International Symposium of the Inklings-Society
Ingolstadt, 28th – 29th September 2018
The year 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of a novel that has had a lasting impact on literary fantasy, but also on thinking about ethics and science. The fact that Mary Shelley thought of more than a mere scary story when she anonymously published her novel Frankenstein in 1818 is illustrated by the alternative title: The Modern Prometheus. By referring to the ancient myth of Prometheus, it implies the relationship between creator and creature. One of Shelley’s fundamental literary innovations is to tell the story from the creature’s own point of view over substantial parts of the book. Coming into existence, Frankenstein’s creature at first desires nothing more than to be accepted as a human being in the community of humans. He becomes a danger, because even his own creator refuses to acknowledge him. Shelley deals with an existential question that can be extended from Frankenstein’s fictional laboratory in Ingolstadt to the phantasms and the real sceneries of contemporary history. If This Is a Man one might ask with the title of Primo Levi’s autobiographical report. Is fictional Frankenstein a myth standing for imagination creating monsters and then being afraid of them?
For our conference we are looking for contributions that deal with Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, its adaptations to the present day, and their potential as a model of interpretation for the modern age. The organizers encourage comparative studies that may – among others – reflect upon following topics:
- Battlegrounds: Shelley and Frankenstein between revolution and restoration
- Gods: literary perspectives on and of creators and creatures
- Enlightenment at its limits: abysses between sensibility, rationality and horror
- Poles and laboratories: Topographies of progress between the slaughterhouse and the permafrost
- Vivisections: Interpretations of the Frankenstein parable in later adaptations
- The Last Man: Images of the future between zombie and superhuman
The symposium will take place on September 28 and 29 2018 at the very place where Frankenstein – if he had existed – would have attended his anatomical and medical studies in Ingolstadt around 1800. The building complex now houses the German Medical History Museum.
A limited number of travel allowances might be available for successful applicants. Lectures should not exceed 25 minutes. Conference languages are English or German. Contributions will be published in the next issue of the Inklings Yearbook for Literature and Aesthetics.
Please send your abstract of up to 500 words and a short CV until Thursday 15 February 2018. Entries should be submitted to:
Inklings Society for Literature and Aesthetics
c/o Prof. Dr. Karl R. Kegler