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First-Year Writing Seminar: Frankenstein and Revisions

Semester and Year FA 2017
Course Number FIRST-UG395
Section 001
Instructor Anne DeWitt
Days TR
Time 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Units 4
Level U


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: we may consider H. G. Wells’s novel The Island of Doctor Moreau and James Whale’s films Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein. 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; these may include Darwin's theories of human descent, twentieth-century ideas about eugenics, and recent concepts in artificial intelligence. 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.


All Syllabi

Course Type

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