New book, comics, film and poems prove Frankenstein is no creature of habit

An exciting new series of works produced in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein, and author Mary Shelley's links to the city of Dundee, will be launched later this month.

‘The Frankenstein Showcase’ takes place at the Tower Building Baxter Suite, University of Dundee, on Thursday 28 March. A new Dundee edition of the classic text will be unveiled at the event alongside work across film, poetry and comics.

Edited by Dr Daniel Cook, of the University’s School of Humanities English team, the book comprises the complete 1818 text of the ground-breaking science fiction novel as well as original images produced by award-winning artists Ian Kennedy, Cam Kennedy, Norrie Millar, Dan McDaid, and Elliot Balson, essays by Billy Kay and Professor Chris Murray, and scholarship by James Morris.

The event will also feature a screening of Frankenstein Re-Membered, a stunning piece of cinematic archaeology directed by Chris Gerrard that stitches together parts from dozens of separate movie versions of Frankenstein, or films inspired by it, dating from 1895 to 2017.

Digital copies of the Dundee edition can be downloaded here while copies of the physical version will be distributed free of charge to local schoolchildren as well as to public libraries around the world.

Dr Cook said, “We are very excited to be hosting this event which not only celebrates our links to Mary Shelley, Victor Frankenstein and his monster, but also innovative methods of retelling the Frankenstein story in bold new ways.

Frankenstein is one of the most influential novels ever written. It is studied in schools and universities across the English-speaking world, and everyone is in some way familiar with the story of the god-like scientist and his monstrous creation, through movies, caricatures or popular culture more generally.

“For the past few years we have carried out a significant amount of scholarship in this area and the Dundee edition is the culmination of this. By circulating free copies in print and online we hope even more people will be inspired by the novel, and connect it more firmly with the place where it all began for the young Shelley – Dundee in 1812.

“Appropriately the event takes place in a venue named after the University’s founder, Mary Ann Baxter, part of the family with whom Shelley lived in Dundee. We don’t know if the two Marys ever met but we are very keen to continue our research to find out if there is a direct link between the University and Mary Shelley.”

Mary Shelley spent part of two years living in Dundee’s South Baffin Street as a teenager after her father William Godwin sent her to live with the wealthy jute baron Baxter family. This spell would profoundly influence Shelley, as she later acknowledged: “It was beneath the trees of the grounds belonging to our house, or on the bleak sides of the woodless mountains near, that my true compositions, the airy flights of my imagination, were born and fostered.”

Many of the works being launched next week were produced in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein during last year’s Being Human Festival and were funded by the British Academy, Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Institute. There will be an opportunity to meet the creators of the works, which also include:

  • Frankenstein's Poetic Progeny, a pamphlet featuring original works, at turns comic and tragic, by the Wyvern Poets
  • Frankenstein Begins and Frankenstein Returns, feature-length comics produced by Dundee Comics Creative Space

The Frankenstein Showcase takes place at Baxter 1.36, Tower Building, University of Dundee, from 5.30-7.30pm on Thursday 28 March. Entry is free and open to all.