Frankenstein Returns ‘home’
Published On Tue 30 Oct 2018 by Grant Hill
The University of Dundee will next month host a series of events celebrating Mary Shelley in the city that inspired the teenage pioneer of science fiction to become a writer.
Frankenstein Returns takes place at venues throughout Dundee from Friday 16 to Saturday 24 November as part of Being Human 2018, the national festival of the humanities that has this year expanded to include events in Australia, France, Italy, Singapore and the United States.
One of the flagship events will be a recreation of the wildly popular Gothic shows that thrilled huge crowds around the time Shelley was writing Frankenstein. ‘The Frankenstein Phantasmagoria’ promises a hair-raising, eye-popping performance using Victorian projection equipment and live musical accompaniment. Not for the faint of heart, this ‘gathering of ghosts’ will enable the audience to experience Frankenstein in a whole new way.
A special Dundee edition of Frankenstein will be launched, while other events focus on comics, theatre, film and science relevant to Mary Shelley’s masterpiece. All events are free and inclusive.
Dr Daniel Cook, event programmer and a lecturer at the University’s English department, said, “This year the world has been celebrating the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Frankenstein and it is important we mark this event in Dundee, Mary Shelley’s home during her teenage years.
“This year’s events are largely interactive but we are also pleased to host a screening of one of the most iconic filmic responses to the novel, The Bride of Frankenstein, at Dundee Contemporary Arts while Frankenstein Re-membered, an experimental film produced in Dundee that stitches together 200 other movies inspired by Shelley’s work, will be premiered.
“There will also be a chance to handle extraordinary documents in our ’Body Parts in the Archives’ tour of the University’s Archives, enjoy a themed take-over day at Dundee Science Centre, write your own Frankenstein-inspired poetry, collaborate with award-winning writers and artists and so much more. As ever, we’re hoping people will enjoy the immense creativity of our participants across a number of fields.”
Mary Shelley spent part of her teenage years in Dundee’s South Baffin Street 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.”
Being Human 2018 will see events take place at universities and other organisations across the UK from 15 to 24 November, alongside a series of international activities. Dundee will once again serve as Scotland’s festival hub. This year’s Being Human events explore big questions, big debates and innovative ideas focused around the theme of ‘Origins and Endings’.
Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, and funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, Being Human is a national forum for public engagement with humanities research.
The festival highlights the ways in which the humanities can inspire and enrich lives, helping us to understand ourselves, our relationships with others, and the challenges we face in a changing world.
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