The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ comes ALIVE on Halloween

Nobody screams “It’s alive!” in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” That exclamation is just one of the many bloody bits Hollywood has stitched onto the body of her classic novel.

Now the monster is about to have its revenge.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of “Frankenstein,” and to mark that milestone, fans all over the world will crawl out of the ground on Halloween to stage undead, all-day readings of the original text. (Igor estimates it will take about nine hours.)

These marathon Frankenreads and other related events — sponsored by the Keats-Shelley Association of America in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities — will be zapped to life at more than 600 locations in more than 40 countries.

The most monstrous performance of all will be right here in Washington at the Library of Congress. Among the many readers scheduled to participate are actor John Cena, children’s horrormeister R.L. Stine and Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. (Their contributions have been pre-recorded so don’t bother lurching around the library hoping for a sighting.) Dozens of library employees along with local ghouls like novelist Louis Bayard and yours truly will also donate their vocal cords to this diabolical experiment.

The fun starts on Oct. 31 at 9:00 a.m. You can watch online at

If you miss the celebration this year, do not worry. I will see you in 2118.

Ron Charles writes about books for The Washington Post and hosts

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