Exactly 200 years ago, in 1818, Mary Shelly’s iconic Promethean creature was brought to life when her novel was first published.
In celebration of the 200 anniversary of “Frankenstein” being published, Winona State University is hosting a variety of events throughout January and February.
The events began Jan. 24 at 8 a.m. in WSU’s Science Laboratory Center atrium with a live reading of the entire 1818 edition of the novel.
The nearly eight-hour event hosted a constant influx of audience members, ranging from none to double digits at different times.
According to Dunbar, althogether there were an estimated 75 to 100 attendees.
The live reading was the brainchild of Ann-Marie Dunbar, an associate professor of the English department and director of the events.
“The bicentenary of Frankenstein’s publication gives us a great opportunity to celebrate one of the most original and fascinating novels written in English,” Dunbar said. “A novel that is just as relevant today as it was in 1818.”
The reading featured most of the University’s English department faculty, including Paul Johnson, an English and Film Studies professor.
Johnson performed the first few chapters of volume two with enthusiasm, creating voices for the characters, making the event that much more noticeable for the students passing through the atrium, many of whom stopped for a moment to listen.
Johnson is the planner of the film series that is a part of the “Frankenstein celebration” at WSU.
The film series began off on Monday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Miller Auditorium at WSU with a double feature of the 1931 film “Frankenstein” and it’s 1935 sequel “The Bride of Frankenstein.”
“For those of us who love the novel and love the tale and love Mary Shelly’s composition of it,” Johnson said, “simply being able to bring that to life for a day is a really rich source of enjoyment for us.”
The film series is the most expensive of the events, costing between $1,600 -$1,800 for public performance rights according to Johnson.
According to Dunbar, the English, Art, Mass Communication, and the University Theme committee are all sponsors working for and donating to the project.
The double feature began with an audience of about 75, most of which were students attending for class.
After an intermission between the films the audience decreased to about 25.
Brittney Bluhm, an English and Film student at the university attended both features having read the book recently but never seeing the films.
Bluhm said that she liked the venue, but especially enjoyed watching the films together.
“I think that we could have had the five-minute intermission quicker. It was more like a 10 to 15-minute intermission,” Bluhm said.
Zachary Zaboj, an independent studies student who attended for class said he was surprised at how much was changed from the book to the films.
Johnson said he thought the first few events went well, the audience sizes being more than satisfactory.
Frankenfest will continued Feb. 19 with the next film in the series, “Young Frankenstein,” at 7 p.m. in WSU’s Miller Auditorium.