Views & Reviews Medical classics

Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 20 September 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:617
  1. Ross Camidge, assistant professor of medicine/oncology, University of Colorado Cancer Center, Denver
  1. drcamidge{at}

    Try to put all images of crackling Van de Graaff generators and lumbering, moaning, bolt necked monsters from your mind. Nearly 200 years of oversimplification and spoofs have completely overshadowed the original version of this tale, first published in 1818. So let's set the record straight. While still a student of natural philosophy Victor Frankenstein had an epiphany—although its precise nature is never revealed. Through studying death and decay he discovers “the cause of generation and life,” becoming himself “capable of bestowing animation on lifeless matter.” Although now this would probably first be demonstrated on nematodes, then drosophila, Frankenstein goes straight for the big one: creating …

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