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BW celebrates 'Frankenstein' as the electrifying tale turns 200

Frankenstein Festival banners at Baldwin Wallace University's Ritter Library

An Instagram-worthy vignette, featuring Dr. Frankenstein’s monster in his “reading room,” is part of an exhibit in BW’s Ritter library during the Frankenstein Festival."It's alive!," so to speak, as Baldwin Wallace University's Ritter Library, in collaboration with community organizatons, presents "Frankenstein: 200 Years," an all-inclusive Frankenstein Festival celebrating the power of the horrifying monster tale born 200 years ago.

Created in the English author Mary Shelley's most famous story, "Frankenstein," the renowned monster emerged into the literary world and not only redefined the horror genre, but also created the cultural phenomenon we know as Frankenstein.

From a myriad of famous films to the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" to the "Monster Mash," Shelley's premiere novel published in 1818 has maintained its place in society, becoming a pop culture symbol, and sparking conversations on morality, religion and science too.

"Frankenstein: 200 Years" fittingly lasts through Halloween with explorations of the modern monster story and its lasting impacts.

Bringing Frankenstein to Life at BW

A life-sized display for BW’s Frankenstein Festival is quickly taking shape in Berea-Midpark High School’s one-of-a-kind viTo bring the festival's main man to life, BW collaborated with Berea-Midpark High School's impressive visual effects and design program to create a replica of the fantastical monster.

Berea-Midpark teacher James Bycznski and his high school students are familiar with constructing and designing all sorts of creatures in their TitanFX art program, which has received recognition for collaboration with local theaters, independent filmmakers, businesses, schools and the award-winning 2006 film "Crops."

Manuscripts of Mary Shelley's provocative work are also on display.The festivities at Ritter Library include a display that includes a vignette of the infamous monster sitting down to read his very own story.

In addition, the library exhibit features a special illustrated edition of "Frankenstein," original artwork on display and a copy of the original handwritten manuscript from 1818.

Boris Karloff films, lectures and more

Frankenstein Festival cinema artifacts on display in Ritter LibraryFrom there, the festival invites audiences to step back into the legend as they watch the Boris Karloff film adaptions "Frankenstein" and "The Bride of Frankenstein" complete with tiki torch and fog effect

In addition to the screenings, BW faculty members from a variety of departments have prepared a series of lectures that cover all things "Frankenstein" from a detailed analysis of the film's music score to representations of "Frankenstein" in modern media to how a volcanic eruption resulted in the creation of the novel to the ethics and chemistry within. The wide range of weekly lectures comes together to show the impact the creation of this monster has had and continues to have.

Community collaboration and read-a-thon

But BW isn't the only one participating. The Cuyahoga County Public Library-Berea Branch will host a book discussion featuring the Largely Literature Theater Company, who will host a visually-aided and interactive presentation on the universal nature of monsters within the realm of Hollywood, as well as a special book signing from American horror writer Mark Dawidziak.

To finish out the monstrous stretch of festivities, BW will host a "Frankenstein" read-a-thon, aiming to read the entire novel over the course of eight hours!

Full festival schedule

To find out more about the Frankenstein Festival events and how to participate, visit

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