hiding places. They ascend into the heavens; they have discovered how the blood circulates, and the nature of the air we breathe.
They have acquired new and almost unlimited powers; they can command the thunders of heaven, mimic the earthquake, and even mock the invisible world with its own shadows. His manners in private were even more mild and attractive than in public; for there was a certain dignity in his mien during his lec- ture, which in his own house was replaced by the greatest affability and kindness.
He heard with attention my little nar- ration concerning my studies, and smiled at the names of Cornelius Agrippa, and Paracelsus, but without the contempt that M. Krempe had exhibited. He said, that "these were men to whose indefatigable zeal modern philosophers were indebted for most of the foundations of their knowledge. They had left to us, as an easier task, to give new names, and arrange in connected classifications, the facts which they in a great degree had been the instruments of bringing to light. The labours of men of genius, however erroneously directed, scarcely ever fail in ultimately turning to the solid ad- vantage of mankind.
Waldman, "to have gained a dis- ciple; and if your application equals your ability, I have no doubt of your success. Chemistry is that branch of natural philosophy in which the greatest improvements have been and may be made; it is on that account that I have made it my peculiar study; but at the same time I have not neglected the other branches of science. A man would make but a very sorry chemist, if he attended to that department of human knowledge alone. If your wish is to become really a man of science, and not merely a petty experimentalist, I should advise you to apply to every branch of natural philosophy, including mathematics.
He also gave me the list of books which I had requested; and I took my leave. Thus ended a day memorable to me; it decided my future destiny. Chapter From this day natural philosophy, and particularly chemistry in the most comprehensive sense of the term, became nearly my sole occupation. I read with ardour those works, so full of genius and discrimination, which modern inquirers have writ- ten on these subjects.
I attended the lectures, and cultivated the acquaintance, of the men of science of the university; and I found even in M. Krempe a great deal of sound sense and real information, combined, it is true, with a repulsive physiognomy and manners, but not on that account the less valuable. Waldman I found a true friend. His gentleness was never tinged by dogmatism; and his instructions were given with an air of frankness and good nature, that ban- ished every idea of pedantry. It was, perhaps, the amiable character of this man that inclined me more to that branch of natural philosophy which he professed, than an intrinsic love for the science itself.
But this state of mind had place only in the first steps towards knowledge: the more fully I entered into the science, the more exclusively I pursued it for its own sake. That application, which at first had been a matter of duty and resolution, now became so ardent and eager, that the stars often disappeared in the light of morning whilst I was yet engaged in my laboratory. My ardour was indeed the astonishment of the students; and my proficiency that of the masters. Professor Krempe often asked me, with a sly smile, how Cornelius Agrippa went on?
Waldman expressed the most heart-felt exultation in my progress. Two years passed in this manner, during which I paid no visit to Geneva, but was engaged, heart and soul, in the pursuit of some discoveries, which I hoped to make. None but those who have experienced them can conceive of the enticements of science. In other studies you go as far as others have gone before you, and there is nothing more to know; but in a scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder.
A mind of moderate capacity, which closely pursues one study, must infallibly arrive at great proficiency in that study; and I, who continually sought the attainment of one object of pursuit, and was solely wrapt up in this, improved so rapidly, that, at the end of two years, I made some discoveries in the improvement of some chemical instruments, which procured me great esteem and admiration at the university.
When I had arrived at this point, and had become as well acquainted with the theory and practice of natural philosophy as depended on the lessons of any of the professors at Ingolstadt, my residence there being no longer conducive to my improvements, I thought of returning to my friends and my native town, when an incident happened that protracted my stay.
One of the phaanonema which had peculiarly attracted my attention was the structure of the human frame, and, indeed, any animal endued with life. Whence, I often asked myself, did the principle of life proceed? It was a bold ques- tion, and one which has ever been considered as a mystery; yet with how many things are we upon the brink of becoming Chapter III 43 acquainted, if cowardice or carelessness did not restrain our inquiries.
I revolved these circumstances in my mind, and determined thenceforth to apply myself more particu- larly to those branches of natural philosophy which relate to physiology. Unless I had been animated by an almost supernatural enthusiasm, my application to this study would have been irksome, and almost intolerable. To examine the causes of life, we must first have recourse to death. I became acquainted with the science of anatomy: but this was not sufficient; I must also observe the natural decay and corrup- tion of the human body.
