An Lecture by Andrew Smith
This illustrated lecture provides an overview of Mary Shelley’s relationship to some of the radical ideas of her time. She was the daughter of the radical political philosopher William Godwin and the pioneering feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft. Married to Percy Shelley, and friendly with Lord Byron, her political beliefs shaped the representation of social injustice in Frankenstein. Her interest in Galvanism, which suggested that the dead might be temporarily reanimated by electrical forces plays a key role in her novel and was controversial at the time as it implied that life might be generated through scientific experimentation, an idea which offended many in the Church.
Please come along if you want to know about Mary’s life and times and how scientific ideas of the period influenced Frankenstein. You will also find out why Victor Frankenstein visited Matlock Bath.
Andrew Smith is Professor of Nineteenth-Century English Literature at the University of Sheffield where he co-directs The Centre for the History of the Gothic. He is the author or editor of over 20 books including The Cambridge Companion to Frankenstein. He is a past President of the International Gothic Association and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, the Royal Historical Society, and the English Association.