2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The novel remains a staple on high school reading lists, while Hollywood versions of this timeless tale have made Frankenstein an icon of modern culture.
To mark this literary milestone, the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America is hosting a special exhibit and panel discussion about the enduring legacy of Frankenstein during the 51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair in Pasadena. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to view a true first edition of Frankenstein alongside reinterpretations of the work, which will be on loan from Occidental College and the University of California, Riverside.
In anticipation of this event, here are a few things about the novel you might not know:
- Frankenstein is the name of the scientist, not the monster. Victor Frankenstein created the monster, who is referred to as "creature," "it," and "demon" in Mary Shelley's novel. She never gave the monster a name.
- There is no Igor, or any hunchback assistant at all, in Mary Shelley's novel. In fact, Dr. Frankenstein preferred to work alone.
- Mary Shelley was not listed as the author when the first edition was published in 1818. She was just 20 years old when the novel was published and a woman! She was not listed as the author until a new version appeared in 1831. In fact, many people at the time believed it was written by her husband, the poet Percy Shelley.
- Frankenstein is widely considered the first fully realized science fiction novel. In his history of the genre, Trillion Year Spree, author Brian W. Aldiss cited Frankenstein as the first work of actual science fiction and Mary Shelley as the mother of the entire genre.
- The monster is not a green giant with bolts protruding from its neck. Shelley describes the creature as having flowing hair, yellow, almost-translucent skin, glowing eyes, and black lips. Most popular ideas of the monster are inspired by James Whale’s 1931 film starring Boris Karloff.
Learn more about Frankenstein and other masterpieces of world literature at the 51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair, which is being held at the Pasadena Convention Center, 300 East Green Street, in Pasadena. Opening night tickets are $25 and are good for the entire weekend, while Saturday and Sunday passes are $15. Book fair hours are Friday, February 9, 2018 • 3 pm to 8 pm; Saturday, February 10, 2018 • 11 am to 7 pm and Sunday, February 11, 2018 • 11 am to 5 pm.