This event is SOLD OUT.
Please note this session ends at 5.00pm not 4.30pm as advised in the print program.
In this literary lecture styled after PT Barnum, Dr Michael Kitson and Tony Thompson, author of Summer of Monsters, celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s waking nightmare as it occurred in the Villa Diodati in 1816 – the night that Frankenstein was conceived.
Two hundred years ago, two things happened that would change the course of history – first, the world experienced drastic fallout from a volcanic eruption in Sulawesi, Indonesia, that led to a bleak winter in the southern hemisphere and ‘the summer that never was’ in the north. Second, in June 1816, Mary Godwin – the girl who would become famous as Mary Shelley – had a waking dream more terrifying than any ghost story: Mary envisioned a pale and feverish medical student who had patched together a monstrous corpse out of the criminal dead and bestowed upon it ‘the spark of life’.
And while the terror of Mary’s vision has been diluted by two hundred years of popular culture, very few have read this extraordinary novel, and one that explores what it is to be human, what might make a monster human and a human monstrous, the role of literature and love in education, and what the creator owes the creation. Literally born a child of the Romantic Age Mary Godwin, at just seventeen – the daughter of two foremost philosophers of the eighteenth century – eloped with the raffish and already-married, Romantic poet PB Shelley, then fell into company with “the mad, bad and dangerous to know” Lord Byron, and through a thunderstruck week in an Italian villa on the shores of Lake Geneva, Mary became the mother of modern science fiction, later publishing Frankenstein at just nineteen.
This dark and gloomy afternoon of Sunday June the 19, 2016, Dr Michael Kitson and Tony Thompson, author of the young adult novel Summer of Monsters, will celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of Mary Shelley’s waking nightmare as it occurred in the Villa Diodati on or around the 16 June, 1816. Dr Michael Kitson will deliver a talk on the events that surrounded the making of the novel Frankenstein, and Tony Thompson will read from and discuss the research and writing of his young adult novelisation of just these events in Summer of Monsters.