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UAlbany Libraries Host Frankenstein Scholar
Betty Bennett, Mary Shelley Expert, to speak on February 10

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 4, 2005) - Betty Bennett, Distinguished Professor of English at American University, will present "Unmasking Monsters: Politics, Science, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2005, 4-6 p.m., in the Standish Room of the New Library, University at Albany uptown campus. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Bennett is the lead speaker for the University Libraries' semester-long program, "What Is 'Nature' in the 21 st Century?" a series of lectures, panel discussions, and films that amplify Shelley's themes. Bennett's talk will offer fresh perspectives on aspects of Frankenstein that are presented in the exhibit, "Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature," now open in the Atrium of UAlbany's New Library through Feb. 18.

Frankenstein has generated many artistic responses, including literature, plays, and films. For nearly two centuries, Mary Shelley's compelling account of medical student Victor Frankenstein and the living monster he created in his laboratory has gripped imaginations.

Since its appearance in 1881, the Frankenstein story has also been a symbol for public fears about dazzling new scientific techniques and research which often challenge our understanding of what is "natural" and what it means to be "human." The story of Frankenstein is frequently mentioned in the media when such issues as cloning, organ transplants, or genetically modified foods are discussed. Bennett's talk will focus on this rich tapestry of response to Shelley's book

Bennett, who has published widely on English and European Romanticism and Gothic Literature, is a Distinguished Professor of Literature at American University. She has held teaching and administrative positions at American University, SUNY-Stony Brook, and the Pratt Institute. She was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at American University from 1985-1987, and has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). She is a consultant for the traveling exhibit, "Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature."

Co-sponsors and participants include Albany's University Libraries, the University Art Museum, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Science Library Colloquia, the Friends of the Libraries, the New York State Writers Institute, Women's Studies, the Institute for Research on Women, the Center for Humanities and TechnoScience, the Department of English, the Program in Journalism, and the School of Information Science and Policy. All events are free and open to the public.

The National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Md., and the American Library Association, Chicago, Il, organized the traveling exhibition with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Library of Medicine. Contact Colleen McAllister for updated information about the semester-long programming at (518-442-3552 or or visit our Website.

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