Professor Emeritus of Media and Society Lester Friedman, co-author of a definitive text on Mary Shelley’s classic, “Frankenstein,” is celebrating Halloween by participating in a series of “monstrous” events at the University of Florida. The series, titled “What Makes a Monster,” will culminate in a Frankenstein-focused lecture by Friedman on Wednesday, Oct. 31.
Friedman and co-author Allison Kavey of City College of New York published “Monstrous Progeny: A History of the Frankenstein Narratives” in 2016. The book explored the enduring appeal of Shelley’s archetypal creature through its many adaptations and its influence on current debates surrounding bioethics, artificial intelligence and the limits of scientific progress.
Friedman, formerly chair of the Media and Society program, 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 degrees from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from Alfred University.
In 2016, Friedman was invited to become one of 25 visiting international scholars at the “Frankenstein’s Shadow Symposium” in Geneva, Switzerland, which commemorated the origin of the novel and assessed its influence on different times and cultures. There, in nearly the precise place where Shelley initially conceived the idea for Frankenstein, the symposium explored its resonance with modern-day issues such as those pertaining to the governing of biotechnology and medicine.
At University of Florida, Friedman will be involved in several events. On Oct. 30, he will introduce a screening of the classic film “The Bride of Frankenstein.” The following day he will present a lecture, “Creature Feature: The Universal and Hammer Frankenstein Films.” Universal and Hammer film studios produced several of the most well known Frankenstein-related movies, including the classic film featuring Boris Karloff as the monster, as well as “Son of Frankenstein” and “The Curse of Frankenstein.”
To round off the series, Friedman will participate in a public, daylong reading of Shelley’s “Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus,” which celebrates its 200 year anniversary this year. Details on all events can be found at the series webpage.
On Nov. 2, Friedman will also participate in a symposium at Smith College titled, “Creativity and the Creature: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at 200.” Friedman will share the stage with Devi Snively, the director of a 2017 remake of the film titled, “Bride of Frankie” for their joint-talk, “Frankenfilms from First to Latest.”