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Reimagining Frankenstein

Otherness, Responsibility, and Visions of Future Technologies in Ahmed Saadawi's Frankenstein in Baghdad and Jeanette Winterson's Frankissstein

Amal Al Shamsi

Abstract

Frankenstein's existential dilemmas of humanity and science have led the novel to be upheld as a premonition of the dangers of overreaching technological advancements, a theme that seems more relevant than ever in the current age. Out of the “creative progeny” of Mary Shelley's work, Ahmed Saadawi and Jeanette Winterson's invocations of Frankenstein stand out as they reimagine the text through distinctive political turning points, questioning how horrors of the past can be reworked to fit new terrors. Their respective works, Frankenstein in Baghdad and Frankissstein, contemplate the future of the human body as altered by technology whether incited by warfare or by the introduction of artificial intelligence. Although different in terms of geographical setting and genre, both texts are connected in their reinvestigation of Frankenstein's core concerns of otherness as related to gender and race, responsibility, as well as the future of humanity and literature. Within their works, the relationships of creator and creation, as well as the individual and society, transcend the supernatural elements, revealing a core anxiety about the future of humanity.