Essay on Frankenstein is Not a Natural Philosopher

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Smith’s article ‘Frankenstein and natural magic’ takes a literary approach to the analysis of ‘Frankenstein’ although this is supported by some background scientific knowledge. Through the article, Smith describes the impacts science has made on Frankenstein’s life . Smith plays close attention to Frankenstein’s childhood, where he discovered the ancient philosophers, and his Ingolstadt years. It is in these periods where Smith argues that Frankenstein is not a natural philosopher but a natural magician due to his affinity for the ancient natural sciences, the romantic genius he posses and by contrasting Frankenstein against traditional, enlightenment stereotypes of the natural philosophers within the text and the greater Socio-historical…show more content…
Frankenstein is oft described as a natural magician due to the more romantic elements of his personality: isolation, obsession etc. This is what Smith argues sets Frankenstein apart from his 18th and 19th century counterparts and creates Frankenstein as a ‘natural philosopher qua natural magician’ . Frankenstein’s scientific isolation is potent as he only meets other scientists to increase his knowledge and only experiments in solitude. This would be incorrect behaviour for a natural philosopher, who would typically need an audience to observe and validate any claims made and to ensure the experiment was moral and ethical. Therefore, one can infer from Smith’s point that Frankenstein actions would have made him a romantic exile amongst his enlightened brothers of philosophy. In addition, this can be seen in ‘Frankenstein’ when Frankenstein joins the University of Ingolstadt. Every minute…, every instant that you have that you have wasted on these books is utterly lost…..I little expected in this enlightened and scientific age to find a disciple of Albertus Magnus and Paracelsus. My dear sir, you must begin your studies entirely anew. This event shows the conflict between the modern science and the older disciplines of natural magic. Krempe’s use of the phrase ‘enlightened and scientific age’ implies that Frankenstein’s beliefs are ancient and unscientific However Frankenstein saw modern natural philosophy as ‘realities

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