Visible Objects, Part 2

The Nord University library exhibition “Frankenversions: 200 Years of Adapting Frankenstein” has been underway for the last week, and I’m delighted to say that we have had a great deal of visits to our display. It’s become a bit of a local attraction, in fact, and several classes have made their way to see it as a group. One group, of working schoolteachers from various areas of our region who are getting additional English teaching certification, came as a part of their regularly scheduled seminar, but I don’t think they fully knew what to expect when they showed up in Bodø that morning (the experience of the delightfully random, of course, being at the very heart of teaching)…

(Photo courtesy of Patrick Murphy, Nord English Department Nesna)

We also had the pleasure of two first grade classes from our local elementary school, Mørkvedmarka skole, stopping by for a look at the Van der Graaff electricity generator and a taste of Franken Berry “breakfast cereal”. Dr. Ana Borissova was on hand to demonstrate the powerful forces that brought the creature to life.

I was also there, mainly just to say hello but also for an impromptu q&a. I was quite impressed by some of the questions these inquisitive six-year-olds threw at me, and one of them, “Why is he a monster?”, is still turning around in my mind, as it’s exactly the same question that today’s readers and scholars are left asking, 200 years after Mary Shelley first asked it in novelistic form. That a child who had never even heard of this text until that moment would so quickly think to ask one of its central questions speaks strongly to the universality of Frankenstein’s themes.

“Frankenversions” is on until November 1st, and the online exhibition “Fire and Ice: Frankenstein and the Arctic” will be available even longer, and is well worth a look, the icy Arctic winds making, perhaps, monsters of us all as the winter darkness approaches…

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