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Frankenstein is Not a Natural Philosopher Essay examples

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Smith’s article ‘Frankenstein and natural magic’ takes a literary approach to the analysis of ‘Frankenstein’ although this is supported by some background scientific knowledge. Through the article, Smith describes the impacts science has made on Frankenstein’s life . Smith plays close attention to Frankenstein’s childhood, where he discovered the ancient philosophers, and his Ingolstadt years. It is in these periods where Smith argues that Frankenstein is not a natural philosopher but a natural magician due to his affinity for the ancient natural sciences, the romantic genius he posses and by contrasting Frankenstein against traditional, enlightenment stereotypes of the natural philosophers within the text and the greater Socio-historical context. However, this is in contrast to the arguments of Sleigh, who by comparing Aldini to Frankenstein, attempts to rationalise his actions and draw parallels with the attitudes of the modern philosophers. In Sleigh’s ‘Life, Death and Galvanism’ the analysis is significantly more scientific than Smith’s consequently this is done at the expense of true literary discussion and thus only brief passing references are made to Shelly’s ‘Frankenstein’ therefore the reader has to pry out comparisons between Frankenstein and Aldini. The article itself is the story of Aldini and his uses of Galvanism but it also draws on considerable philosophical ideas to analyse the thought process of Aldini. Like Smiths text, the article is chronological and details events from 1808 onwards. Her argument concedes that Aldini and Frankenstein may have had similar attitudes due to the nature of their work, their need for ‘Inspiration and their backgrounds. One could theorise that although Frankenstein shows to be mor...


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...in. She argues that they have a similar attitude and their actions are only slightly dissimilar. Nonetheless, one can question the reliability of Aldini as a representative of natural philosophy because of Smith’s focal description of a natural philosopher, thus alerting us to Frankenstein’s incompatibility with the traits given to a natural philosopher. Thereby arguing that Frankenstein was no natural philosopher.



Works Cited

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Joseph, M. K, Frankenstein; or The modern Prometheus. London, New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
Sleigh, Charlotte. ‘Life, Death and Galvanism.’ Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and biomedical Sciences 29 (1998): 219-248
Smith, Crosbie. ‘Frankenstein and Natural Magic.’ In Frankesntein:Creation and Monstrosity, edited by Stephen Bann, 35-59. London: Reaktion, 1994.


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