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Another Look: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus

EVT 531
Jan 24
7:30 pm
Status: No Registration Required

The Another Look book club focuses on short classics that have been forgotten, neglected, or overlooked—or may simply not have received the attention they merit. The selected works are short, in order to encourage the involvement of Bay Area readers whose time may be limited. Subscription to Another Look is encouraged for regular updates and details on the selected books and events.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus

Two hundred years ago, twenty-year-old Mary Shelley published her masterpiece, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. The book would rock the world, and over the years has inspired films, theater adaptations, television shows, video games, sequels, and spinoffs. But today’s public conception of “the Creature” may owe more to Boris Karloff’s iconic 1931 film role than to the monster that Shelley created in her classic, with its complicated, troubling humanity.

Shelley’s tale has proved timely, even prophetic, given our current concerns about artificial intelligence, animal-to- human transplants, and stem cells. Frankenstein explores the role of conscience in creation, and asks: What does it mean to be human? What happens when humans abnegate responsibility for what they bring into being? And don’t we all fear that our creative triumphs will turn against us, destroying us and those we love?

Another Look’s winter event on Frankenstein is part of Stanford’s year-long celebration of the book’s bicentennial anniversary of its 1818 publication. The campus-wide “Frankenstein@200” will explore the moral, scientific, sociological, ethical, and spiritual dimensions of the book. Another Look will focus on the book as a literary work: a flowering of the romantic imagination, as well as a pioneering landmark in science fiction.

Following the discussion will be a question-and-answer session with the speakers.

Robert Pogue Harrison
Rosina Pierotti Professor of Italian Literature, Stanford; Host of “Entitled Opinions” (KZSU radio); Director, Another Look

Andrea Nightingale
Professor of Classics, Stanford

Inga Pierson
English Teacher, Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton; Former Lecturer in French & Italian, Stanford

Dan Edelstein
William H. Bonsall Professor of French; Professor, by courtesy, of History, Stanford
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