Excerpts from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) travelling exhibit, Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature, coming to the Briscoe Library in early June.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein reflected the interest of early 19th-century physicians and natural philosophers in human dissection and experiments on animals, as they explored the possibilities for generating life, resuscitating the drowned and the newly dead, and reanimating dead tissue using electricity. These researchers sought to benefit humankind and to end death and disease through their investigations into “the secrets of nature.”

The myth of Frankenstein continues to resonate into and beyond the 20th century as science and technology gain ascendancy in American social and cultural life. Although many individuals welcome the changes caused by scientific advances, some worry about society’s ability to retain control of technologies that challenge their understanding of what it means to be human. Mary Shelley’s story offers a compelling framework for the public to articulate its uneasiness about scientific ambition and the nature of scientific responsibility.

Watch for the next NLM exhibit,  expected to be on display by the end of June,
Opening Doors: Contemporary African American Academic Surgeons.

This exhibition was produced by the National Library of Medicine , National Institutes of Health.


Article Categories: Exhibits, News from the Libraries