Mary Shelley Questions and Answers
by Mary Shelley

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Each of the following topics influenced Mary Shelley in some way when she wrote Frankenstein: Galvanism (see Luigi Galvani) Eugenics (see Sir Francis Galton) The Legend of Prometheus Johan Faust (see Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Mann) Prepare a brief report, summarizing each topic and explaining what aspects would have influenced the author.

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Galvanism refers to Galvani's discovery in the 1780s that an electrical charge can cause animal muscle tissue to contract. Galvani theorized from this that some form of electrical impulse could be the basis of life. Shelley read about Galvani's work the summer before writing Frankenstein. While it is not very clear what Victor Frankenstein's "instruments of life" might be, and Frankenstein himself is evasive about the details on purpose, the notion of reanimating dead tissue through electrical means was very much in Shelley's mind.

The term "Eugenics" was not coined in Shelley's lifetime, but Shelley...

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