Frankenstein’s intellectual labyrinth: folds in the house of knowledge

Lubomir Terziev

26.10.2018 (Friday), 18.00. English and American Studies Resource Centre

Before embarking on telling the story of his life, Frankenstein formulates the moral that his listener – Robert Walton – and, by implication, the readers might derive from it: “You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been.” This cautionary statement, which foregrounds hubristic intellectual aspiration as toxic evil (“a serpent to sting you”) has been deposited in the public consciousness as the kernel of Mary Shelley’s narrative. In my talk, I will focus on what I find a more intriguing angle: the labyrinthine intellectual etiology of Frankenstein’s act of hubris. His decision to make/create a human being out of inorganic matter is preceded by consecutive affiliations with and resistances to different epistemological attitudes. To explore this economy, I will use Deleuze’s concept of the fold.