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Title: Frankenstein’s obduction
Authors: Johnson, Alexandra
Supervisor: Young, Arlene (English, Film, and Theatre)
Examining Committee: Faubert, Michelle (English, Film, and Theatre) Smith, Greg (History)
Graduation Date: May 2010
Keywords: Frankenstein
The Creature
History of Medicine
Medico-legal history
Anatomy Act of 1832
Issue Date: 7-Apr-2010
Abstract: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a prelude to the Anatomy Act of 1832, which indulged the anatomists’ scientific ambition, granting a legitimate and sufficient source of cadavers to dissect legally. When read in concert with the history of anatomy and the historical record of body snatching, including case law and anatomy legislation, Frankenstein exemplifies the issues in medico-legal history at the turn of the nineteenth century, for Victor Frankenstein and the Creature’s stories are set amid the context of anatomical study, grave-robbery, crime, punishment and the illicit relationship between medicine and murder. This thesis accordingly addresses the medico-legal history of anatomy, the anatomist’s ambition and complex inhumanity, and the mingled identity of the anatomical subject as illegitimate and criminal. This analysis demonstrates that Frankenstein sheds light upon the anatomist’s ambition, the identity of the human cadaver, and the bioethical consequences of meddling with nature.
Appears in Collection(s):FGS - Electronic Theses & Dissertations (Public)

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