101 E. Green
Penetrating the Secrets of Nature raises a number of questions for audiences
at libraries across the country to discuss. Among them are:
1. Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein; its metaphorical aspects; and the literary, scientific and political environment that influenced Mary Shelley as she created the scientist and his monster; the complexities of Shelley's monster - his sensitivity and yearning for acceptance into the human community.
2. The focus of scientific development in the late 18th and early 19th centuries on reanimation and resuscitation of the dead; and the belief that the world's problems could be solved through science.
3. Passages from the novel and how they illuminate the dilemmas raised by Dr. Frankenstein's ability to create life and his failure to take responsibility for what he has created.
4. The interpretations and distortions of the Frankenstein story in the 19th and 20th centuries in various media, such as theater, political cartoons, and film; and the uses of the Frankenstein metaphor in the political and scientific spheres.
5. Popular scientific developments in the 1930s when the Frankenstein films attracted a large following, including the glass heart co-developed by Charles Lindebergh and cardiac pacemakers.
6. Contrasts between science as conducted in Mary Shelley's novel and science as it is pursued in the 21st century, and the ways citizens and experts negotiate the moral and social boundaries of acceptable society, especially in controversial areas such as cloning.
It has been made possible by major grants from The
National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, D.C., and the
National Library of Medicine,
Bethesda, Md. The traveling
exhibition is based upon a major exhibition produced by the National Library
of Medicine in 1997-1998.
We have also benefited from many local partnerships with community groups including the members of the Discovery Trail.
Frankenstein image from: http://www.creativescreenwriting.com/articles/essman12_99.html
Last Revised August 14, 2002