Great works: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Course Dates: 14/11/24 - 28/11/24
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
Location: Keeley Street
This course explores Mary Shelley’s iconic novel, Frankenstein. We will consider the novel’s literary, socio-political, philosophical, and scientific contexts, alongside thinking about its narrative themes and techniques. We’ll also touch upon its rich ‘afterlife’, thinking about some of the ways the novel has been reimagined in later adaptations, and asking why this story continues to have such resonance today.
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Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £63.00 Concession £51.00

Great works: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
  • Course Code: HLT290
  • Dates: 14/11/24 - 28/11/24
  • Time: 10:30 - 12:30
  • Taught: Thu, Daytime
  • Duration: 3 sessions (over 3 weeks)
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Sophie Oxenham

Course Code: HLT290

Thu, day, 14 Nov - 28 Nov '24

Duration: 3 sessions (over 3 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Centre for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

The story of a creature constructed from the body parts of others, who then turns upon his creator, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (or ‘The Modern Prometheus’) asks questions about humanity and monstrosity, and the ethics of power and creativity, that still resonate with us today.

What will we cover?

This in-college course considers Mary Shelley’s life and literary circle, and the circumstances that gave rise to the writing of this novel. How did a teenager come to write such an enduring tale? What literary sources was she drawing upon? How does her work relate to the Gothic and Romantic literary traditions of the time?
We’ll explore the relationship between the novel and its socio-political, philosophical and scientific contexts, and we’ll draw upon a range of critical perspectives to help develop our understanding.
We’ll also touch upon the novel’s rich ‘afterlife’, thinking about some of the ways Frankenstein and his creature have been reimagined in later adaptations. Why does this story continue to fascinate us?

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Have an increased understanding and appreciation of Mary Shelley’s narrative techniques.

• Have an increased understanding and appreciation of the literary, socio-political, philosophical and scientific contexts of this novel, and how they may illuminate our understanding of it.

• Have an increased understanding of some critical perspectives on the novel.

• Have an increased understanding of some of the ways in which the novel has been reimagined in some later adaptations.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is open to all; you do not need to have prior knowledge to participate.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

A variety of teaching methods will be used, including brief tutor-led slide presentations and readings of short extracts, and you will be invited to take part in group discussion. A handout of extracts will be sent to you shortly before the course starts, and paper copies will be provided in class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You will need to have your own copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818 text). The Oxford World Classics edition is recommended but other editions are also fine as we will work from a handout of extracts in class. Please bring a pen and paper for notetaking.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

The tutor will also be teaching HLT188 Great works: George Eliot’s Middlemarch and HLT175 Great works: Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady; look up these and other courses under History, Culture and Writing/Literature at

Sophie Oxenham

Sophie has taught Literature, Performing Arts and Interdisciplinary Arts and Humanities for over twenty years, working for the Open University, Leeds University, and a range of Adult Learning Institutions before joining City Lit. Previously she freelanced as a theatre and opera director in community theatre and at English National Opera. She has an MA in Nineteenth Century English and American Literature, and a PhD in Early Modern Life Writing. She brings both experience and enthusiasm to her work with adult audiences.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.