I spent a long time thinking about Frankenstein, albeit back in the 20th century, and still enjoy the continually renewed afterlife of the story. My book on that is getting on for 20 years old, but I’d still defend its basic thesis that Mary Shelley furnished a myth that frames much of our discussion of biomedical science and technologies.
So it’s been interesting to see a few responses to the 200th anniversary of the story’s genesis (conceived in 2016, though first published two years later). The Bristol Festival of Ideas’ weekend featured a splendid new theatre production of the tale in John Wesley’s atmospheric chapel, by candle light, lots of talks, some new poetry, and a science, tech and ethics discussion I enjoyed chairing. It seemed to me usefully measured and informative, on IVF and CRISPR mainly, thanks to panellists Robin Lovell Badge, Sara Norcross, Alison Murdoch and Lucy van der Wiel. So gratitude to them, and to the Festival of ideas team for organising it. Also fun to meet the folks organising a Frankensteinian literary tour of Bath (Most people associate the story with the Shelley entourage’s stay on Lake Geneva, but most of the novel was actually written in Bath) which will be running this Summer.
There’s talk of a Gothic event at the Stoke Newington lit fest in June, which I think will also be in a candle lit church… Details when I have them. And if anyone else wants me to talk about Frankenstein while it’s back in my mind, do get in touch.