Frankenstein and Its Classics: The Modern Prometheus From Antiquity to Science Fiction


Frankenstein and Its Classics: The Modern Prometheus From Antiquity to Science Fiction



Frankenstein and Its Classics is the first collection of scholarship dedicated to how Frankenstein and works inspired by it draw on ancient Greek and Roman literature, history, philosophy, and myth. Presenting twelve new essays intended for students, scholars, and other readers of Mary Shelley's novel, the volume explores classical receptions in some of Frankenstein's most important scenes, sources, and adaptations. Not limited to literature, the chapters discuss a wide range of modern materials-including recent films like Alex Garland's Ex Machina and comics like Matt Fraction's and Christian Ward's Ody-C-in relation to ancient works including Hesiod's Theogony, Aeschylus's Prometheus Bound, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and Apuleius's The Golden Ass.

All together, these studies show how Frankenstein, a foundational work of science fiction, brings ancient thought to bear on some of today's most pressing issues, from bioengineering and the creation of artificial intelligence to the struggles of marginalized communities and political revolution. This addition to the comparative study of classics and science fiction reveals deep similarities between ancient and modern ways of imagining the world-and emphasizes the prescience and ongoing importance of Mary Shelley's immortal novel. As Frankenstein turns 200, its complex engagement with classical traditions is more significant than ever.

Publication Date



Bloomsbury Academic




Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Prometheus, literature, science fiction, Greek, classical influences


Arts and Humanities | Classics

Table of Contents

Part I. Promethean heat. Patchwork paratexts and monstrous metapoetics: "after tea M reads Ovid" / Genevieve Liveley -- Prometheus and Dr. Darwin's Vermicelli: another stir to the Frankenstein broth / Martin Priestman -- The Politics of revivification in Lucan's Bellum Civile and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein / Andrew McClellan -- Romantic Prometheis and the molding of Frankenstein / Suzanne L. Barnett -- Why "The Year without a Summer"? / David A. Gapp -- The sublime monster: Frankenstein, or the modern Pandora / Matthew Gumpert.

Part II. Hideous progeny. Cupid and Psyche in Frankenstein: Mary Shelley's Apuleian science fiction? / Benjamin Eldon Stevens -- "The pale student of unhallowed arts": Frankenstein, Aristotle, and the wisdom of Lucretius / Carl A. Rubino -- Timothy Leary and the psychodynamics of stealing fire / Nese Devenot -- Frankenfilm: classical monstrosity in Bill Morrison's Spark of Being / Jesse Weiner -- Alex Garland's Ex Machina or the modern epimetheus: science fiction after Mary Shelley / Emma Hammond -- The postmodern Prometheus and posthuman reproductions in science fiction / Brett M. Rogers.

Original Publication Information

Bloomsbury Academic

Frankenstein and Its Classics: The Modern Prometheus From Antiquity to Science Fiction