Thanks for posting this. John happens to be reading Frankenstein, and we’ll give this film a peek!
Frankenstein has been portrayed as a “horror” story, and thus I had never read it - until I picked up “Shelley Unbound”. Then I read Frankenstein and thought that it was not so much “horror” as a very stark portrayal of how very dark science has become. For me, that book seemed to be an exploration of the ethics of science, which treats living beings as mechanical objects to be experimented upon and manipulated, not altogether different from how humans and animals and other living beings are treated by the science (and political) community nowadays.
Frankenstein, for me, was kind of a wake up call (and I just wish that I had read that book years ago), and I’ll be interested to see what that film has to say on the topic.
I have not read the book, but recently purchased " Shelley Unbound: Discovering Frankenstein’s True Creator" by Scott D. de Hart, a friend of JPF. This youtube vid is really an essay with pictures thrown in. I found it very informative, with the author having a legitimate understanding of current events of the time, in the context of what would have been going through the minds of the clique around the Shelley’s. It definitely filled in gaps in my lacking historical perspective. There is nothing too outlandish here, but new names to me are presented when people were philosophizing about morals and ethics in relation to science and medicine, what some would term “Illuminism.”
After watching this a second time it occurred to me that another analogy to both might have been found in “The Golem” myth of Rabi Loew. There is really much to ponder here, where the seeds to the fruits of today were sown long ago.
I want to thank you for sharing this, and I will be curious what you think after reading “Shelley Unbound”. While the (unknown) presenter in the video you shared seemed to focus a lot on Mary Shelley, Scott de Hart and Dr. Farrell make a convincing case for putting some focus on Percy Shelley’s background. Dr. de Hart made such a convincing case, that whenever I see “Mary Shelley” as the author on the “Frankenstein” book cover, my brain now substitutes the name “Percy Shelley”.
I found Frankenstein to be an enjoyable (in the literarary sense) read, and felt sorry that I never picked up that book earlier in life, especially while studying science in my early university years. I would recommend this book to all young students of science, as a prelude to the discussion of ethics in science.
In the video you shared, I found the presenter’s presentation style hard to follow in terms of how my brain processes information, as I can’t multitask in the different senses (although I realise that some talented individuals can do that). He has a tendency to put up a bunch of text, and instead of reading the text he puts up, he then narrates something completely different, so you’re forced into a mode of either listening to his narrative, or reading the text, or pausing the video, which makes viewing this video distracting. Also, he has a tendency to mumble and trail off words when he nears the end of some paragraphs, so that one can’t quite catch what he says. (Which reminds me of my former music teacher who used to bellow “Don’t Rush the Ending!!!” when I would get sloppy near the end of a bar or passage of music). One thing I found somewhat off-putting (perhaps a kind of red flag) is when the presenter, right at the beginning, basically told the viewers to trust him as he knows what he’s talking about – even though he didn’t quite use those words, that was the message my mind processed, and when I hear someone say something like that, I automatically think: this person is not too confident about what he’s about to present. Someone who really knows his materials doesn’t have to give any “trust me” preamble, because something backed by evidence speaks for itself.
It was reading Dr. Farrell’s book “Transhumanism” that piqued our curiosity in “Frankenstein”, and we snapped up a copy at the used bookstore. I then read “Shelley Unbound”, and I have to say, those three books give one food for some very deep thought about the history of science and how it’s evolved to the unethical program that it is today.
If you read “Frankenstein”, and “Shelley Unbound”, I’ll be curious about your thoughts!
Very illuminating, thanks for posting I now have a whole different take on Frankenstein the monster book.