Richard J. Hand
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Frankenstein’s pulse
An afterword
in Adapting Frankenstein
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Although Mary Shelley published Frankenstein in 1818, it is clearly still a vibrant and living text today, at least in part because of its adaptability. It straddles the modern genres of horror and science fiction more successfully than any other single tale, and is firmly embedded in contemporary culture. From political cartoons to comedy routines, and from children’s programming like Scooby Doo to adult social commentary like Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, Frankenstein remains a durable pop-culture touchstone and a deeply human story. Beneath the immediate tale of the scientist and his creation, it is a story about bodies and flesh, about heightened emotions and passions, about shameful secrecy and paradigm-changing genius. For the foreseeable future Frankenstein will continue to frighten us, titillate us, and amuse us because it can be a mythos and iconography that can safely entertain our children, but also haunt our consciousness about where and who we are, what we have done and what the future may hold.

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