31 Oct 2018

Of Journeys and Gurneys: Frankenstein in Context

By |2018-09-19T06:43:04-04:00October 31, 2018|Tags: , , |

This event will feature a display of rare and one-of-a kind items from the U.S. Naval Academy’s special collections archive.  The library is unparalleled in its holdings of naval and maritime materials, including many accounts (some lavishly illustrated) of polar and Russian journeys that directly or indirectly influenced Shelley’s frame narrative.  It is also home to several important sources on animal magnetism, mesmerism, and bio-electricity, including Luigi Galvani’s personal, hand-annotated copy of his seminal 1791 book, De Viribus Electricitatis.

A short presentation on the novel’s contexts by St John’s College tutor Louis Petrich, will accompany the display during the noon-hour on 10/31; the book display will be accessible in the days before and after.

If you are interested in attending or learning more, please contact Prof. Noah Comet (comet@usna.edu).  Access to the Naval Academy is not difficult, but there are a few important things to know ahead of time, so you are encouraged to rsvp for those details.

20 Oct 2018

“The Haunted Summer of 1816: An Afternoon with Mary Shelley and Claire Clairmont” [A Presentation on the Creation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and How It Inspired my New Novel, Claire’s Last Secret]

By |2018-09-23T13:02:09-04:00October 20, 2018|Tags: , , , |

Mary Shelley’s Journal of the “Haunted Summer” of 1816.

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!