Monstrous paradigms: nature and culture in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Bram Stoker's Dracula



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Monsters in literary texts have attracted plenty of attention from literary scholars. Literary monsters have been analyzed from the lenses of critical race studies, feminist studies, queer theory, psychoanalysis, and Marxist criticism. Monstrous Paradigms contributes to this conversation by placing two foundational Gothic texts, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Bram Stoker's Dracula, into conversation with contemporary work in the interdisciplinary field of Science Studies, which includes work that draws from fields such as philosophy, history, sociology, and literature to situate scientific knowledge in its cultural contexts. Through close readings of these literary texts alongside nineteenth-century scientific and philosophical texts, I will explore how these novels dramatize the transitions taking place in science and culture between the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions. Situating these readings in a theoretical framework derived from historians and philosophers of science such as Thomas Kuhn, Steven Shapin, and Bruno Latour, I will argue that literature actively participates in larger processes of scientific and cultural change.