Phi Fic #3 “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley

We talk about the novel by Mary Shelly, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. Nathan Hanks hosts fellow readers Cezary Baraniecki, Daniel St. Pierre, Laura Davis, Mary Claire, and special guest, Wes Alwan from the Partially Examined Life.

Learn from me… how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow. –Victor Frankenstein

Thanks to Christopher Nolen for the music.

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Theft of Fire by Christian Griepenkerl

7 thoughts on “Phi Fic #3 “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley

    1. I just listened to this last night, and thought it was great as usual. Harrison and his guest delve into the aesthetic dimension of the novel, which we sort of touched on but didn’t really follow.


  1. The discussion misses the essential philosophical point of the book. At the time of the book science was just developing into it’s natural form, the Bridgewater treatises were very much of the sprit of the times. The whole question was about the atheistic nature of science or the pantheismustreit and the eventual result of nihilism. Was scientific naturalism to be a source of wonder, or the bleak world of1984 so well known of our modern times.


    1. It’s all very subjective—and tbh, I don’t agree that the point of the book was the evolving scientific nihilism of the time. Honestly, as brilliant as I think Mary Shelley was I doubt that was foremost in her mind—of course if her husband had a significant hand in it, maybe, as editors do make the book. But I highly doubt it.

      Thanks for your thoughts though!


  2. You seem not to know that Byron is believed to have had an affair with his half-sister, which would have been relevant to your discussion. I did find it fascinating otherwise, though, and am now reading the book


  3. Finally got around to listening to this after about my 6th listening to of Ep. 11 of the PEL, ha! Wonderful reading of Shelley’s novel, so many points that were touched on had me scrambling in my mind to keep up with the pace of discussion. I’ve read the book several times but the conversation you guys had opened more doors that have inspired me to go back and look at with yet another read.Your ability to evade getting bogged down in a singular consideration of the book or hang up i.e Shelleys infidelity, Mary’s miscarriage, the issue of who may have edited etc. but instead constantly refer back to the larger narrative which extends beyond the confines of the book and assesses the questions which plague our very humanity was refreshingly disciplined. You guys even managed to draw some poignant parallels between Frankenstein and our current world events.


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