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The Arts and Medicine
October 23/30, 2018

Medicine and Frankenstein—An Artistic Commemoration of the Novel’s Bicentennial

Author Affiliations
  • 1Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
  • 2Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
  • 3Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California
JAMA. 2018;320(16):1624-1626. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.12998

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, was published 200 years ago and is considered the first work of fiction to foreground science as a means to create life. The story centers on a student, Victor Frankenstein, who becomes obsessed with creating life by assembling and animating corpse parts and who, repulsed by the physical appearance of his creation, rejects his “monster”—a rejection that leads to devastating consequences as the creation, who learns to speak and read, eventually comes to realize his bleak, outcast existence.

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