Article Text

Download PDFPDF
‘Living in a Material World’: Frankenstein and new materialism
  1. Jasmine Yong Hall
  1. English, Elms College, Chicopee, MA 01013, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jasmine Yong Hall, English, Elms College, Chicopee, MA 01013, USA; hallj{at}


This paper uses concepts from Karen Barad’s theories from quantum physics and other theoretical approaches from new materialism to show how Frankenstein can be used to introduce this new framework and to challenge an older one based on dualism, representationalism and individualism. A new ethical understanding of the message of the text emerges from this reading—one that rethinks the prohibitions against ‘playing God’ or creating the unnatural and relies instead on an ethics of care.

  • cultural history
  • English literature
  • literary theory
  • literature and medicine
  • narrative ethics

Data availability statement

No data are available. There is no data.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors JYH is the sole author of this paper.

  • Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.