Now that Halloween is here, we will be invited to frighten ourselves with scary masks and terrifying movies. Why? How is it that fear – the primitive defense mechanism that warns us to fight or flee when faced with danger – can be pleasurable? And yet that paradoxical wish to be frightened is as ancient as narrative art itself. From Grendel lumbering murderously out of the darkness in the eighth century poem "Beowulf," through the tales recorded by the Grimms and down to our own age, storytellers have catered to our desire to be made fearful.
Every Special Collections library has a number of mysterious boxes that for some reason or another have never been dealt with–gifts with mysterious provenances, duplicate copies, a collection that someone was working on but for some reason never finished, and so on.
This Halloween night, diehard fans of Frankenstein will be haunting a new scholarly Web site devoted to Mary Shelley and her family.
An old, decrepit mansion in the wilderness.
A mysterious, emotionally distant master of the house (or sometimes mistress, if it’s not a romance).
A young woman (such as a governess) who is new to the scene.
An orphaned/unwanted child or children living at the house.
A terrible secret (sometimes supernatural).
First shown in London this past December, "Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty: A Gothic Romance," now at City Center here, is a brisk staging that features sundry, savvy references to the ballet traditions established by Peter Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa when their "Sleeping Beauty" was first shown in 1890 St. Petersburg. Mr. Bourne’s vivid update is a prime example of the imagination and originality that have marked the British-born choreographer’s "dance productions"—as he chooses to call them—since the first one in 1987.
Mary Shelley, at the age of 18, created a monster that would captivate the imaginations of millions and define an era where anything could be made real through science, even the creation of a monster.
Power of Pictures displays the depth and breadth of images in Beinecke’s collections, from woodcuts to photographs, diagrams to cartoons. It shows how pictures, as much as texts, can illuminate what we know about writers, readers, artists, and ourselves.