In my education my father had taken the greatest precautions that my mind should be impressed with no supernatural horrors. I do not ever remember to have trembled at a tale of superstition, or to have feared the apparition of a spirit. Darkness had no effect upon my fancy; and a church-yard was to me merely the receptacle of bodies deprived of life, which, from being the seat of beauty and strength, had become food for the worm. Now I was led to examine the cause and progress of this decay, and forced to spend days and nights in vaults and charnel houses. My attention was fixed upon every object the most insupportable to the delicacy of the human feelings.
I saw how the fine form of man was degraded and wasted; I beheld the corruption of death succeed to the blooming cheek of life; I saw how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye and brain. I paused, examining and analysing all the minutiae of causation, as exemplified in the change from life to death, and death to life, until from the midst of this darkness a sudden light broke in upon me — a light so brilliant and wondrous, yet so simple, that while I became dizzy with the immensity of the prospect which it illustrated, I was surprised that among so many men of genius, who had directed their inquiries towards the same science, that I alone should be reserved to discover 44 Chapter III so astonishing a secret.
Remember, I am not recording the vision of a madman. The sun does not more certainly shine in the heavens, than that which I now affirm is true. Some miracle might have produced it, yet the stages of the discovery were distinct and probable.
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After days and nights of incredible labour and fatigue, I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter. The astonishment which I had at first experienced on this discovery soon gave place to delight and rapture. After so much time spent in painful labour, to arrive at once at the summit of my desires, was the most gratifying consummation of my toils. But this discovery was so great and overwhelm- ing, that all the steps by which I had been progressively led to it were obliterated, and I beheld only the result.
What had been the study and desire of the wisest men since the cre- ation of the world, was now within my grasp. Not that, like a magic scene, it all opened upon me at once: the information I had obtained was of a nature rather to direct my endeavours so soon as I should point them towards the object of my search, than to exhibit that object already accomplished.
I was like the Arabian who had been buried with the dead, and found a passage to life aided only by one glimmering, and seemingly ineffectual light. I see by your eagerness, and the wonder and hope which your eyes express, my friend, that you expect to be informed of the secret with which I am acquainted; that cannot be: listen patiently until the end of my story, and you will easily perceive why I am reserved upon that subject.
I will not lead you on, unguarded and ardent as I then was, to your destruction and infallible misery. Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the Chapter III 45 acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow. When I found so astonishing a power placed within my hands, I hesitated a long time concerning the manner in which I should employ it. Although I possessed the capacity of bestowing animation, yet to prepare a frame for the recep- tion of it, with all its intricacies of fibres, muscles, and veins, still remained a work of inconceivable difficulty and labour.
I doubted at first whether I should attempt the creation of a being like myself or one of simpler organization; but my imagination was too much exalted by my first success to permit me to doubt of my ability to give life to an animal as complex and wonderful as man. The materials at present within my command hardly appeared adequate to so ardu- ous an undertaking; but I doubted not that I should ultimately succeed.
I prepared myself for a multitude of reverses; my operations might be incessantly baffled, and at last my work be imperfect: yet, when I considered the improvement which every day takes place in science and mechanics, I was en- couraged to hope my present attempts would at least lay the foundations of future success. Nor could I consider the magnitude and complexity of my plan as any argument of its impracticability.
It was with these feelings that I began the creation of a human being. As the minuteness of the parts formed a great hindrance to my speed, I resolved, contrary to my first intention, to make the being of a gigantic stature; that is to say, about eight feet in height, and proportionably large. After having formed this determination, and having spent some months in successfully collecting and arranging my materials, I began.
No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of sue- 46 Chapter III cess. Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world.
A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve their's. Pursuing these reflections, I thought, that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in process of time although I now found it impossible renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption.
These thoughts supported my spirits, while I pursued my undertaking with unremitting ardour. My cheek had grown pale with study, and my person had become emaciated with confinement. Sometimes, on the very brink of certainty, I failed; yet still I clung to the hope which the next day or the next hour might realize. One secret which I alone possessed was the hope to which I had dedicated myself; and the moon gazed on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding places.
Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil, as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave, or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay? My limbs now tremble, and my eyes swim with the remembrance; but then a resistless, and almost frantic impulse, urged me forward; I seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit. It was indeed but a passing trance, that only made me feel with renewed acuteness so soon as, the unnatural stimulus ceasing to operate, I had returned to my old habits. I collected bones from charnel houses; and disturbed, with profane fingers, the tremendous secrets of the human frame.
In a solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and separated from all the other apartments by a gallery and staircase, I kept my workshop of filthy creation; my eyeballs Chapter III 47 were starting from their sockets in attending to the details of my employment. The dissecting room and the slaughter- house furnished many of my materials; and often did my human nature turn with loathing from my occupation, whilst, still urged on by an eagerness which perpetually increased, I brought my work near to a conclusion.
The summer months passed while I was thus engaged, heart and soul, in one pursuit. It was a most beautiful sea- son; never did the fields bestow a more plentiful harvest, or the vines yield a more luxuriant vintage: but my eyes were insensible to the charms of nature. And the same feelings which made me neglect the scenes around me caused me also to forget those friends who were so many miles absent, and whom I had not seen for so long a time. I knew my silence disquieted them; and I well remembered the words of my father: "I know that while you are pleased with yourself, you will think of us with affection, and we shall hear regularly from you.
You must pardon me, if I regard any interruption in your correspondence as a proof that your other duties are equally neglected. I wished, as it were, to procrastinate all that related to my feelings of affection until the great object, which swallowed up every habit of my nature, should be completed. I then thought that my father would be unjust if he as- cribed my neglect to vice, or faultiness on my part; but I am now convinced that he was justified in conceiving that I should not be altogether free from blame.
A human being in perfection ought always to preserve a calm and peace- ful mind, and never to allow passion or a transitory desire to disturb his tranquillity. I do not think that the pursuit of 48 Chapter III knowledge is an exception to this rule. If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections, and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly un- lawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind.
If this rule were always observed; if no man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the tranquillity of his domestic af- fections, Greece had not been enslaved; Caesar would have spared his country; America would have been discovered more gradually; and the empires of Mexico and Peru had not been destroyed. But I forget that I am moralizing in the most interesting part of my tale; and your looks remind me to proceed. My father made no reproach in his letters; and only took notice of my silence by inquiring into my occupations more particularly than before.
Winter, spring, and summer, passed away during my labours; but I did not watch the blossom or the expanding leaves — sights which before always yielded me supreme delight, so deeply was I engrossed in my oc- cupation. The leaves of that year had withered before my work drew near to a close; and now every day shewed me more plainly how well I had succeeded. But my enthusi- asm was checked by my anxiety, and I appeared rather like one doomed by slavery to toil in the mines, or any other unwholesome trade, than an artist occupied by his favourite employment.
Mary Shelley grew up in a radical and intellectual milieu, the daughter of writers famous in their own time, the feminist theorist Mary Wollstonecraft and the novelist and philosopher William Godwin. After her mother died in childbirth, her father married Mary Jane Clairmont, who had children of her own, and the teenaged Mary Godwin escaped a tense family atmosphere by making long visit to friends in Scotland. When she returned in , she met the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, already married and a father. They soon fell in love and eloped to Europe, the most decisive act of all their lives.
It was on a trip to Lake Geneva in accompanied by P. During their stay, the party entertained themselves by reading aloud from a volume of Gothic tales. Shelley and Lord Byron discuss the origins of life and the possibility of animating a corpse by galvanic action. By , she had finished a draft titled Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. The book appeared in three volumes on January 1, , after P.
Shelley offered revisions and found a publisher. Portions of the manuscript containing key passages in the novel will be on display at the Morgan. After settling in Italy in the spring of with her husband, their children William and Clara, step-sister Claire and her daughter Allegra, the family experienced constant sorrow as first William and Clara, and then Allegra died. Their grief was only partly assuaged by the birth of another child, Percy Florence. Through their mourning and marital difficulties, Mary Shelley and her husband maintained a strenuous routine of writing and study and friendships in the English and Italian communities.
In July , Shelley suffered a final devastating loss: P. Other adaptations followed: at least fifteen dramas based on the novel were produced between and