Introduction: Frankenstein, Race and Ethics

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At the Frankenstein @ 200 colloquium, March 2019, Princeton University (sponsored by a David Gardner Grant), Professors John Bugg (Fordham University) and Adam Potkay (The College of William and Mary) presented papers addressing the topic, ‘Teaching Frankenstein: Race, Ethics, and Pedagogy’. My introduction sets the stage for their now evolved articles. John Bugg’s ‘Teaching Frankenstein and Race’ takes up the problems of turning this conjunction into an allegory, a gesture in the first reviews, and persisting in critical discussion. Adam Potkay takes up a related conjunction, pressed into a conditional logic: the foundation of happiness on virtue (the classical tradition), or the reverse, the foundation of virtue on happiness (social and material contingencies). Bugg’s story wends through critical and reception history to the classrooms of the twenty-first century; Potkay traces a genealogy of race and happiness into Richard Wright’s midcentury novel of racial trauma, Native Son.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-21
Number of pages10
JournalKeats-Shelley Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Literature and Literary Theory


  • Abjection
  • ethnicity
  • Frankenstein
  • Mary Shelley
  • Native Son
  • race
  • racialized differentials
  • reception history
  • rejected daughters
  • rejected sons
  • slavery
  • US Declaration of Independence


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