Frankenstein and Science
Based on resources for the “Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature” traveling exhibition, this resource list is designed to help encourage audiences to examine the intent of Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, and to discuss Shelley’s and their own views about personal and societal responsibility as it relates to science and other areas of life.
Download this list (RTF).
Books for Adult Readers
Baldick, Chris. In Frankenstein’s Shadow: Myth, Monstrosity, and Nineteenth-Century Writing. Oxford University Press, 1990.
Bennett, Betty T. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: An Introduction. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.
Forry, Steven Earl. Hideous Progenies: Dramatizations of Frankenstein from Mary Shelley to the Present. University of Pennsylvania Press. 1990.
Hankins, Thomas. Science and the Enlightenment. Cambridge University Press, 1985.
Haynes, Roslynn D. From Faust to Strangelove: Representations of the Scientist in Western Literature. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.
Jones, Stephen. The Frankenstein Scrapbook: The Complete Movie Guide to the World’s Most Famous Monster. Carol Publishing Group, 1995.
Kass, Leon R., and James Q. Wilson. The Ethics of Human Cloning. AEI Press, 1998.
Lambrecht, Bill. Dinner at the New Gene Cafe: How Genetic Engineering Is Changing What We Eat, How We Live, and the Global Politics of Food. St. Martin’s Press, Inc., 2001.
Malik, Kenan. Man, Beast, and Zombie: What Science Can and Cannot Tell Us about Human Nature. Rutgers University Press, 2002.
Marshall, Timothy. Murdering to Dissect: Graverobbing, Frankenstein, and the Anatomy Literature. St. Martin’s Press, Inc., 1996.
Bennett, Betty T., and Stuart Curran, eds. Mary Shelley in Her Times. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.
Bennett, Betty T., and Charles E. Robinson, eds. The Mary Shelley Reader: Containing Frankenstein, Mathilda, Tales and Stories, Essays and Reviews, and Letters by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Oxford University Press, 1990.
Nelkin, Dorothy, and M. Susan Lindee. The DNA Mystique: The Gene as a Cultural Icon. Henry Holt & Company, 1996.
O’Neill, Terry. Biomedical Ethics. Greenhaven Press, 1998. Grade 8 and up.
Picart, Caroline J.S. The Cinematic Rebirths ofFrankenstein: Universal, Hammer and Beyond. Praeger, 2001.
———. Jayne Blodgett and Frank Smoot. A Frankenstein Film Sourcebook. Greenwood, 2001.
Ridley, Matt. Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. HarperTrade, 2000.
Rollin, Bernard E. Frankenstein Syndrome: Ethical and Social Issues in the Genetic Engineering of Animals. Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Sappol, Michael. A Traffic of Dead Bodies: Anatomy and Embodied Social Identity in Nineteenth-Century America. Princeton University Press, 2002.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. Maurice Hindle, ed. (Penguin Classics). Penguin, 1992.
———. Frankenstein: The 1818 Text Contexts, Nineteenth-Century Responses, Modern Criticism. Paul J. Hunter, ed. Norton, 1996.
———. The Last Man. Hugh J. Luke, Jr., ed.
———. Selected Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Betty T. Bennett, ed.
Smith, Johanna M., ed. Frankenstein: Complete, Authoritative Text with Biographical, Historical, and Cultural Contexts, Critical History, and Essays from Contemporary Critics, 2nd ed. St. Martin’s Press, 2000.
Squier, Susan Merrill. Babies in Bottles: Twentieth-Century Visions of Reproductive Technology. Rutgers University Press, 1994.
Tagliaferro, Linda. Genetic Engineering: Progress or Peril? Lerner Publishing Group, 1997. Grade 8 and up.
Tropp, Martin. Images of Fear: How Horror Stories Helped Shape Modern Culture. McFarland & Company, 1999.
Turney, Jon. Frankenstein’s Footsteps: Science, Genetics and Popular Culture. Yale University Press, 1998.
Veatch, Robert M. M. The Basics of Bioethics. Prentice Hall, 1999.
Williams, John. Mary Shelley: A Literary Life. St. Martin’s Press, Inc., 2000.
Wingerson, Lois. Unnatural Selection: The Promise and the Power of Human Gene Research. Bantam Books, Inc., 1999.
Books for Younger Readers
Adam, Addie. Hilda and the Mad Scientist. Illustrated by Lisa Theising. Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 1995. Ages 5 to 8.
Cooper, Roscoe. The Diary of Victor Frankenstein. DK Ink, 1997. Ages 10 and up.
Cosgrove, Stephen. Creole. Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 2001.
DuPrau, Jeanne. Cloning. Gale Group, 2000. Ages 12–16.
Funston, Sylvia. Monsters: A Strange Science Book. Illustrated by Joe Weissmann. Owl Book (distributed by Firefly Books), 2001. Ages 8 to 12
Perry, Janet, and Victor Gentle. Mad Scientists. Gareth Stevens Audio, 1999. Grades 3 to 5.
