Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Making of the monster

Title: Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Author: Kathryn Harkup

Format: Ebook

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 3

This book is bookended by the life of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.  From her parents who were way ahead of their time with what could be considered hippie thinking.  They instilled a forward-thinking, and love to write in their young daughter.  Mary was a huge fan of science and her husband Percy was also an author.  Most of Mary’s life was in and around author’s circle.  From her time when with Lord Byron and the beginnings of Frankenstein as a friendly competition.

The lion’s share of this book uses Victor Frankenstein as a backdrop to discuss the science of the time.  From organ transplants to the robing of graves for body parts.  There was also a huge section on the use of electricity on frogs to use on humans.  The study of electricity was very complex and misunderstood for quite some time.  Many things that scientist were trying at the time are just now being perfected.

I think the science sections of that tie into the Frankenstein story would have been better if I had read Frankenstein recently.  I haven’t read the book in many years.  So parts of the story were just interesting medical science.  Having read Mary Roach’s Stiff I was familiar with parts of this book that talks about the lucrative corpse snatching trade.  Scientist needed parts to fully explore their ideas and through corpses, they were literally just laying around.







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