Summary of Presentation:
On April 5, 1815, Mount Tambora exploded; it shook the island of Sumbawa, sending a plume of ash eighteen miles into the sky. Ash from the eruption spread across the Northern Hemisphere the next year, causing cooler than average temperatures, higher rainfall, and gloomy skies, which resulted in the failure of crops, disease and famine. The stage was set for the events of 1816, when four British ex-patriots (Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, and Claire Clairmont) gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, and lived through a summer of massive thunderstorms, emotional tensions, and literary creations: the “Haunted Summer” which resulted in the creation of Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein.
In the first part of the presentation, I will address the following questions: How did these four literary figures come together? What caused the “waking dream” that inspired Mary Shelley’s novel? What was Mary’s sister, Claire’s, role in this quartet? How was the literary world changed forever by this summer?
In the second half, I will cover how the 200th anniversary of the “Haunted Summer” in 1816 influenced my own work, resulting in the creation of my historical fiction novel, Claire’s Last Summer, published by Severn House on September 1, 2018. It was an amazing personal journey into the interconnectedness of nature, people and generations in that time period.
The presentation will also include readings from both Frankenstein and Claire’s Last Secret, and a booksigning will follow.
Come and join us: it promises to be a “haunted” afternoon at Sandman Books!