As the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein approaches, Professor Emeritus of Media and Society Les Friedman discussed Mary Shelley and her most famous creation in a conversation on National Public Radio’s Northern California affiliate KQED.
Friedman, who coauthored the 2016 book Monstrous Progeny: A History of Frankenstein Narrative, joined a panel of experts on the June 14 episode of the KQED program “Forum” to explore the legacy of the author, the novel and the creature in literature, film and science.
In Monstrous Progeny, Friedman and his co-author – Allison Kavey, an associate professor at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the CUNY Graduate Center – trace the origins and antecedents of the Frankenstein story, discuss the novel itself, and progress through its many media adaptations and cultural extensions to explore the narrative’s enduring appeal across genres and eras.
In 2016, Friedman was invited to become one of 25 visiting international scholars at the “Frankenstein’s Shadow Symposium” in Geneva, Switzerland. There, in nearly the precise place where Shelley initially conceived the idea for Frankenstein, the symposium commemorated the origin of the novel and assessed its influence in different times and cultures, particularly its resonance in debates about public policy governing biotechnology and medicine.
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, American Cinema of the 1970s, and Tough Ain’t Enough: The Films of Clint Eastwood, and the author of Citizen Spielberg.