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Shelley: Frankenstein

2. Science and the Supernatural

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In this module we think about the genre of Frankenstein, focusing in particular on the relationship between the supernatural and the occult (e.g. Frankenstein’s interest in figures such as Paracelsus and Cornelius Agrippa) and the scientific and psychological. Is this a gothic novel? If so, what kind of gothic novel is it?


In this course, Professor Nick Groom (University of Exeter) explores Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. We begin by thinking about the life of Mary Shelley herself, focusing in particular on her fateful trip to the Villa Diodati with Percy Shelley in the summer of 1816, as well as the key differences between the 1818 first edition of the novel and the 1831 second edition. In the second module we think about the genre of the novel – to what extent is this a traditional gothic horror? – before moving on in the third module to consider the novel’s structure as a patchwork of different tales, accounts, and autobiographies, all contained within a series of letters. In the fourth module, we focus on the creature himself – or should we call him a monster? or something else? Finally, in the fifth module, we turn to the figure of Victor Frankenstein. To what extent do with sympathise with Frankenstein? Does he deserve what the creature does to him?


Nick Groom is Professor of English Literature at the University of Exeter, a critically acclaimed author on subjects ranging from the history of the Union Jack to Thomas Chatterton, has edited several books and regularly appears on television, radio and at literary festivals as an authority on English Literature, the ‘Gothic’ and ‘British’ identity.

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APA style

Groom, N. (2018, August 15). Shelley: Frankenstein - Science and the Supernatural [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Groom, N. "Shelley: Frankenstein – Science and the Supernatural." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,