Frankenstein's origin-stories

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Of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus-as the or (appositive or alternative?) may suggest-origins are in such oversupply, such over-determination, as to make a question of origin itself. Its complex multiples extend to a report from the decade in which Frankenstein is cast, the 1790s: J. M. Itard's De l'éducation d'un homme sauvage (1801), about a feral boy of mysterious origin. Susan Wolfson investigates the several origin-stories for, in, from, and around Mary Shelley's durably dynamic novel, including the question of “monstrous” assignments and the riddle for Enlightenment thought about whether primitive existence is ideal innocence, or savagery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-690
Number of pages28
JournalHuntington Library Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Critical disability studies
  • Frankenstein origins
  • J. M. Itard
  • Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
  • Prometheus
  • Victor de l'Aveyron
  • William godwin
  • “Savage”
  • “Wild Boy”


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