On a dark and stormy night in 1816, Mary Shelley began writing a story that posed profound questions about individual and societal responsibility for other people. To make her point, the young novelist used the scientific advances of her era and the controversy surrounding them as a metaphor for issues of unchecked power and self-serving ambition, and their effect on the human community. Since that time, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus has become one of the Western world's most enduring myths. The story provides a framework for discussions of medical advances, which challenge our traditional understanding of what it means to be human.
This traveling National Library of Medicine exhibit draws from a variety of sources, including materials documenting medical discoveries from the time of Mary Shelley, to explore the scientific backdrop and lasting impact of the famous novel.
The exhibit is free and open to all during normal library hours. Parking is available for a fee in the 8th Street parking deck. If special accommodations are needed, please contact Thelma Mack, research and education coordinator, at (804) 828-0017.
Image: The Transfusion of Blood – An Operation at the 'Hôpital de la Pitié,' at Paris Miranda, 1874, from Harper's Weekly, July 4, 1874