2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a seminal literary work that, since its appearance, has influenced millions of people across the globe. Frankenstein is a rare work of fiction in that it appeals to both novice and expert readers alike, readers who represent both the breadth of human diversity and a range of disciplinary interests and backgrounds. It is a work that remains relevant to contemporary cultural debates concerning issues ranging from biomedical technologies and the ethical questions they raise to misperceptions and misrepresentations of the Other and their impact on our shared humanity. Frankenstein sparks imagination and critical thinking about the human experience, and thus it is perhaps no surprise that it is the most widely taught literary text in the country and the fifth most widely taught book from any discipline.
To commemorate the bicentennial of the novel and also to harness its power to generate and inspire communities of readers, the Keats-Shelley Association of America in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities is launching “Frankenreads”: a “Bloomsday”-style, national/international public reading of Frankenstein on October 31, 2018. We hope to:
- engage an international community, including but not limited to North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific in related activities centering on the novel;
- to make this community visible globally as a community through shared branding and social media;
- to livestream a public reading of Frankenstein to be held at NEH headquarters for those around the world who are unable to attend one in person;
- to facilitate bringing regional experts of the novel to such events as lectures, discussions, and film showings held at local libraries and community centers;
- to hold in the days leading up to Frankenreads an international “Week of Frankenstein,” during which students, teachers, and the public could hold Frankenstein related events and contribute their thoughts, images, and short videos about Frankenstein to a collective blog.
We invite you to discover already planned events near you, or to join our growing list of partners by proposing your own!