Frankenstein novel celebrates 200 years

NEW YORK • Here are the nuts and bolts - Victor Frankenstein's creation from all those years ago is still a monster presence.

Take the case of Guillermo del Toro who, during his victory lap this year for The Shape Of Water which won Best Picture and Best Director Oscars, thanked a teenager who had been dead for more than 150 years.

He was talking about Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein.

Adapting the 1818 novel - begun when she was only 18 - has long been a dream project for del Toro, who has called Frankenstein's nameless creation "the most beautiful and moving" of all monsters.

"So many times, when I want to give up, when I think about giving up," the director said on stage at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards in February, "I think of her."

"She gave voice to the voiceless and presence to the invisible," he continued, "and showed me that sometimes to talk about monsters, we need to fabricate monsters of our own."

The world will have to wait for del Toro's version, but this is Frankenstein's year. The novel's 200th anniversary has inspired a cavalcade of exhibitions, performances and events around the world.

"The story touches on the most basic part of what it means to be an embodied human creature," said Ms Elizabeth Campbell Denlinger, co-curator of an exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum in Manhattan.

"It leaves us asking: 'Am I a monster too?'"


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2018, with the headline 'Frankenstein novel celebrates 200 years'. Print Edition | Subscribe