With France Culture
Text by Hélène Frappat
Inspired by the life and work of Mary Shelley
Broadcast 16 July at 8 p.m. as part of France Culture's summer programme
Running time 1h
What if the first modern monster was the woman who created it?
She tells us, standing alone onstage, about a world which celebrated then abandoned her, surrounded by the voices of her companions, dead or alive, real or imagined. She is Mary Shelley, who created science fiction with Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus in 1818, and the post-apocalyptic novel with The Last Man in 1823. When Frankenstein was published anonymously, with a preface by her husband poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who would long be mistaken for the father of this monstrous novel, she was barely twenty. When The Last Man appeared, she'd already lost her husband, several children, and her reputation. This is the story of a woman who, by giving birth to the most famous monster of our modern times, gave birth to herself as a woman and a writer, in a dialogue with the voices of all the ancestors—parents, lovers, friends—she is trying to free herself of.
Hélène Frappat is the author of seven novels, published by Editions Allia (Sous réserve, 2004, L'agent de liaison, 2007, Par effraction, 2009) and Actes Sud (INVERNO, 2011, Lady Hunt, 2013, N'oublie pas de respirer, 2014, Le dernier fleuve, 2019). She has also written many essays about cinema, most notably Jacques Rivette, secret compris (Cahiers du cinéma, 2001) and Toni Servillo, le nouveau monstre (Séguier, 2018). She served as producer on Rien à voir, a monthly show about cinema broadcast on France Culture from 2004 to 2009, and has also produced many documentaries.
With Anne-Lise Heimburger
Et avec les voix de Sharif Andoura, Julian Eggerickx, Vladislav Galard, John Greaves, François Loriquet, Séphora Pondi, Dominique Reymond
Text Hélène Frappat
Music Olivier Mellano
Direction Christophe Hocké