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Happy Frankenstein Day?

September 3, 2021
Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster 

August 30th, apparently, is “Frankenstein Day.” No, it isn’t a national holiday. In the U.S. that would require a Presidential proclamation or an act of Congress. However according to holidayinsights.com in 1997  Ron MacCloskey from Westfield, New Jersey started naming someone “who has made a significant contribution to the promotion of Frankenstein” and awarding them “The Franky” on the last Friday of October, presumably given its proximity to Halloween. The reason August 30th is heralded as Frankenstein Day is because it is the anniversary date for the birthday of the writer Mary Shelley, the author of The Modern Prometheus, better known as Frankenstein.

While Mr. MacCloskey’s intent was to have a day, or rather a night for partying in celebration of the monster, the literati have transformed it into a cultural celebration of the author and her most famous work. A book which has been adapted and referenced in countless other books, movies, plays, and television shows, from parodies like Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” to the serious and thought-provoking opera which premiered in 2019.

Without knowing if “The Franky” is still a thing, in honor of Frankenstein Day I would like to nominate two Digital Humanities projects. First let me say both are listed in the Catalogue of Digital Editions, which gathers “digital editions and texts in an attempt to survey and identify best practice in the field of digital scholarly editing.”

Portrait of Mary Shelley
(1797-1851)

The one is an XML-TEI project at the University of Maryland completed in 2009. According to the catalogue’s philological statement, “Frankenstein” provides: “Complete information on the source of the text, the author, date and accuracy of the digital edition, as well as Digital Humanities standards implemented.” The other is “Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus” which claims to be “The Pennsylvania Electronic Edition” edited by a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and keyed with the help of many others. It has various editions of the novel and critical scholarly aids for the study of it. Both are Open Access resources which give one insight into the text and its author.

Happy Birthday, Mary Shelley!

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 3, 2021 11:58 pm

    Who knew??? Thanks for sharing!

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