Nineteenth-Century Cyborgs: Vitalism and Materialism in Frankenstein, The Coming Race, and The Island of Doctor Moreau

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/297499
Title:
Nineteenth-Century Cyborgs: Vitalism and Materialism in Frankenstein, The Coming Race, and The Island of Doctor Moreau
Author:
Butler, Miranda Joelle
Issue Date:
2013
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Cyborg creatures are often associated with the technological advancements of the 1980s and 1990s. However, Donna J. Haraway argues that cyborg imagery exists as a way to blur the lines between traditional dualisms, which suggests that cyborg hybridity could be present in literature long before the twentieth century. For example, in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the complex identity of Victor’s cyborg creature demonstrates that "life" cannot be explained in purely vitalist or purely materialist terms. In what follows, I will explore the way that, sparked by the vitality debate, several Victorian novels after Frankenstein argue through their representations of cyborg entities that a purely dualistic model is insufficient to explain "life." Edward Bulwer-Lytton presents hybridity and the complexities of vitality in his novel The Coming Race, when he describes the utopian society of the Vril-ya. In The Island of Doctor Moreau, H.G. Wells introduces another image of cyborgs: the hybrid creatures called the Beast People. Lastly, although modern science and technology has developed far beyond the nineteenth century, the questions of "life" raised by nineteenth-century science, and the cyborg images which allowed authors to complicate these questions, continue to inspire modern literature such as Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age.
Type:
text; Electronic Thesis
Degree Name:
B.A.
Degree Level:
bachelors
Degree Program:
Honors College; English
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Dushane, Allison

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleNineteenth-Century Cyborgs: Vitalism and Materialism in Frankenstein, The Coming Race, and The Island of Doctor Moreauen_US
dc.creatorButler, Miranda Joelleen_US
dc.contributor.authorButler, Miranda Joelleen_US
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractCyborg creatures are often associated with the technological advancements of the 1980s and 1990s. However, Donna J. Haraway argues that cyborg imagery exists as a way to blur the lines between traditional dualisms, which suggests that cyborg hybridity could be present in literature long before the twentieth century. For example, in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the complex identity of Victor’s cyborg creature demonstrates that "life" cannot be explained in purely vitalist or purely materialist terms. In what follows, I will explore the way that, sparked by the vitality debate, several Victorian novels after Frankenstein argue through their representations of cyborg entities that a purely dualistic model is insufficient to explain "life." Edward Bulwer-Lytton presents hybridity and the complexities of vitality in his novel The Coming Race, when he describes the utopian society of the Vril-ya. In The Island of Doctor Moreau, H.G. Wells introduces another image of cyborgs: the hybrid creatures called the Beast People. Lastly, although modern science and technology has developed far beyond the nineteenth century, the questions of "life" raised by nineteenth-century science, and the cyborg images which allowed authors to complicate these questions, continue to inspire modern literature such as Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Thesisen_US
thesis.degree.nameB.A.en_US
thesis.degree.levelbachelorsen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineHonors Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglishen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorDushane, Allison-
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