Seminar Series

Our mind is an abyss which delights in depths profound…
We love mystery, under whatever form it comes.
— Honoré de Balzac

Mary Shelley's Frakenstein

Civilizing the Monster: Romantic Longings in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s classic 1818 novel began as a late-night parlor game with her husband, the poet Percy Shelley, her stepsister Claire Clairmont, the poet Lord Byron, and Byron’s doctor John Polidori, centering on who could write the best horror tale. Since then, Shelley’s novel has been adapted to stage and film and has generated innumerable interpretations. The story of the scientist Victor Frankenstein and his ill-conceived effort to create a human-like monster has been read as a parable of science gone awry, a critique of Romanticism, a contribution to the tradition of “female gothic,” an autobiographical narrative of tormented creation (Mary’s mother Mary Wollstonecraft died giving birth to Mary), a Miltonic tale of “God-like” man, and as an allegory of overreaching industrial ambition.  Mary Shelley’s mythic text will be discussed through its many interpretations and its distinct language and style, addressing its repercussion on several disciplines. Dreamlike and nightmarish scenarios, represented in works by Romantic composers from Schubert to Strauss, will be examined in connection with similar literary techniques in Frankenstein and in reference to the several attempts by the Creature to humanize and civilize himself.

Prof. Nancy Yousef, Professor of English at The Graduate Center and Baruch College, CUNY                                                                  James Melo, ERC Musicologist and Senior Editor at RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, CUNY Graduate Center

Friday December 8th, 2017 at 5:30 pm
At The CUNY Graduate Center 365 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10016
Free Admission

Sponsored by the Barry Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation. 


About our Seminar Series

With each concert production ERC hosts a seminar. This series of seminars at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), in partnership with the Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation, fulfills one of the founding principles of ERC: merging performance and musicological research in order to enrich the musical experience of the listener through a variety of interdisciplinary discussions. Each seminar centers on a discussion of music in relation to an extra-musical context (literature, philosophy, visual arts, cinema, and others) that is pertinent to the parallel ERC theatrical concert. Scholars from a wide range of disciplines are invited to participate in the seminars, offering the audience an opportunity to engage in intriguing, illuminating, and aesthetically revealing perspectives about the subject matter.

The seminars are free to the public and are held one to two weeks before the concerts.