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Lesson plan; The Science and Technology of Frankenstein


In this lesson, students will learn about the life and work of Mary Shelley, one of the most influential writers of the 19th century. She is best known for her novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818), which is considered one of the first science fiction novels and a masterpiece of Gothic literature. Students will explore the historical and personal context that inspired Shelley to write Frankenstein, as well as the themes and messages that the novel conveys. Students will also analyze the structure and style of the novel, and compare it to other adaptations and interpretations. Mary Shelley. Frankenstein was her first novel, and that it was written when she was just 18 years old.

To introduce students to Mary Shelley, show them this portrait of Mary Shelley from the National Portrait Gallery. Ask them to describe what they see and what they can infer about her personality, background, and interests. Then, give them some basic information about her life and career, such as:

National Portrait Gallery

Shelley was a complex and fascinating figure who made significant contributions to literature and culture. Her work continues to be read and enjoyed by people all over the world.


Frankenstein was written during a summer vacation in Switzerland in 1816, when Shelley was 18 years old. She was staying with her husband, their friend Lord Byron, and Byron’s physician John Polidori. They decided to have a contest to see who could write the best horror story. Shelley had a nightmare about a scientist who created a living creature from dead body parts. This inspired her to write Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.

The novel tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a grotesque creature in an unorthodox experiment. The creature is rejected by his creator and society, and seeks revenge on Frankenstein and his loved ones. The novel explores themes such as the nature of life and death, the responsibility of science and technology, the dangers of ambition and obsession, the role of family and friendship, and the consequences of isolation and alienation.

The novel was published anonymously in 1818, with a preface by Percy Bysshe Shelley. It received mixed reviews from critics and readers, some praising its originality and imagination, others criticizing its moral implications and literary flaws. The novel became more popular after Shelley’s death, and influenced many other works of literature, art, film, and culture.

Here are some of the scientific and philosophical ideas that influenced Frankenstein:

These ideas all influenced Frankenstein in different ways. The Enlightenment’s emphasis on reason and science led Shelley to explore the potential dangers of scientific hubris. Romanticism’s emphasis on emotion and imagination led her to create a sympathetic portrayal of the creature. Alchemy’s belief in the transmutation of matter led her to imagine the possibility of creating life. Natural philosophy’s study of nature led her to depict the creature as a creature of nature. Theosophy’s belief in the unity of all things led her to explore the relationship between the creature and Frankenstein.

The background of Frankenstein is complex and fascinating. It is a product of its time, and it reflects the scientific and philosophical ideas of the early 19th century. These ideas all influenced Shelley in different ways, and they helped to create a novel that is still relevant today.


Read the book here. Frankenstein [full text].pdf (