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Luigi Galvani, ca. 1879

Luigi Galvani (1737–1798) was an Italian physician who discovered that electrical current, the result of chemical reactions within the body, stimulates movements in muscles. Galvani's discoveries paved the way for new explorations into physiology, the development of life-saving therapies, and the advent of neurology. Mary Shelley's knowledge of galvanism and the hopes for its potential in her time are evident as Victor Frankenstein makes several references to electricity in Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus (1818).

Courtesy National Library of Medicine

A man (Luigi Galvani) wearing a suit and wig, seated and looking to the left.
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  • Creator:

    Francesco Spagnoli, painter,
    Antonio Marchi, engraver