Screenshots is a weekly feature by Simon Groth, highlighting a project, app, or other resource of interest.
By Mary Shelley, et. al.
That this year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is remarkable considering the novel’s continued relevance to contemporary questions around technology, creativity, and the social and moral responsibility associated with them. Arizona State University, as part of its series of bicentennial celebrations, is the primary force behind Frankenbook, an online compendium that reproduces Shelley’s original 1818 text with annotations from a range of experts, alongside complementary essays, and associated video and interactive media.
Interesting that the project has been published to the open web, given that even a few years ago this is exactly the kind of project that would almost certainly have been distributed as an app (for example, the similar treatments for On the Road or A Clockwork Orange). Of course, publishing to the web for this kind of project comes with both advantages and disadvantages. True to its title, Frankenbook is a living text that welcomes annotations from all readers and encourages social interactions within the site and via other platforms. However, although the reading interface is clean and the annotations and navigation are well handled, the inherent limitations of the web (a chapter per page, an inability to bookmark) make Frankenbook better suited for devotees to discuss and delve deeper into the text, rather than as an introduction to new readers.
Frankenbook is freely available online.