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College News

“Frankenstein Lives!” at St. John Fisher College


“Frankenstein Lives!” at St. John Fisher College

PITTSFORD, N.Y., October 23, 2007-Just in time for Halloween, St. John Fisher College will host "Frankenstein Lives! The Continuing Relevance of Mary Shelley's Novel," on Tuesday, October 30 from 12:30 to 9:00 p.m. Sponsored by the Health Humanities Committee of St. John Fisher College, the event is a multidisciplinary examination of Frankenstein relative to contemporary medical ethical issues. The event takes place in Cleary Family Auditorium on the Fisher campus and is free and open to the public.

Written almost 200 years ago, Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus is a story of a man obsessed with creating artificial life. Yet some basic themes of Mary Shelley's novel eerily echo today's discussions on fetal tissue research, artificial intelligence, life-extension, and human cloning. The "Frankenstein Lives!" event will present differing interpretations of the bioethical dimensions raised by the novel. There will also be panel discussions with medical doctors, philosophers, literary critics, and film scholars, as well as student presentations and screenings of films based upon the novel.

The full schedule is as follows:

12:30 - 1:35 p.m.
A showing of the 1931 classic film Frankenstein, directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff and Colin Clive.

1:45 - 2:45 p.m.
Stephanie Brown Clark, M.D., Division of Medical Humanities, University of Rochester Medical Center, presents "Frankenstein and Other Monstrosities: A Medical and Literary History of Congenital Malformations in 19th Century Britain and France."

3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Richard Demme, M.D., Department of Medicine and Humanities, and Chair of the University of Rochester Medical Center Ethics Committee, presents "If I Only Had a Heart: Transplantation Issues in Film: An Exploration of Issues of Body Snatching, Organ Theft, Cellular Memory, Face and Hand Transplants, and Other Transplantation Issues as Presented in Movies."

4:45 - 5:55 p.m.
Melissa Bloom, Ph.D., Department of English, St. John Fisher College, will lead a panel discussion on "Sympathy and Monsters in the College Research Paper," with Fisher students Yesenia Ortiz, Nathan Russell, Kristen Rajsky, Andrew Alba, John Schweichler, and Bridget Donnelly.

6:15 - 7:00 p.m.
Lisa Jadwin, Ph.D., Department of English, St. John Fisher College, presents "Mary Shelley's ‘Hideous Progeny': The Relationship Between Mary Shelley's Diaries About Her Four Pregnancies and Their Relationship to Victor Frankenstein's Monstrous ‘Paternity.'"

7:15 - 7:45 p.m.
Tim Madigan, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy, St. John Fisher College, presents "Defending Doctor Frankenstein: The Bioethical Implications of Victor Frankenstein's Experiments."

8:00 - 9:30 p.m.
A showing of the 1948 classic film Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Directed by Charles Barton and starring Abbott and Costello, the Frankenstein Monster, Dracula, the Wolfman, and the Invisible Man. This movie will be screened in Basil 135 on the Fisher campus.

Lavery Library has a special display of Frankenstein editions and memorabilia, which is up throughout the week of the event.
Funding for this event has been provided by the School of Arts and Sciences at St. John Fisher College, and the New York Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information, please contact Dr. Tim Madigan, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy, at (585) 415-5925 or

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