Skip to main content


FRANKENtalks: Conversations about Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Tuesday, October 23, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Cofrin Library, 4th floor
Free and open to the public

The Cofrin Library invites you to an evening of mini-lectures from UWGB faculty celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.

Take part in the discussion and enjoy light refreshments. One lucky attendee will win two tickets for the performance of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein at the Weidner Center.

Speakers and Topics

Re-animating the Monster: Reinvention of the Frankenstein Myth In Pop Culture

Bryan J. Carr, Communication and Information Science
The archetype of Frankenstein – an abominable yet deeply and profoundly human creation of scientists meddling in the affairs of God and nature – is a powerful one, and recurs throughout popular culture. The story of Frankenstein has inspired countless interpretations and re-tellings but also numerous spiritual successors, borrowing the themes of the characters and plot of Shelly’s original work and re-contextualizing them into new situations and places. Dr. Carr will examine a select few of these re-inventions, including Prometheus’ android David, superhero Deadpool, 80’s action mainstay Robocop, and more, and discover the common thread across these very different characters – and what it says about our humanity and ourselves.

In Praise of Female Creativity: Feminist Interpretations of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Jessica Van Slooten, English and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Uncontrollable creations! Monomaniacal focus! Delusions of grandeur! Murdered women! In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley offers these, and other, dire warnings about what happens when patriarchy wrests creative power from women. Ironically, Shelley’s own authorship of this classic has been called--repeatedly--into question, revealing deep cultural concerns about female creative power. Dr. Van Slooten will discuss the ways that Shelley’s text both celebrates female creativity and critiques patriarchal values that seek to usurp women’s creativity.

Patagonian Giants, Frankenstein’s Creature, and Contact Zone Catastrophe

Rebecca Nesvet, English
Modern critics have revisited Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with unprecedented attention to eighteenth-century discourses of race, colonization, and imperialism, all of which were topics that concerned Mary Shelley and her literary circle. This lightning talk will explore Frankenstein's critical response to the idea, pervasive in her society, that there were indigenous "giants" in Patagonia. By representing the Creature as a "giant" with a longing for South America and a kind of explorer and would-be colonizer, Mary Shelley's novel highlights the catastrophic nature of European exploration, colonization, and taxonomy.

How Geology and Climate Contributed to the Creation of One (Actually Two) of the World’s Greatest Literary Works

Steve Meyer, Natural and Applied Sciences
On April 10, 1815 Mount Tambora erupted with such force that geologists call it the strongest volcano in recorded history. The resulting plume of volcanic debris entered the stratosphere and was subsequently spread worldwide by the Earth’s planetary air currents. The suspension of volcanic residue reduced incoming solar radiation, resulting in a decrease of average global temperature by 1.5C over the next decade. The decrease in global temperature wreaked havoc on global weather patterns leading to anomalously wet and cold conditions, especially over western and northern Europe. Confined to a vacation villa by the abnormal weather, Lord Byron suggested a ghost story competition with his literary peers. From that competition, two of gothic literature’s greatest monsters were born, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and John Polidori’s The Vampyre (pre-cursor to Dracula).

Logo image designed by Avital Dayanim for Frankenreads, an initiative of the Keats-Shelley Association of America