Professor of Media & Society Les Friedman’s new book, “Monstrous Progeny: A History of Frankenstein Narrative,” continues to garner media and academic interest, as it has since its publication this spring.
The New Statesman reviewed the book in September, calling it an “exhaustive discussion of the Frankenstein narrative” that wonders how far to “allow science to interfere in nature” and “shows how porous are the boundaries between comedy and fear.”
In August, Parade Magazine recommended “Monstrous Progeny” in the “Parade Preview: What to Watch, Rent or Buy Aug. 8 – Aug. 14,” writing that “behind [Frankenstein’s] familiar, frightening visage are some deep, dark roots. Lester D. Friedman and Allison B. Kavey’s fascinating Monstrous Progeny (Rutgers University Press) digs deep to uncover the many offshoots of the Frankenstein family tree…has now branched thorough all of pop culture, including children’s cartoons and even pornography.”
In “Monstrous Progeny,” Friedman and his co-author – Allison Kavey, 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 – trace the Frankenstein story from Shelley’s 1818 novel through its many adaptations to explore its enduring appeal across genres and eras.
This fall, Friedman will deliver lectures about Frankenstein at LeMoyne and Manhattanville colleges, as well as the Miller Bioethics lecture at his alma mater, Alfred University. During the summer, he spoke with Mark Lynch on WICN’s program “Inquiry” and Megan Mack on WXXI’s program “Connections,” where he will be a guest again later in September during a show focused on political movies.
Earlier this year, Friedman was one of 25 visiting international scholars at the “Frankenstein’s Shadow Symposium” in Geneva, Switzerland. There, in nearly the precise place where almost 200 years ago Mary Shelley initially conceived the idea for “Frankenstein,” the symposium commemorated the origin of Shelley’s novel and assessed its influence in different times and cultures, particularly its resonance in debates about public policy governing biotechnology and medicine.
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 both 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.”