Exhibit Examines the Birth of Frankenstein, Author Mary Shelley and More

Few creatures of horror have captivated readers' imaginations as the tortured monster of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Yet 200 years after its publication, the book and its characters remain fascinating.

Beginning next week, Duquesne University's Gumberg Library will display a six-banner traveling exhibit that explores the birth of Frankenstein, Shelley's life, the scientific search for the principle of life and the transformation of the "monster" in popular culture.

Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature will be on display from Monday, Aug. 27, through Saturday, Oct. 6, in the Popular Reading Room on the fourth floor of the library. Free and open to the public, the exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

Gumberg Library also will host a Mary Shelley birthday party-with cake-from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30, in the Popular Reading Room. Bill Purse, chair of contemporary music media and jazz in the Mary Pappert School of Music, will play the theremin-an electronic musical instrument featured in soundtracks of numerous horror and science fiction movies.

Additional events scheduled in collaboration with the exhibit include:

  • Black Frankenstein at the Bicentennial, presented by Dr. Elizabeth Young, the Carl M. and Elsie A. Small Professor of English at Mount Holyoke, on Friday, Sept. 21, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in Dougherty Ballroom A, Power Center.
  • The Meaning of Frankenstein in the 21st Century: An Interdisciplinary Faculty Panel Discussion, on Wednesday, Sept. 26, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Simon Silverman Phenomenology Center, first floor, Gumberg Library.

"Frankenstein is an iconic piece of literature that exposes a tension between innovation and medicine, social responsibility and humanity," said Dr. Sara Baron, University librarian. "The exhibit and programming will explore some of those tensions and celebrate 200 years of Mary Shelley's classic creation."  

For more information on Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature and related events, visit www.duq.edu/Frankenstein or call 412.396.6130.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

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