Monday, October 27, 2008

Speaking of the monster

I had a great afternoon last Friday, meeting with a few graduate students at the University of Virginia (mostly in English, one in Spanish) and showing them the high points of the Dome Room exhibit that features my collection of Frankensteiniana, hosted by the University of Virginia's Rare Book School and titled “The Monster Among Us.”

A University representative greeted us and said that after years of Rare Book School exhibits in the Dome Room, this is the first time that visitors have come to her to ask, “What is this and what is it doing in Mr. Jefferson's Rotunda?” We laughed, and talked about whether Thomas Jefferson might have read Frankenstein -- it's highly likely, but no evidence -- and I voiced my opinion of why it belongs: Because Mr. Jefferson was always an advocate of pushing the limits of knowledge, and that is what the myth of Frankenstein is all about. The official answer is that Rare Book School mounts Dome Room exhibition about the history of books, and this exhibit shows how one book has infused the culture of the world, influencing millions over almost 200 years.

“The Monster Among Us” will be in the University of Virginia's Rotunda Dome Room through the calendar year. Come see it if you can.

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