Following the accidental discovery that an electric charge could contract the muscles of a frog, the Italian Luigi Galvani believed he had discovered a particular kind of electricity. Further experimentation on the bodies of mammals led to the desire to experiment on a human corpse. Two weeks after Galvani’s nephew, Giovanni Aldini, had experimented on the body of a dog, George Forster was executed for the murder of his wife and child. His body was immediately passed on for the experiment.
Many and long were the conversations between Lord Byron and [Percy] Shelley, to which I was a devout but nearly silent listener. During one of these, various philosophical doctrines were discussed, and among others the nature of the principle of life, and whether there was any probability of its ever being discovered and communicated .... Perhaps a corpse would be re-animated; galvanism had given token of such things: perhaps the component parts of a creature might be manufactured, brought together, and endued with vital warmth.
- Full title:
- Criminal Chronology; or, the New Newgate Calendar; being interesting memoirs of notorious characters ... brought down to the present time ... With occasional essays on crimes and punishments, etc.
- 1809, 1810, London, Liverpool, Merseyside
- Andrew Knapp
- Held by:
- British Library
- Article by:
- Sharon Ruston
- Technology and science, The novel 1780-1832
Professor Sharon Ruston surveys the scientific background to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, considering contemporary investigations into resuscitation, galvanism and the possibility of states between life and death.
- Article by:
- Judith Flanders
- Crime and crime fiction
Judith Flanders explores how the creation of a unified Metropolitan Police force in 1829 led to the birth of the fictional detective.