ASU and MIT Launch a Collaborative, Multimedia Version of Frankenstein

Arizona State University, in partnership with The MIT Press, and The MIT Media Lab, announced today the release of Frankenbook, a free, multimedia version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Built on the original 1818 version of the manuscript, and featuring essays, annotations, audio journalism, animations, and award-winning interactive content, Frankenbook is a collaborative publishing community created to examine the provocative themes and questions posed in the groundbreaking novel.

Published 200 years ago, Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus emerged in a moment of great social and technological change, and almost immediately captured the popular imagination, inspiring countless translations, adaptations, and moral debates. Two centuries later, the story of the scientist and his manufactured creature continues to shape society’s attitudes around scientific topics, from genetically modified foods to artificial intelligence.  Through a global network of scholars and subject matter experts, Frankenbook enables readers to understand and discuss the scientific, technological, political, and ethical dimensions of the novel, and to learn more about its historical context and enduring legacy.

Just as the creature in Frankenstein was assembled from an assortment of materials, so too is our understanding of Frankenstein as a network text – a dizzying array of interpretations patched together by our own passions, fears, beliefs and aspirations,” says Ed Finn, editor of Frankenbook and director of the Frankenstein Bicentennial Project at Arizona State University. Frankenbook includes contributions from over 80 collaborators across multiple academic disciplines – including philosophy, political science, literature, astrobiology, neuroscience and more– but, Finn says, a major goal of the project is to elicit additional annotations and commentary from new readers, through Frankenbook’s dynamic writing and editing platform. “Frankenstein belongs to all of us. Each new reading or encounter with it breathes new life into the legend and provides a fresh set of fascinating perspectives and discoveries.”

Frankenbook launches today alongside the premiere of seven short animated films produced by Massive Science. The series: Reanimation! Science Conversations About Frankenstein serves to spark a dialogue about today’s emerging technologies through interviews with scientists and researchers in cutting–edge fields.  Audiences are invited to expand on these conversations on the Frankenbook site, where they can further interact and deliberate with the creators, experts, and one another.

According to Amy Brand, Director of the MIT Press, “Mary Shelley’s classic is one of the most taught books in the world. The MIT Press edition is the first one to be edited and annotated to highlight the novel’s ethical and scientific implications. We’re delighted to have the chance to make the entire work, enhanced with this rich critical apparatus, openly available on PubPub to support even richer conversations about Shelley’s work both in and out of the classroom.”

Frankenbook is supported by a generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

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