More on Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus and Albertus Magnus

More on Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus and Albertus Magnus:

These references suggest the extent of Mary Shelley's scientific knowledge, though she no doubt also made use of suggestions from her husband and other companions at the Villa Deodati (see

Social/political context: How Frankenstein came to be written).

  • Cornelius Agrippa (1486-c.1535) was a philosopher and scientist with a deep interest in the occult. He was a critic of Church hierarchies, who sympathised with Martin Luther and advocated a return to the Scriptures as the basis of Christian teaching
  • Paracelsus was the adopted name of Theophrastus von Hohenheim (1490-1451), and suggests that he was the superior of Celsus, a celebrated physician in the first century CE. He studied medicine and contributed a great deal to the understanding and treatment of disease. He was also drawn to alchemy and his critics thought him a charlatan who relied as much on magic and superstition as on scientific observation
  • St. Albertus Magnus (c. 1205-c. 1278) was a versatile scholar whose work ranged from philosophy and theology to psychology and the natural sciences. He was devoted to the idea that Christian faith and experimental science were not hostile to one another. Although his enemies accused him of neglecting theology for the practice of sorcery and magic his reputation remained intact and he was beatified in the 17th century and canonised in 1931.

The interests and careers of these figures are important in the reader's understanding of the development of Frankenstein's scientific interests.

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