Monster marathon focuses on Frankenstein

In honor of the bicentennial of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, WashU has a line up of speakers and events that begins this week and continues through 2018. On Thursday, Sept. 7, 5 p.m., at Graham Chapel, the Washington University Assembly Series will present playwright Nick Dear, who adapted the novel for the Royal National Theatre in London, in conversation with Rebecca Messbarger, professor of Romance literatures and languages in Arts & Sciences, and Henry Schvey, professor of performing arts in Arts & Sciences.

The “Frankenstein at 200” conference, which takes place Oct. 13, will bring together scholars from several universities and disciplines, including history, philosophy, fine arts, literature, Africana studies and performing arts. Other highlights will include a special Frankenstein issue of The Common Reader and “The Curren(t)cy of Frankenstein,” a symposium sponsored by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, as well as films, lectures, performances and exhibits.

In this video, Corinna Treitel, associate professor of history in Arts & Sciences — and lead organizer for the Center for the Humanities’ “Frankenstein at 200” conference — discusses the book’s continued power to challenge and inform.

“Today, ‘Frankenstein’ offers students and scholars a wonderful opportunity to bring two conversations together,” Treitel said. “One has to do with the social consequences of recent exciting discoveries in STEM fields. And the other has to do with a conversation about diversity and inclusion, especially the mechanisms of social othering.”

“The creature is the quintessential outsider,” Treitel said. Which raises a series of interesting questions: “What makes monsters? How does it feel to be a monster? And perhaps most importantly, what do you and I do that helps make monsters?”

For more information, visit the Frankenstein 200 webpage, follow events on Facebook and Twitter, or search #WUFrank200.

For information on the location and time of discussion groups on campus, click here: Common Reading Program.

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