'Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature' Opens March 17

An exhibit and related events hosted by the Georgia Institute of Technology this spring examine the transformation of Mary Shelley's classic Monster from a literary marvel into a cultural phenomenon - and how that feat relates to the on-going debate over ethics and the pursuit of science.

The free exhibit, Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature, runs March 17-April 30 in the Neely Gallery of Georgia Tech's Library and Information Center, 704 Cherry St. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 12-5 p.m. Sundays.

"This exhibition offers a fresh look at Mary Shelley's remarkable life and the evolution of her classic novel, Frankenstein, since its publication in 1818," Records Coordinator Kirk Henderson said. "The traveling exhibition shows how playwrights, filmmakers and the media have transformed Mary Shelley's saga into one of the Western world's most enduring myths."

Georgia Tech also will host a speaker and film series to coincide with the traveling exhibit. Sara Karloff - the daughter of Boris Karloff, who portrayed Frankenstein's Monster in several classic films -- will introduce The Bride of Frankenstein, 7 p.m. April 19 in the Georgia Tech Student Center Theater, 351 Ferst Drive NW. Ms. Karloff will speak on her father's legacy in film before the movie begins.

Overall, Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature examines how Frankenstein's abuse of science and his failure to take responsibility for his actions after reanimating a monstrous being is the direct result of his ambition and idealism - human emotions that later lead to revenge and forgiveness.

"The exhibition also addresses issues such as cloning and genetic engineering, which raise difficult questions about the nature of human identity," Henderson said. "The story of Frankenstein -- as myth and as metaphor -- can help the public articulate and examine these fears."

In association with the exhibit, Georgia Tech's School of Literature, Communication and Culture will host three speakers who will discuss Mary Shelley and the influence of her work. Among the scheduled speakers are:

Kathleen Goonan
Thursday, March 18, 2004, 4 p.m.
Clary Theater, Moore Student Success Center
219 Uncle Henie Way NW

Goonan is an up-and-coming science fiction author who has employed a post-modern interpretation of the Frankenstein myth in some of her work. Among her books are Queen City Jazz, a New York Times Notable book and British Science Fiction Association Award finalist, and Crescent City Rhapsody, a Nebula award finalist. Her most recent novel is Light Music, published by Harper Collins.

Anne Mellor
Wednesday, March 24, 2004, 4 p.m.
Mothering Monsters - Mary Shelley.s Frankenstein
Clary Theater, Moore Student Success Center
219 Uncle Henie Way NW

Mellor, a Shelley scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, is author of Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters and Romanticism and Gender. She has edited Shelley's major writings and addresses Shelley's relationship to science and technology.

Irving Foote
Monday, March 29, 2 p.m.
The Monster is Like a Red, Red Rose
Ferst Room, Library and Information Center
704 Cherry St. NW

In the early 1970s, Professor Emeritus Bud Foote developed one of the nation's first university-level science-fiction courses in Georgia Tech's School of Literature, Communication, and Culture. He also is the founder of the Bud Foote Science Fiction Collection, currently housed in the Georgia Tech Library Archives. Foote will discuss science fiction as a genre that emerges at the intersection of two important modern narrative trajectories: The story of the human heart in conflict, and the story of the mind finding its place in the universe. Foote also will address what he sees as the perennial mystery of Shelley's Frankenstein: Why does Victor Frankenstein see his creation as ugly?

In conjunction with the Frankenstein exhibit, a series of free films will be shown in the Georgia Tech Student Center Theater, 351 Ferst Drive NW. The scheduled films are:

Mary Shelley.s Frankenstein (1994)
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
Monday, April 5, 2004, 7 p.m.

Young Frankenstein (1974)
Directed by Mel Brooks
Tuesday, April 13, 2004, 7 p.m.

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Directed by James Whale
Monday, April 19, 2004, 7 p.m.

This exhibit and its related events are sponsored by Georgia Tech's Library and Information Center and the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture.

Additional assistance for the exhibit is provided by the College of Sciences; the Dean of Graduate Studies; DramaTech; and the Student Center Programs Council Movie Committee.

The National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Md., and the American Library Association Public Programs Office organized the traveling exhibition and tour with major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Library of Medicine.