A noted literary scholar will give a talk on Frankenstein and its author’s link to the Shoalhaven.
(min cost $8)
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Professor Deirdre Coleman, Robert Wallace Chair of English at the University of Melbourne and one of Australia's most eminent literary and cultural studies experts, will give a special presentation in Berry on May 20 about a fascinating but largely unknown aspect of the history of Berry and the Shoalhaven.
Alexander Berry (1781-1873) married Elizabeth, the sister of his business partner Edward Wollstonecraft. Edward and Elizabeth in turn were related to two then-notorious women writers, Mary Wollstonecraft, author of The Vindication of the Rights of Woman, published in 1792 at the height of the French Revolution; and her daughter, Mary Godwin Shelley, author of Frankenstein, the famous gothic novel published two hundred years ago in 1818.
The Vindication of the Rights of Woman is a key work of 18th century feminist and human rights philosophy, espousing ideas which, like Mary Wollstonecraft’s own life, were considered far from respectable at the time.
Mary Godwin Shelley was a daughter of scandal. Her parents were not married, she associated with notorious figures such as Lord Byron, and was the widow of the drowned poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her novel, Frankenstein is however much more than a chilling tale, but rather also a serious meditation on the connections between science and the pursuit of power and self-interest.
Professor Coleman has explored the relationships between the two families and will speak about the ways in which the beliefs and practices of the colonial entrepreneurs Alexander Berry and Edward Wollstonecraft connect with Mary Wollstonecraft's thinking about commerce, morality and the ‘proper’ spheres for men and women, as well as with the themes of her daughter’s great novel.
The talk is a joint production of the Berry and District Historical Society and Berry Conversations, Inc.
When: Sunday, May 20 at 3pm.
Where: Uniting Church Hall, Berry
What: One-hour presentation, with wine and sandwiches to follow.
Tickets: Available online from Try Booking (trybooking.com.au) and Berry Music Shop, Queen Street, Berry at a cost of $25.
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