McNaughton, Colin. Making Friends with Frankenstein: A Book of Monstrous Poems and Pictures. Candlewick Press, 2001. Ages 6–12.
Nicolson, Cynthia Pratt. Baa! The Most Interesting Book You’ll Ever Read about Genes and Cloning. Kids Can Press, 2001. Ages 9–14.
O’Neill, Terry. Biomedical Ethics. Greenhaven Press, 1998. Ages 14 and up.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein. Adapted and illustrated by Chris Mould. Oxford University Press, 1998. Ages 7 and up.
———. Frankenstein. Illustrations by Philippe Munch. Viking, 1998. Ages 12 and up.
———. Frankenstein (PBS Wishbone Classics Series #7). Illustrations by Kathryn Yingling and Ed Parker. William Morrow & Co, 1996. Ages 9–11.
———. Frankenstein. Adapted by Steve Parker, illustrations by McRae Books Agency Staff. Millbrook Press, 1995. Ages 9–11. Good review in School Library Journal.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Adapted by Larry Weinberg, illustrations by Ken Barr. Random House, 2000. A Stepping Stone Book Classic. Ages 7–10.
Tagliaferro, Linda. Genetic Engineering: Progress or Peril? Lerner Publishing Group, 1997. Ages 14 and up.
Wisniewski, David. Golem. Illustrations by Lee Salsbery. Houghton Mifflin, 1996. Ages 8–11. A Caldecott Medal Book.
Related Films and Videos
Following is information on a general list of films/videocassettes that might be used with Frankenstein discussions. This is not a comprehensive list, nor is it an ALA-reviewed or recommended list. Please preview films for quality and appropriateness for your audience.
- Each library wishing to show films or videos related to Frankenstein to the public must arrange for public performance rights (PPR) and payment of fees for those rights.
- Please share information about films and videos with other libraries on the tour through the electronic discussion site for the Frankenstein project.
- It’s important to point out to audiences how most of the films depart from Mary Shelley’s book. Comparisons with the book might make an interesting discussion.
The following films can be rented from Swank Motion Pictures, 1-800-876-5577; Swank rental fees include public performance rights.
- Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
- The Bride of Frankenstein (Boris Karloff as the monster)
- The Evil of Frankenstein
- Frankenstein (the classic 1931 James Whale film with Boris Karloff)
- Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell
- Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (Bela Lugosi as the monster)
- The Ghost of Frankenstein (Lon Chaney as the monster)
- The House of Frankenstein (Boris Karloff as the monster)
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Kenneth Branagh, Director)
- Son of Frankenstein (Boris Karloff as the monster)
- Trial of Frankenstein (with Lon Chaney)
Other films include:
- The Curse of Frankenstein
- Gods and Monsters
- Haunted Summer
- Young Frankenstein
Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature
National Library of Medicine web site for the original “Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature” exhibition in 1997–1998.
About Mary Shelley and Frankenstein
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, 1797–1851. Frankenstein
Site that features the complete text of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
Literary Works in Frankenstein
Features the many literary works and authors referred to in Frankenstein, where they appear in the text, and information about them.
About the History of Medicine
National Library of Medicine History of Medicine
Site of the National Library of Medicine, History of Medicine Division, detailing one of the world’s great History of Medicine collections.
Duke University History of Medicine
Explores the Duke University History of Medicine Collections, which include photographs, illustrations, monographs and manuscripts, many of which are illustrated on the site.
About Biomedical Research
The Human Genome Project: Progress, Problems, and Prospects
Features a web cast of a panel of University specialists discussing in plain English for nonscientists the medical, ethical and legal implications of the Human Genome Project.
A Science Primer
A science primer from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
About Ethics and Philosophy
Human Genome Project Information: Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues
Explores the issues surrounding the Human Genome Project.
Curriculum Materials for Schools
Lessons Plan Library: Frankenstein
Grades 9–12: In-depth study of the book and issues it raises. Activities include a mock trial in which the monster sues his creator, discussion questions, related reading, web links.
The Atoms Family
Grades K–8: Site of the Miami Museum of Science Learning Network with a section on “Frankenstein’s Lightning Laboratory,” where simple experiments describe different forms of electricity—“fruity” and “static”—as well as teach electrical safety.
Tales of the Supernatural
Grades 10–12: “Tales of the Supernatural” focuses on horror and the Gothic form in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Students read and discuss Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as part of the curriculum unit, as well as works of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Lesson can be extended to modern-day tales of the supernatural.
Miscellaneous Related Sites
FrankensteinFilms.com’s Celebrating 100 Years of Frankenstein on Film
An excellent web site containing a comprehensive discussion of Frankenstein-related films.
Edison’s complete 1910 silent Frankenstein film.
Marvel Comics’ The Frankenstein Monster
Illustrates and reviews the Marvel Comics series “The Frankenstein Monster,” which ran from January 1973 to September 1975.