This year, our most famous literary monster turns 200-years-old. To clear up a common misconception: Frankenstein is the name of the scientist who creates the monster, not the monster itself. Maybe after 200 years we can all be on the same page about that? Well…probably not; It’s a hard habit to break! Frankenstein has had an enormous impact on our culture. It is widely considered the first gothic novel and one of the earliest examples of science fiction, thereby inspiring a whole legion of artists, from filmmakers to comic book creators, for decades upon decades in its wake. Would we have Dracula or The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde without Frankenstein? Maybe not. Even The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a Halloween staple and classic midnight film experience, shares some of the same DNA as Frankenstein, as evidenced by Dr. Frank N. Furter’s creation (Rocky), who becomes more than the Doctor can control.
A seminal Frankenstein film adaptation was released in 1931 and starred Boris Karloff. This version will be at the center of an LPL program on October 30th, 2018 at 2:30 p.m., during which patrons are invited to join a discussion about this classic film. The event will take place just in time for Halloween, fitting when we consider how prominent Dr. Frankenstein’s monster fits into the horror genre. For other Frankenstein adaptations, consider checking out one or more of the following from the Library:
When it was published in January 1818, it was originally titled Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it? Though it was initially released anonymously, Mary Shelley’s name was added a few years later, a move that ensured she would later be listed on high school and college syllabi long after her passing. In fact, according to Frankenreads, an initiative from the Keats-Shelley Association of America to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein, it is “ the most frequently taught work of literature in college English courses and the fifth most frequently taught book in college courses in all disciplines” (taken from their FAQ section). I’ve been required to read it twice, and considered it from multiple angles, from its epistolary format (a novel told through correspondence) to the widely-held belief that the story is a metaphor for childbirth and motherhood. It is an endlessly fascinating story–and the fact that it was written by a woman, barely out of her teens, during the early nineteenth century is cause enough to marvel at its existence. It would be a great selection for book clubs interested in reconnecting with a classic, with the added bonus of seasonal appropriateness.