On Friday, December 14, Marymount’s English 2 Honors class took part in The Huntington Library’s day of scholarship, information and fun revolving around the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus.
Upon arriving, students were greeted by Dr. Amanda Hernandez, the Huntington’s School Partnerships Manager and her staff members, dressed in lab coats, ready to lead the girls on a high-speed tour connecting Frankenstein within the library’s extensive holdings. Students viewed late 18th and early 19th century science and medical texts which influenced Shelley and saw a first edition of the novel. Additionally, Marymount girls worked with various art media to interpret quotations from the novel, using 19th century style pens and ink pots to practice calligraphy.
After lunch, students heard from various scholars about the continuing relevance of the novel, including Dr. Kevin Gilmartin, Dean Undergraduate Studies at Cal Tech, Dr. Joel Klein, the Huntington’s Molina Curator for the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, and Louise Hindle, Associate Director for School Programs and Partnerships.
Sophia P. ’21 particularly enjoyed the lecture by Dr. Joel Klein, saying, “The lecture by Dr. Joel Klein was especially interesting because he discussed genetic engineering in present day and how it could evolve into a similar situation as the one involving Frankenstein and the creature in the novel.”
The highlight of the day was a lecture on the feminist voice in Frankenstein by America’s preeminent Mary Shelley scholar, Dr. Ann Mellor, Distinguished Professor of English and Women’s Studies at UCLA. Marymount’s students were the only tenth graders (and the only all-female institution) invited to participate in the “Deep Dive Learning Experience;” all the other students were twelfth graders.
Jane C. ’21 shared, “I absolutely loved being able to go to the Huntington. Getting the opportunity to listen to Dr. Anne Mellor and have a conversation with her about her book after the lecture showed me how far my education can take me in the real world.”
Erica P. ’21 said, “I was so grateful for our opportunity to go to the Huntington. Listening to other prevalent scholars and experts of Frankenstein truly made me realize the crucial and necessary impact the novel has, even 200 years after it was written.”
Sophomore Brynn C. shared Erica’s sentiments saying, “Going to the Huntington for the Frankenstein seminar was truly a wonderful and intriguing experience for our class. Traveling together through the gardens and finding themes from the novel all around us made me realize that the novel will always be with me because it is present in so many facets of my life.”
Julia K. ‘21 said, “This trip taught us to be better readers and challenge what we know, looking past what is written on the pages of a book.”