Gateway: Living

‘Frankenstein’ comes to the Gig Harbor library with Humanities Washington lecturer

Lance Rhoades is a Seattle scholar and world-wide lecturer on Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein.’
Lance Rhoades is a Seattle scholar and world-wide lecturer on Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein.’ Courtesy

Just in time for Halloween, the Gothic classic “Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus” by Mary Shelley will make an appearance at the Gig Harbor Pierce County Library.

Lance Rhoades, a Seattle scholar and speaker with Humanities Washington, will present “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Anatomy of a Masterpiece” at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28.

Rhoades’ discussion will explore the historical context of the book, its influence in popular culture and the enduring relevancy in our society.

“(It’s) a book that has quite a legacy. It has permeated popular culture in a way not matched by many others,” Rhoades said. “(It has) huge cultural relevance. It may be the most important book of the modern era.”

According to Rhoades, the themes inherent in Shelley’s text continue to remain relevant in discussions surrounding modern politics, advancements in technology and medicine and current human rights issues.

Rhoades will cover many of these themes in his discussion, including the historical context of the book, how popular culture accepted and adapted the text and the political arguments surrounding “Frankenstein.”

The evening will begin with an overview of the text, followed by a discussion of the book and end with a question and answer session and open discussion with Rhoades.

The discussion will feature multimedia examples including movie stills and clips and historical paintings as well.

Reading “Frankenstein” prior to attending the lecture is not required, as the discussion is designed for anyone interested.

“If you haven’t read the book, (the discussion) will hopefully be the impetus to pick up the book for the first time,” Rhoades said.

For Terri May, an adult services librarian, Shelley’s book was far better than any of the movie adaptations she’d experienced.

“It’s wonderful. Totally different than the movies. Much better,” said May, who booked the Humanities Washington program at the library.

Rhoades is currently traveling around the world giving his discussion about “Frankenstein,” as well as participating with Humanities Washington for the past three years.

“It’s a tremendous organization,” he said of the nonprofit. “I can’t say enough about the terrific work they’re doing.”

May agrees: “Their talks are great. They could read the phone book and make it interesting, they’re so well researched.”

Humanities Washington is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing cultural education in the humanities through a variety of different programs and experiences.

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4125


The “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Anatomy of a Masterpiece” discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Gig Harbor Pierce County Library, 4424 Point Fosdick Drive NW.