The knee-grow: A Man-u-factored story


man·u·fac·tured, man·u·fac·tur·ing, man·u·fac·tures

v.tr.  1. a. To make or process (a raw material) into a finished product, especially by means of a large-scale industrial operation.

b. To make or process (a product), especially with the use of industrial machines.

2. To create, produce, or turn out in a mechanical manner: “His books seem to have been manufactured rather than composed” (Dwight Macdonald).

3. To concoct or invent; fabricate: manufacture an excuse.

v.intr.  To make or process goods, especially in large quantities and by means of industrial machines.

n. 1. a. The act, craft, or process of manufacturing products, especially on a large scale.

b. An industry in which mechanical power and machinery are employed.

2. A product that is manufactured.

3. The making or producing of something.

Famous author Mary Shelley was said to have written the story Frankenstein in 1818 at the ripe old age of eighteen, with a revision written in 1831.   The popular theory banded around was that her own life of parental rejection became the theme for the novel. It was also stated by people who liked to theorize, that Frankenstein was intended as a ghost story, but soon became the cornerstone of a new genre called science fiction. In other words Mary Shelly was the matriarch of modern science fiction.

Now here is the interesting part of Mary Shell’s biography. Like most young women of the time, she  was not college educated and most likely had a limited knowledge of science. Yet, in her novel she employs the concept of science gone mad as well as a crossover theme of science versus nature. This is a rather sophisticated approach for a writer who was, in accordance to the times, writing gothic fiction.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein originally had a subtitle: The Modern Prometheus. Prometheus was, according to Greek mythology, the titan who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mankind. In my research for this post, I came across this line: “Mary Shelley, who in all likelihood had read Greek Mythology and was aware of, at least on a rudimentary level, the recent advancement of electricity used these two seemingly disparate elements. Shelley replaced fire with electricity and thus merged the academic study of science with the art of fiction.”

I am not sure bu this does not sound like something a barely educated eighteen year old female in the 1800 would take on as a task.

Though the 1818 version of Frankenstein does not expand on how exactly the scientist, Victor Frankenstein, employed electricity to create life, the undercurrent was there. Writers of the age took notice and began implementing science into their writings and ultimately science became the basic tenet for such notables as H.G. Wells, Jules Vern, and Isaac Asimov.

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