Journal article

Haunting Transplants: The Frankenstein Factor

Helen MacDonald

Somatechnics | Edinburgh University Press | Published : 2012


Soon after Christiaan Barnard performed the world's first successful human-to-human heart transplant in 1967, his patient Louis Washkansky declared himself to be the new ‘Frankenstein’ (Sun: 7 December 1967). That joke, though it confused Mary Shelley's doctor with the creature he had made, resonated with long-held misgivings about medical scientists' work at the boundary between life and death. Washkansky was not alone in relating organ transplantation to Shelley's novel. He gave this endeavour a fictional reference point, in the form of a laboratory scientist who created life from the bits and pieces he had cut from corpses. But others made sense of organ grafting by calling upon confronti..

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