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UAlbany Libraries Host "Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature"

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 14, 2005) - For nearly two centuries, Mary Shelley's account of medical student Victor Frankenstein and the living monster he created in his laboratory has gripped imaginations. "Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature," on exhibit now through Feb. 18 in the Atrium of the New Library on the University's uptown campus, demonstrates how playwrights, filmmakers, and the media have transformed Shelley's saga into one of the Western world's most enduring myths. The tale of a researcher's abuse of his power and failure to take responsibility for the being he created is a compelling story of ambition, idealism, revenge, and forgiveness.

The exhibit is the lead-off program in the University's semester-long "What Is 'Nature' in the 21st Century?" series.

Since its appearance in 1881, the Frankenstein story has also been a symbol for public fears about dazzling new scientific techniques and research that often challenge our understanding of what is "natural" and what it means to be human. The story of Frankenstein is often mentioned in the media when such issues as cloning, organ transplants, or genetically modified foods are discussed.

"What Is 'Nature' in the 21st Century?" is a series of programs, panel discussions, and films that amplify Shelley's themes, including a Jan. 28 showing of "The Golem," which influenced James Whale's 1931 classic "Frankenstein" with Boris Karloff, and the March 10 lecture "Choosing Our Children's Genes," with UAlbany philosopher and bioethicist Bonnie Steinbock. Co-sponsors and participants include UAlbany'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 Center for Humanities and TechnoScience, the Department of English, the Journalism program, and the School of Information Science and Policy. All events are free and open to the public. For information and a complete schedule, visit or contact Colleen McAllister (518-442-3552 or

The National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Md., and the American Library Association, of Chicago, Il., organized the traveling exhibition with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Library of Medicine.

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