Monthly Archives: June 2013

Investigating the ‘Real Frankenstein Potential’ of Johann Conrad Dippel, Pt. 1

Dippel_portrait

This is Dippel’s portrait, though most early biographers felt the need to add that it didn’t actually resemble him very much.

A short while ago, I was in touch with a TV company shooting an infotainment series on mysterious manors. They were interested in Johann Conrad Dippel (1673-1734) as their picks included Castle Frankenstein near Darmstadt, Germany, where he is rumoured to have conducted all sorts of disgusting experiments involving human corpses and mutilated animals. According to Radu Florescu, the author of In Search of Frankenstein (1975; 1996 ed., pp. 76-92; a review may be found here), it was this very castle and the alchemist Dippel who inspired Mary Shelley’s famous novel, Frankenstein (1818). In spite of the fact that Florescu’s grounds for such a claim resemble conjecture and conspiracy theory rather than what would usually qualify as evidence, the identification took hold and is spread far and wide throughout the internet and elsewhere in popular culture. And by the same token, Dippel has come to appear as the ‘real Frankenstein’ to the Anglophone world at large. But if we consider historical and scholarly sources, how impressive is Dippel’s Real Frankenstein Potential actually?  Continue reading

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Welcome—first blog post!

Portrait_Mike

A portrait of the blogger as a young man.

By way of a blissfully short introduction, my name is Mike A. Zuber and I’m a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam. (For the record, Mike happens to be my actual given name as stated in all official documents, so please don’t call me Michael.) My research project is concerned with what I’ve tentatively called ‘theosophical chymistry’ in the early eighteenth century, particularly in German-speaking contexts. If you’d like to find out more about my research and academic activities, you’re welcome to stop by at Academia.edu.

This blog owes its name to a book first published in 1733: Microcosmische Vorspiele Des Neuen Himmels und der Neuen Erde (Microcosmic Preludes of the New Heaven and the New Earth). This is but one of many intriguing, though mostly forgotten books Continue reading