200 years on from the genesis of Frankenstein – Part 3

200 years on from the genesis of Frankenstein – Notes on July and August 1816 in Cologny, on the shores of Lake Geneva.


3. The light and the dark.

In August the group on lake Geneva were visited by ‘The Monk’ Lewis. His nickname is a reference to his famous scandalous gothic horror story, with bleeding a nun spectre, dungeons, witchcraft torture and seduction. He told them ‘mysteries of his trade’ and they ‘talk of ghosts.’ Lewis told them four ghost stories.

Lord Byron in English Bards and Scotch Reviewers wrote of Monk Lewis: ”Even Satan’s self with thee might dread to dwell, And in thy skull discern a deeper hell.”

Mary Shelley was not always part of the audience, because her ‘little babe’ was not well, though Shelley discussed it all with her later. Mary was a very fond mother and when away on trips would write ‘“I longed to see my pretty babe”. The ‘little babe’ was William, just over six months old. Critics have always found it odd that Mary also named Victor Frankenstein’s young brother William, in her story, especially as she had him strangled by the Creature. A horribly prophetic inclusion.

This entry was posted in George Gordon Byron, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Romantic Era. Bookmark the permalink.

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