Frankenstein in Hyperspace: The Gothic Return of Digital Technologies to the Origins of Virtual Space in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
The virtual, hypertextual spaces of interactive digital media are commonly considered to be uniquely modern phenomena. Adaptations of classic texts into this format are therefore seen as radical departures from the original texts and the experience of reading them. This chapter proposes, however, that the adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein into the new form of the interactive ‘digital book’ paradoxically marks a return to its central—yet often overlooked—concerns with higher-dimensional (hyper-) space, which Shelley explored both thematically and formally, and which were also involved in nineteenth-century approaches to reading. As well as examining these early forms of virtual space, this chapter proposes that the ‘digital book’ is itself an inherently gothic form that reveals the uncanny potential of new media in the twenty-first century.
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