Friedman Co-Authors Frankenstein Narrative History – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Friedman Co-Authors Frankenstein Narrative History

In “Monstrous Progeny: A History of the Frankenstein Narratives,” Professor of Media and Society Les Friedman and Professor of History Allison Kavey (City College of New York) trace the Frankenstein narrative from Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel through its many adaptations to explore its enduring appeal across genres and eras.

In “Monstrous Progeny,” which will be published in June by Rutgers University Press, Friedman and Kavey examine the tale’s adaptability and resilience, including the “pre-history” of the Frankenstein novel, showing what works influenced Shelley’s writings, and modern formulations embodied in films about cyborgs and robots. In doing so, they demonstrate the influence of Victor Frankenstein and his monster on current debates surrounding bioethics, artificial intelligence, and the limits of scientific progress. 

“Written in a most accessible style even as it presents a complicated history and series of analyses, ‘Monstrous Progeny’ combines discussion of the original “Frankenstein,” with issues of adaptation in theater, literature, cinema, and other media,” writes Rick Worland, film scholar and author of “The Horror Film: An Introduction.”

Film critic and Professor of Cinema at Virginia Tech Stephen Prince calls “Monstrous Progeny” a “lively and exciting analysis of the Frankenstein narratives, as found throughout literature, film, and cultural history, has an epic scope and depth. A tremendously impressive accomplishment.”

A former chair of the Media and Society Program, Friedman joined the HWS faculty in 2005, having previously taught at Syracuse University, Upstate Medical Center and Northwestern University. He earned his Ph.D. and master’s degree from Syracuse University and his bachelor’s degree from Alfred University. He is the editor of “Fires Were Started” and “Cultural Sutures: Medicine and Media” and the author of “Citizen Spielberg,” “American Cinema of the 1970s” and the forthcoming “Tough Ain’t Enough: The Films of Clint Eastwood.”

Kavey is an associate professor of early modern history and chair of the History Department at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the CUNY Graduate Center in New York, N.Y. She is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books including “Second Star to the Right: Peter Pan in the Cultural Imagination,” co-edited with Friedman.

The photo illustration above was created by HWS student photographers John Pallera ’17 and Kristine Vann ’18.