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Monday, August 8, 2011

Everybody Loves the Monster!

The New York Public Library is proud to present on

Thursday, August 18th, 2011, in the  Margaret Liebman Berger Forum in the
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street

A Symposium on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or,

Everybody Loves the Monster!

In 1818, when Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus was published for the
first time, Mary Shelley could not have imagined the monster she was
unleashing on the world.  The creature in Shelley's novel is remarkably
sympathetic and an eloquent speaker, capable of measured, intelligent, and
articulate argument.  But based on Boris Karloff’s 1931 film performance and
confirmed by countless other films, comics, and illustrations, the general
perception today is that Frankenstein’s creature is a “monster” who grunts
or speaks—if he talks at all—in disjointed monosyllables.  Why has popular
culture largely denied the creature his reasonable voice?  This symposium
brings together four scholars and the curator and bibliographer of The New
York Public Library’s Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection to reflect on graphic
and film representations of the “monster” from the past two centuries.  The
first half of the day will feature presentations on key visual adaptations
of the creature, while the latter half will engage questions about what
these appearances mean for understanding him as a political and historical

Morning Session – ten o’clock

coffee and tea

Opening remarks: Jay Barksdale and Stephanie DeGooyer

The Face of the Creature, 1818 - Today

Elizabeth Campbell Denlinger

Curator of the Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle

The Maker of the Monster: An Illustrated Biography of Mary Shelley

Charles Cuykendall Carter

Bibliographer of the Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection

of Shelley and His Circle

The Creature in the (Cinematic) Machine

Paul Flaig

Comparative Literature, Cornell University

Afternoon Session – two o’clock

What Makes a ‘Monster?’

Susan Wolfson

Professor of English, Princeton University

A Monster’s Right to Have Rights

Stephanie DeGooyer

English, Cornell University and Scholar in Residence

in the Library’s Wertheim Study

Autism and Articulation in Mary Shelley’s Novel and Beyond

Julia Miele Rodas

Assistant Professor of English, Bronx Community College

of the City University of New York (CUNY)

Event Website Link:

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