A double bill of horror, enchantment, music and poetry
During a ‘wet, ungenial summer’ of 1816 on Lake Geneva in 1816, Percy and Mary Shelley found themselves confined for days in Villa Diodati with Lord Byron, John Polidori and Claire Clairmont. Sitting by the fireplace, the group would amuse themselves with a book of German ‘ghost stories’ translated into French and entitled Fantasmagoriana. Byron then challenged the group to write their own stories. Although Mary Shelley initially struggled for inspiration her story would become the literary masterpiece Frankenstein, published 200 years ago this year.
A double bill event begins with an exploration of Fantasmagoriana and powerful influence it held over those readers. The second half is devoted to a performed reading of the long poem Villa Diodati by leading British poet Andrew Mitchell, to live music accompaniment and illustrations.