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The Frankenstein Meme: The Memetic Prominence of Mary Shelley’s Creature in Anglo-American Visual and Material Cultures

  • Shannon Rollins
Chapter
Part of the Studies in Global Science Fiction book series (SGSF)

Abstract

Whether loyal to the original plot, or divergent to the point of parody, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus is a persistent cultural organism. I argue that the continued popularity of Shelley’s Creature as source material in popular culture is due to the narrative’s suitability as a shorthand for liminality in Anglo-American material cultures: dark creation narratives, monstrosity, fabrication and bricolage, as well as the implications of isolation on the human psyche. I call this phenomenon the Frankenstein meme, building on the meme theories of Richard Dawkins, Susan Blackmore, and Aaron Lynch. This chapter traces the course of Shelley’s original narrative through a sample of popular culture, noting the direct impact of Frankenstein’s crucial components, and examines the fitness of Frankenstein as a meme.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shannon Rollins
    • 1
  1. 1.Edinburgh College of ArtUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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