Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Turns 200
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It's Still Alive! ‘Frankenstein’ Turns 200

Lorie Parch

The creature brought to life by Dr. Victor Frankenstein is as relevant now as when Mary Shelley created him in 1818. 

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Turns 200

​Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the author of "Frankenstein," was born in 1797 and died in 1851. She wrote other books, but none have been as perennially popular as her first novel, published in 1818. counts dozens of films based on Shelley's monster, including "Bride of Frankenstein" (1935), shown here.


​​He's alive! Two centuries on, the monster brought to life by Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley's novel is still very much alive. Even more so this year, which marks 200 years since the publication of "Frankenstein" on January 1, 1818.

First published anonymously in London as "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus," the author was just 20 when the work appeared. Even after two centuries, Shelley's work remains one of the best-selling Gothic novels of all time, by one measure, only exceeded in sales by "Jane Eyre," "Dracula" and "Wuthering Heights."

Campuses around the CSU are taking the opportunity of "Frankenstein"'s bicentennial to celebrate Shelley and the universality and relevance of her best-known novel. 

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo: Frankenfall

Cal Poly SLO will host a marathon reading of "Frankenstein," starting at 8 a.m. on Halloween. Come hear the masterpiece of Gothic fiction read by 125 students, along with faculty and staff, at the Kennedy Library, 2nd floor Exhibit Commons. Students, faculty, staff and the public can also attend a November 14 screening of the UK National Theatre Live's "Frankenstein" in the Chumash Auditorium at 6 p.m.; and on December 6 Gillen D'Arcy Wood will give a talk entitled "Frankenstein and Climate Change." All events are free and open to the public.   

CSU Fullerton: The Frankenstein Meme

This new program series debuts on October 27 and runs through Halloween. Events include a talk on Mary Shelley's literary influence; readings; a writing workshop; and other lectures. On October 31, the entirety of "Frankenstein" will be read aloud by guest readers, including CSUF president Fram Virjee. The series will be held in conjunction with the Frankenstein Meme exhibit located in the Salz-Pollak Atrium Gallery of the Pollak Library on the CSU Fullerton campus. The exhibit will remain on display until December 2018. 

CSU Northridge: Frankenweek

CSUN's Frankenweek kicks off on October 29 with "Suturing Sentences: an interactive event stitching together sentences from Frankenstein," at the Oviatt Library Lobby from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. On October 31, an all-day read-a-thon of the novel starts at 9:30 a.m. at the library's ASRS Viewing Room. And you can join conversations about "Frankenstein" and other monsters on November 1 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Jack & Florence Ferman Presentation Room. All events are free. 

San Diego State: Frankenweek Celebration

On October 31, San Diego State's Love Library Room 430 will host a free screening of the 1931 film "Frankenstein" from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

San José State: 200 Years of Frankenstein

Organized at SJSU by associate professor of English Dr. Katherine D. Harris, this year-long celebration is part of a collaboration with Santa Clara University and the University of San Francisco. You can see physical and digital exhibits related to the book on all three campuses; listen to a live radio play on October 26 (the play will be re-aired on Halloween) at the Hammer Theatre in San Jose; or join in a live reading of the book at UCSF starting at 9 a.m. on October 31. If you prefer Edgar Allan Poe's brand of the macabre to Shelley's, on November 2, San José State will host its Annual Poe Fest starting at 7 p.m. at the Spartan Memorial.

To learn about other celebrations of the bicentennial of the publication of "Frankenstein" around Halloween 2018, visit