About Frankenbook

Frankenbook is a collective reading and collaborative annotation experience of the original 1818 text of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The project launched in January 2018, as part of Arizona State University’s celebration of the novel’s 200th anniversary. Even two centuries later, Shelley’s modern myth continues to shape the way people imagine science, technology, and their moral consequences. Frankenbook gives readers the opportunity to trace the scientific, technological, political, and ethical dimensions of the novel, and to learn more about its historical context and enduring legacy.

To learn more about Arizona State University’s celebration of Frankenstein's bicentennial, visit frankenstein.asu.edu.

Frankenbook is supported by a generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


How to Use the Book

Frankenbook is designed to make reading Frankenstein an interactive, social experience of learning and exploration. Below are some guidelines for engaging with the text. For more assistance, please visit the PubPub Help page.

  • User accounts: You are welcome to read and share passages from the book without creating a user account. However, if you would like to write replies and submit your own annotations, you will need to create an account. Get started here!

  • Our annotations: We had dozens of experts from a wide variety of intellectual and professional backgrounds annotate the text of Frankenstein. While reading, you’ll notice black dots along the right margin of the text that indicate annotations associated with that section. Click on these dots to read the annotations and reply to them. Also, all annotations are collected at the bottom of each of the novel’s 3 volumes (scroll all the way down the page) and can be filtered by theme, using the “Labels” menu.

  • Themes: Annotations are categorized into one or more of 8 different themes. By default, all of the themes are turned on. You can filter annotations and discussion by theme at the bottom of each volume page. Limiting the number of themes you have turned on helps you focus on the ideas and topics you’re most interested in. For example, maybe you’d like to see annotations on science and technology issues only, or maybe you’re primarily interested in the novel’s connections to philosophy and politics. Learn more about the themes.

  • Replies: This project is about sparking conversation and the exchange of ideas. We want to hear what you think! Below each annotation, you’ll find a “Reply” box. Simply type your reply there and click “submit reply.” Replies will appear immediately. You must create a user account and be logged in to write a reply. Media content can be directly embedded into replies by typing “/” and then choosing an element from the menu. You can add images, videos, and web iFrames this way.

  • Submit your own annotation: We’d love to add your knowledge, expertise, and perspectives to Frankenbook! Registered users can submit annotations for consideration by our team of editors—if the annotations add something new and exciting to the project, they will become a permanent part of Frankenbook. You can create your own annotation in two ways. To comment on a specific passage in the novel, highlight the passage. When you click on the discussion bubble, a text box will appear, where you can draft and submit your comment. You must create a user account and be logged in to submit an annotation.

  • Share a passage: It’s easy to select and share your favorite passage from the novel. Simply click and drag to highlight any passage—anything from a single evocative word to several stirring paragraphs. A round hyperlink icon will appear on the right margin. If you click on that icon, you’ll see a unique URL for that passage, which you can drop into a text or email, or post to the social media platform of your choice.


The Details

Frankenbook is powered by PubPub, an open-source digital publication platform developed at The MIT Media Lab and The MIT Press. The project is edited and moderated by the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University, in partnership with MIT.

The foundation for the experience is the book Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds, published by The MIT Press in 2017. Frankenbook builds on that foundation with new multimedia content and an expanded set of annotations, sorted into lenses dedicated to specific themes and subjects, which can be switched on and off at will.


Community Guidelines

Frankenbook is both a digital reading experience and a place to build community around Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein and its reverberations throughout culture, politics, philosophy, science, technology, and society. We encourage members to engage in thoughtful, constructive, and sometimes playful conversations around the text, building on one another’s ideas and illuminating the interplay between creativity and responsibility that animates the novel. Frankenbook is a place for imaginative intellectual engagement, open and inclusive discussion, and an exchange of information, ideas, and diverse perspectives. We welcome everyone to join the Frankenbook community, from literature scholars, historians, and bioengineers to students, artists, Frankenstein aficionados, monster movie fans, and book lovers of all stripes.

Members of the Frankenbook community agree to the following guidelines, to ensure that the site is an inclusive and welcoming place for all kinds of people. Remember that your use of Frankenbook is subject to these Community Guidelines and our Terms of Service:

  • You are responsible for all activity that occurs under your user name.

  • You must not make comments that are threatening, knowingly false, or unlawful, or engage in personal attacks.

  • You must not impersonate any person or entity or create a false identity on Frankenbook.

  • You must not harass, threaten, stalk, embarrass or cause distress, unwanted attention or discomfort to any user of Frankenbook.

  • You must not disseminate or transmit spam, unsolicited messages, chain letters, advertisements, solicitations, or other unsolicited commercial communications, including (but not limited to) communications describing investment opportunities.

  • You must not post material that infringes a copyright, trademark or patent right, trade secret or other legal right of any person, corporation or institution.

  • You must not knowingly disseminate or transmit viruses, Trojan horses, worms, defects, date bombs, time bombs, malware, spyware, or other items of a destructive nature or any other malicious code or program.

  • Frankenbook reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to reject, refuse to post or remove any posting by you, or to restrict, suspend, or terminate your access to all of any part of Frankenbook at any time, for any or no reason, without prior notice or warning, and without liability.

A full list of credits for the project can be found on the Credits page.