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Corporate RomanticismLiberalism, Justice, and the Novel$
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Daniel M. Stout

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823272235

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823272235.001.0001

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Everything Counts (Frankenstein)

Everything Counts (Frankenstein)

Chapter:
(p.171) Epilogue: Everything Counts (Frankenstein)
Source:
Corporate Romanticism
Author(s):

Daniel M. Stout

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823272235.003.0007

The epilogue reads Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a novel centered around the paradoxical relationship between scientific or materialist accounts of causality and the causal calculations of justice. For if science—like justice—means nothing but understanding the chain of events that led to a given state of affairs, Victor Frankenstein’s understanding of the natural world as an essentially infinite set of interlinked causes makes the assignment of responsibility to any particular entity seem like a nonstarter. The novel, on this view, is not, as we’ve often said, a morality tale about science taken beyond prescribed limits but about the unlimited—and therefore meaningless—nature of scientific causality. The chapter argues that the novel thus operates as a prescient diagnosis of both the materialist science of its own moment and the currency of materialist perspectives (such as in posthumanism and a growing interest in systems-level change—e.g. climate change) in our own.

Keywords:   causality, climate change, Frankenstein, materialism, posthumanism, Mary Shelley

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