Frankenstein and its legacy

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Tuesday 23 January

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Credit: Public Domain


Standard £16


Concession £10


Ri Members and Ri Patrons £7

Event description

Frankenstein is still relevant today as it was 200 years ago, and Shelley's creature lives on, as an embodiment of society's anxieties about where science is taking us. Join Philip Ball and a panel of experts as they discuss the context in which the book was written and how the tale has become a popular myth with a life of its own, independent of Shelley's original text.

About the speakers

Philip Ball  is a science writer, writing regularly for Nature and having contributed to publications ranging from New Scientist to the New York Times.

He is the author of many popular books on science, including works on the nature of water, pattern formation in the natural world, colour in art, and the cognition of music.

He has also broadcast on many occasions on radio and TV.

Miranda Seymour is a leading biographer and critic whose definitive life of Mary Shelley (2000) examined the sources of Frankenstein in depth. She has also written an introduction to the Folio Frankenstein (2015).

In March 2018, her most recent biography will be published by Simon & Schuster. In Byron’s Wake: The Turbulent Lives of Lord Byron’s Wife and Daughter, Annabella Milbanke and Ada Lovelace looks at the scientific world in which both Ada Lovelace and Mary Shelley lived, although it is unclear whether the two women ever met.

Frank James is Professor of the History of Science and Head of Collections at the Royal Institution. His main research has been editing the Correspondence of Michael Faraday which is now complete in six volumes.

He is currently writing a book on Humphry Davy’s practical work, having always had a strong interest in the relations of science with other areas of society and culture

Angela Wright is Professor of Romantic Literature in the School of English at the University of Sheffield. She is a former co-President of the International Gothic Association (2013-17).

Mary Shelley, which was published in January 2018 by the University of Wales Press, is her fifth book. In this, Angela Wright examines closely the 1818 and 1831 editions of Frankenstein, as well as looking closely at some of the other major works that Mary Shelley published between the two editions of Frankenstein.


The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm. There will be time for questions after the talk.

Latecomers will be admitted to the gallery.

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