Frankenstein Resources & Links
Two hundred years ago...19-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley sat in a hotel on Lake Geneva in Switzerland, in a relentless cold rain caused by bizarre weather from a massive volcanic eruption half a world away...In the two centuries since, the novel has been taught worldwide, adapted into every possible art form, infused into popular culture and used to kick-start conversations on themes ranging from religion to law, from science to art.
When you’re gay and grow up feeling like a hideous misfit, fully conscious that some believe your desires to be wicked and want to kill you for them, identifying with the Monster is hardly a stretch: A misunderstood beast finds solace in the solitude of the woods, but seems to endlessly face the wrath of the torch-bearing, small-minded inhabitants in the world beyond.
Arizona State University’s Frankenstein Bicentennial Project uses the timeless tale to engage the public around issues in science, technology, and creative responsibility with a variety of educational opportunities and publications for audiences of all ages.
In a classic late-18th-century experiment, the Italian physiologist Luigi Galvani hung dead frogs from his balcony during a thunderstorm. The animals were impaled on metal hooks intended to attract an electric charge as the storm flashed its way across town. In response to a lightning strike or a boom of thunder, “their legs twitched in a way that made them seem as if they were ready to hop off the balcony and into the streets below.”
Today, the influence of Galvani’s work is evident even in our lexicon, the way we use the word “galvanize,” to mean startled into sudden activity.
Frederick Douglass, born into slavery the year “Frankenstein” was published...described learning to read by trading with white boys for lessons. Douglass realized his political condition at the age of twelve, while reading the “Dialogue Between a Master and Slave."...It was his coming of age. “The more I read, the more I was led to abhor and detest my enslavers,” Douglass wrote, in a line that the creature himself might have written.