Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the Guillotine, and Modern Ontological Anxiety
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Lacefield’s interdisciplinary analysis analyzes motifs of decapitation/dismemberment in Frankenstein and then moves into a discussion of the novel’s exploration of the ontological categories specified above. For example, Frankenstein’s Creature, as a kind of cyborg, exists on the contested theoretical “slice” within a number of antinomies: nature/tech, human/inhuman (alive/dead), matter/spirit, etc. These are interesting juxtapositions that point to tensions within each set of categories, and Lacefield discusses the relevance of such dichotomies for questions of modernity posed by materialist theory and technological innovation. Additionally, she incorporates a discussion of films that fuse Shelley’s themes with appeals to twentieth-century and post-millennium audiences.