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USF English hosts bicentennial Frankenstein celebration

TAMPA, Fla. – On Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, the USF Campus Bookstore Café was the day-long read-a-thon site for the bicentennial celebration of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece “Frankenstein.” Through the course of the day, volunteers read through the entire work, and a slide show of related art and images completed the scene.

An array of student, faculty, and other volunteer readers brought this enchanting and empathetic novel to a wide audience through dramatic readings. Participants included visiting students from Blake High School, who also contributed artwork to slideshow. USF College of the Arts collaborated on the visuals.

USF English’s event was part of the international Frankenreads organized by the Keats-Shelley Association of America, which also sponsored a Frankenreads Central event at the Library of Congress. The Frankenreads website contains a map with pins showing the hundreds of related events around the world, including the USF Tampa event. 

Dr. Steven Jones, DeBartolo Chair in Liberal Arts and Professor of English and Digital Humanities and longtime distinguished Romantics scholar, set up this event in collaboration with the English Department, Liz Kicak and her staff in USF’s Humanities Institute, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Frankenstein,” or “The Modern Prometheus” is the most popular literary work of the romantic period, and Mary Shelley was a teenager when she wrote it. According to the Open Syllabus project, “Frankenstein” is the most frequently taught work of literature in college English courses and the fifth most frequently taught book in college courses in all disciplines. It's one of the most read British novels in the world. This compelling novel appeals to a wide reading audience and remains highly relevant in our own era, when we face profound questions about technology and ethics, science and the humanities, otherness, the human, and the non-human.

Collage showing Frankenreads reader, audience, and floral skull table decoration.

Filed under:Arts and Sciences English Humanities Institute   
Author:Dr. Steven Jones