Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” (1818) is one of the most influential artistic creations of the last two centuries.At 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29, the Washington University Symphony Orchestra will present three world-premiere student compositions inspired by Shelley’s book in the 560 Music Center’s E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall.
Dr. Frankenstein and his monster weren’t always pop culture icons, but the book did strike a nerve almost as soon as it was published. In 1823, just five years after Frankenstein’s publication, the actor T.P. Cooke starred in the first dramatic adaptation of the work called Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein. This was the only adaptation of the work during Mary Shelley’s lifetime.
Ira Kodner, emeritus professor of surgery in the School of Medicine and founder and former director of the Center for the Study of Ethics and Human Values, has been working for many years to teach medical ethics to young residents and medical school students. When he was asked to give a lecture about Frankensteina few years ago, he saw an immediate connection between the topic of ethics and the novel by Mary Shelley.
Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the classic novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, which first gave life to “the monster,” now an icon in his own right. The story can perhaps credit some of its long-lived popularity to the fact that it intersects with many fields of study: literature, biology, ethics, sociology, media studies and … earth science?