Halloween fun

17 October 2018

Frankentein's monster

Cardiff University is opening its doors to celebrate the bicentenary of Mary Shelley’s immortal gothic novel Frankenstein with a series of spooktacular events ahead of Halloween.

Cardiff Frankenfest is a collection of four free events taking place in the ten days running up to Halloween 2018, 200 years after the ground-breaking novel was published.

In A Stormy Night of Ghost-Telling: Fantasmagoriana and the Villa Diodati, Dr Maximiliaan van Woudenberg (University of Cambridge) explores the ghost stories which in part inspired Frankenstein in the summer of 1817 as they were read by the Shelley’s and Byron in Switzerland. Co-organised with the Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, the Stormy Night of Ghost-Telling takes place on Monday 22 October (Special Collections, 5.30pm–7pm).

Fresh interdisciplinary approaches to one of the world’s most famous gothic novels are explored in Of What A Strange Nature Is Knowledge. Cardiff University researchers Dr James Castell (English), Barbara Hughes-Moore (Law) and Professor Keir Waddington (History) will investigate the novel through the lenses of environmental humanities, law and literature, and the history of medicine in turn on Wednesday 24 October (Special Collections, 5pm–7pm).

Also part of the 2018 Cardiff BookTalk season, Mary Shelley Night will feature a screening of the biopic with lively discussion about its depiction of the life and loves of the author. Dr Anna Mercer (Cardiff University/Keats House), whose work has made her intimately familiar with the Shelley family manuscripts, will share her responses to Haifaa al-Mansoor's 2017 film at the special event on Monday 29 October (Optometry, 6–9pm).

On Halloween itself, celebrations start early with favourite Frankenstein readings and a specially devised FrankenQuiz at My Hideous Progeny. Participants are invited to read and discuss their favourite passages before taking part in a Frankenstein-trivia quiz. Monstrous prizes will be awarded for the winning team. This concluding Cardiff FrankenFest event takes place on Wednesday 31 Oct (Special Collections, 4–7pm). Advance information about submitting readings is available by contacting the organisers.  

The series is part of the Frankenreads initiative—an international celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for Halloween 2018 organized by the Keats–Shelley Association of America and supported by over 400 partners.

Curating the series, Professor of Print and Digital Cultures in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Anthony Mandal said: “From the screening of the 2017 biopic Mary Shelley to Halloween readings and our horrible FrankenQuiz, we hope the Cardiff Frankenfest will offer unique and exciting opportunities to explore the gothic novel that played a formative role for the science fiction genre, and to better understand the genius of its author at her debut. In putting this programme of events together, we’ve tried to combine ground-breaking new research with some light-hearted entertainment, reflecting Frankenstein’s enduring popularity among researchers and fans alike.”

This latest event follows on from a recent international conference in Bologna, co-organised by Cardiff University and the Open University, which brought together leading international and emerging scholars in gothic and romantic studies.

Cardiff FrankenFest is made possible through a collaboration between the Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century Seminar, the University’s Special Collections and Archives and other partners. Advance booking is recommended.

Our collections range from 15th century incunabula to modern research and digital content.