LAWRENCE’S LIFE THE­ORY

History Revealed - - MARY SHELLEY FRANKENSTEIN’S MOTHER -

Wil­liam Lawrence, the Shel­leys’ doc­tor, en­gaged in a very pub­lic de­bate on the na­ture of life it­self. While most doc­tors of the day (in­clud­ing John Aber­nethy, Lawrence’s most vo­cal critic) be­lieved that life – our thoughts and men­tal pro­cesses – was a kind of ‘vi­tal prin­ci­ple’ that was some­how ‘su­per­added’ to the body, Lawrence ar­gued that these were sim­ply a func­tion of the brain and body. His ideas were con­sid­ered blas­phe­mous, and Lawrence was forced to with­draw his writ­ings and de­nounce his views in or­der to be al­lowed to work.

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