NYU Gallatin Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

Back to Courses

First-Year Writing Seminar: Frankenstein and Revisions

Semester and Year FA 2014
Course Number FIRST-UG395
Section 001
Instructor Anne DeWitt
Days Tue,Thu
Time 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is not only one of the earliest and most famous works of science fiction, it’s also a story that has been retold many times over. This course focuses on Shelley’s novel and on the novels and films it has inspired: James Whale’s films Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein , H. G. Wells’s The Island of Doctor Moreau , and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner . How do later authors and filmmakers retell Shelley’s story? What appeals to them in her novel? What elements of Frankenstein do they retain, what do they alter, and why? Exploring these questions, we will examine how authors from Shelley onwards use the Frankenstein story to engage with contemporary scientific developments; our readings will include Darwin’s The Descent of Man ; Alan Turing’s “Computing Machinery and Artificial Intelligence”; and lectures by John Abernathy and William Lawrence, two doctors whose early nineteenth-century argument about the source of life may have been Shelley’s original inspiration. Our thematic focus on revision parallels the writing practices we will develop in the course: just as a novel or film may creatively rewrite and respond to an earlier story or scientific idea, so is the academic paper a kind of creative rewriting of and response to another text; just as radical revision enables the novelist or filmmaker to create an original work, so does revising and rewriting one’s own drafts enable the student writer to make an original argument. The course’s assignments aim to help students develop a productive writing practice through short exercises as well as drafts and revisions of three formal papers.



Course Type

First-Year Program: Writing Seminars (FIRST-UG)

NYU Gallatin Footer

New York University
Gallatin School of Individualized Study
1 Washington Place
New York, NY 10003
(212) 998-7370