April 12 - 15, 2018
2018 marks the bicentennial of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The 1818 edition was the first of three distinct publications (1818, 1823, and 1831), with the differences between the first and last made visible through the framed collation available in The Pennsylvania Electronic Edition [http://knarf.english.upenn.edu/], painstakingly edited by Stuart Curran during the 1990s. The differences between the 1818 and 1831 editions are the most dramatic, offering material for the ongoing debates over the editorial influence of William Godwin, Shelley’s father, and her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, as well as the Mary’s degree of creative control. Beyond points of style, authorship, and creative control, the depictions of the creature and Victor Frankenstein also vary, with those of Victor the most. Never referred to as “Dr.Frankenstein” in the novel, Victor as the “mad doctor” has become almost as iconic as the creature himself.
In Frankenstein: A Cultural History (2007), Susan Tyler Hitchcock argues that the central myth of Mary Shelley’s novel is one of “claiming long-forbidden knowledge and facing the consequences” (4). The result of Frankenstein’s experiments—the creature—has become a metaphor for hubris, overreach, and scientific testing or discovery divorced from humanity; it is also an argument for ethical creation. Over the past two hundred years as science and technology have evolved, this metaphor has been applied to atomic weapons and power, cloning, genetic modification, and artificial intelligence among other pursuits. The novel has been adapted for stage, screen, graphic novels, and even video games, using new settings and often reimagining and adding characters, yet leaving others relatively untouched. However, it is only in a few cases and relatively recently that those inspired by Shelley’s novel have chosen to transform and evolve both the creature and Victor Frankenstein, bringing contemporary psychological and scientific theories to bear on their place in the modern world.
This session, for the 2018 NEMLA conference, to be held in Pittsburgh, PA, seeks papers that explore the ways in which the iconic figures of Victor Frankenstein and his creation have been transformed in the early 21st century.
Papers proposed to the panel might explore recent film, television or novels including but not limited to:
- Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein quadrilogy (2005-2010)
- Frankenstein (BBC, 2007)
- Peter Ackroyd’s The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein (2008)
- The Frankenstein Theory (2013)
- I, Frankenstein (2014)
- Penny Dreadful (Showtime, 2014-2016)
- Victor Frankenstein (2015)
- The Frankenstein Chronicles (BBC TV, 2015)
- Second Chance (Fox, 2016)
- Doc Frankenstein (comic series, Burlyman Entertainment, 6 issues, 2004-2016)
- Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. (DC Comics, 17 issues, 2011-2013)
Submit abstract to NeMLA web site https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/16974 by September 30, 2017 deadline. Send questions to Dr. Rikk Mulligan at Carnegie Mellon University: firstname.lastname@example.org.