Arab Today, arab today the origin of frankenstein exhibit taps into angst over science
Last Updated : GMT 15:19:59
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

The origin of Frankenstein exhibit taps into angst over science

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today The origin of Frankenstein exhibit taps into angst over science

A statue of Frankenstein's monster in Geneva
Geneva - AFP

Frankenstein, the story of a scientist who brings to life a cadaver and causes his own downfall, has for two centuries given voice to anxiety surrounding the unrelenting advance of science.

To mark the 200 years since England's Mary Shelley first imagined the ultimate horror story during a visit to a frigid, rain-drenched Switzerland, an exhibit opens in Geneva Friday called "Frankenstein, Creation of Darkness".

In the dimly-lit, expansive basement at the Martin Bodmer Foundation, a long row of glass cases holds 15 hand-written, yellowed pages from a notebook where Shelley in 1816 wrote the first version of what is considered a masterpiece of romantic literature.

"... I beheld the wretch -- the miserable monster whom I had created; he held up the curtain, and his eyes, if eyes they may be called, were fixed on me," she wrote.

The idea for her "miserable monster" came when at just 18 she and her future husband, English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, went to a summer home -- the Villa Diodati -- rented by literary great Lord Byron on the outskirts of Geneva.

The current private owners of the picturesque manor overlooking Lake Geneva will also open their lush gardens to guided tours during the nearby exhibit which runs to October 9.

- Lord Byron's challenge -

While the spot today is lovely, with pink and purple lilacs spilling from the terraces and gravel walkways winding through rose-covered arches, in the summer of 1816 the atmosphere was more somber.

A massive eruption from the Tambora volcano in Indonesia wreaked havoc with the global climate that year, and a weather report for Geneva in June on display at the exhibit mentions "not a single leaf" had yet appeared on the oak trees. 

To pass the time, poet Lord Byron challenged the band of literary bohemians gathered at the villa to each invent a ghost story, resulting in several famous pieces of writing.

English doctor and author John Polidori came up with the idea for "The Vampyre", which was published three years later and is considered to have pioneered the romantic vampyre genre, including works like Bram Stoker's "Dracula".

That book figures among a multitude of first editions at the Geneva exhibit, including three of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus" -- the most famous story to emerge from the competition.

When first published in 1818 it did not bear Shelley's name, and one of the yellowed editions in the exhibit, presented as a gift to the man who sparked its creation, is inscribed merely: "To Lord Byron from the Author". 

"Her name was unknown. It would not have done anything for the sale of the book. Especially a feminine name," explained David Spurr, an English literature professor at the University of Geneva and curator of the exhibit. 

- 'Trying to play God'? -
Despite her young age, Mary Shelley -- the daughter of political philosopher William Godwin and feminist philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft -- tapped into widespread angst about the increasing power of science and technology.

Shelley does not reveal in her book the secret "spark of being" that Victor Frankenstein discovers and uses to bring his creature to life, but the result of his hubris is depicted in all its horror.

Rejected by its maker, the creature turns into a vengeful monster who murders Frankenstein's baby brother, his best friend and his love the night before their wedding.

More than simply marking the 200th anniversary of the conception of Frankenstein, Spurr said the exhibit along with a range of activities seek to highlight how relevant the novel remains as science and technology advance at breakneck speed.

"The fundamental questions raised about science and about the human capacity to create human life, or to modify or to intervene in the process of the creation of human life ... are still very actual and are still a source of anxiety," he said, pointing for instance to DNA research and tinkering with human reproduction.

Nicolas Ducimetiere, vice director of the Martin Bodmer Foundation, agreed.

"How far can scientific creativity go without trying to play God, or creating something that will be a scourge for humanity?" he asked.

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today the origin of frankenstein exhibit taps into angst over science Arab Today, arab today the origin of frankenstein exhibit taps into angst over science

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Nohan Seyam designs beautiful accessories

GMT 20:02 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Nohan Seyam designs beautiful accessories
Arab Today, arab today Tourism shows signs of recovery

GMT 09:59 2017 Monday ,20 February

Tourism shows signs of recovery
Arab Today, arab today Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"
Arab Today, arab today Top Yemen commander killed

GMT 09:55 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Top Yemen commander killed
Arab Today, arab today To probe sexual harassment claims

GMT 10:08 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

To probe sexual harassment claims

GMT 15:04 2017 Wednesday ,04 January

Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ becomes German bestseller

GMT 23:50 2016 Thursday ,08 December

UAE is helping the Arab world read more books

GMT 11:07 2016 Monday ,07 November

Sheikh Zayed Book Award announces first longlist

GMT 10:03 2016 Thursday ,13 October

A new illustrated book compares Beirut and New York

GMT 08:55 2016 Sunday ,25 September

Chinese Book Fair kicks off in Kathmandu
View News in Arabic - Culture: مراجعة كتب
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today To hold social dialogue over secondary school

GMT 07:43 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

To hold social dialogue over secondary school
Arab Today, arab today 63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby

GMT 12:35 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby
Arab Today, arab today Milan laughs while Rome cries

GMT 10:28 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Milan laughs while Rome cries
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Nissan enhances sales in most markets

GMT 14:08 2017 Monday ,20 February

Nissan enhances sales in most markets
Arab Today, arab today Competes Sweden and Germans by S90

GMT 22:36 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Competes Sweden and Germans by S90
Arab Today, arab today Janat pleased for issuing 'Good Morning'

GMT 06:41 2017 Monday ,20 February

Janat pleased for issuing 'Good Morning'
Arab Today, arab today Small ponds have outsized impact

GMT 15:53 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Small ponds have outsized impact

GMT 06:34 2017 Sunday ,19 February

Ahmed Fahmy stresses he did not ignore singing

GMT 06:50 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed

GMT 12:22 2017 Monday ,20 February

Kanye West puts hijab-wearing model

GMT 14:06 2017 Friday ,17 February

London to tax old cars

GMT 23:29 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Home built on sand castles-style costs $8m

GMT 05:15 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Omega 3 can reduce asthma cases

GMT 19:16 2017 Friday ,17 February

Aziz House ready to host the tourists

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 12:39 2017 Monday ,20 February

newest smartphone another winner for Huawei

GMT 16:08 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Shawsh reveals her collection "Jewelry of dreams"
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday