The grant provides support for an initiative by the Center for Science and Imagination at Arizona State University, partnering with MIT Press, MIT Media Lab, and Plympton Literary Studio, to create an open-access digital edition of Mary Shelley’s landmark novel Frankenstein. The digital “Living Frankenstein” edition—titled Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers and Creators of All Kinds—will present an innovative reading experience and compelling new digital content to the 21st century reader, including a podcast series, videos, and graphical interactives. It is also constructed on the software platform PubPub, developed by MIT to facilitate large-scale collaborative authorship and peer review, which will allow readers to explore multiple layers of content while annotating, commenting, and curating material that they can share with a wide community.
The project tackles the novel’s age-old themes of creation and responsibility—and its contemporary relevance to artificial intelligence, robotics, genetic engineering, and more—to foster an engaged community of readers and a new interactive reading experience timed to the novel’s 200th anniversary in 2018. The digital edition will offer a unique encounter between a great literary text and contemporary issues of science and technology refracted through an interactive digital medium that seeks to transform the reading experience and advance public understanding and community engagement with science and technology.