Our culture is full of versions of Frankenstein and his creature. From cartoonish representations like Boris Karloff’s lumbering monster in the 1931 film of the book, to The Shape of Water (2017)–Guillermo del Toro’s thoughtful cinematic adaptation of this parable about what happens if we create nonhuman “person,” the myth has a tremendous hold on our imaginations. Most myths, including Homeric and other epic stories, are formed over centuries by generations of anonymous and named storytellers and artists. Yet the anonymous publication of the first edition of Frankenstein in 1818 was this story’s first appearance. Now that we know the novel was written by the teenaged Mary Shelley, this achievement is even more extraordinary. What’s more, when it was published Mary Shelley was already leading a complex, politically charged and controversial life as the wife of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. In this course, we’ll explore her intriguing and inspiring story.
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley, The Last Man, Oxford World’s Classics, 2008
In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein, by Fiona Sampson
Prof. Sampson is a deeply knowledgeable and articulate lecturer and her comprehensive insights into Shelley are very engrossing and rewarding. I would have liked more about the novel contents and structure itself but this is more a lecture on the author herself, and as such is wonderful.