Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley & Your Creature
Updated: Feb 14, 2021
Frankenstein; or, The New Prometheus is an 1818 book by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The book centers on Victor Frankenstein, who carries out an unusual attempt to construct a sentient life form. Mayhem ensues.
In just over a month since this AT HOME ART DATE was published, there has been a lot of exciting action in the Mary Shelley department.
1. A new book called Vindicated: A Novel of Mary Shelley has been published. For historical fiction fans this looks to be a very deep dive into Mary's life through beautifully wrought journal entries. An interview with the author can be heard here.
2. "If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear." -- try whispering that to your sweetheart on Valentine's Day! It is a line from the trailer of a new millennial lust and blood drenched horror film. The film is about Mary Shelley's writing of Frankenstein and near super natural possession by the subject of her book. It is called A Nightmare Wakes. You can read an interview with the female director here. It may not be a great film but it sure looks like a lot of long dress fun. Perfect for those dark and snowy nights of February.
3. Most exciting is a new radio production called The Securely Conferred, Vouchsafed Keepsakes of Maery S. It features African American actor Dee Dorcas Deasnael as Maery S.
Tickets are available here and runs through May 15, 2021.
I've added all three to my art intake schedule for February. I hope you do too!
Today’s AT HOME ART DATE is a chance for you to play a version of the game that Mary, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Polidori played one dark and stormy night in Switzerland. The game was - Who could write the more frightening tale? Their isolation spurred this competition based on a collection of French horror stories called Fantasmagoriama the threesome read while vacationing together.
the opening line from the book
(element one) LISTEN: The Paris Bookstore Shakespeare & Co. Podcast interview with poet and writer Fiona Sampson on “In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein.”
(element two): READ: The final moments from three of the horror stories Mary, Shelley, Byron, and Polidori were reading the night the competition began.
Ferdinand's mother, Clotilde, and her husband, and all the friends of the family, among whom were the pastor who was so fond of music, and his pretty little wife, assembled at the fête given in honor of the christening. When the priest who was performing the ceremony asked what name he was to give the child, that of Ditmar was uttered by every mouth, as if they had previously agreed on it. The christening over, Ferdinand, elate with joy, accompanied by his relations and guests, carried his son to the state-chamber, before his forefather's portrait; but it was no longer perceptible; the colors, figure -- all had disappeared; not the slightest trace remained.
These words, pronounced in a soft and melancholy tone of voice, struck Amelia and Maria's ears; but they knew not whether they were uttered by Florentina or the phantom, or whether by both the sisters together. Almost at the same moment, the servants came in, alarmed, to learn what had happened. They had heard a noise as if all the glasses and porcelain in the house were breaking. They found their mistress extended at the door, but not the slightest trace of the apparition remained. Every means of restoring Florentina to life were used but in vain. The physicians attributed her death to a ruptured blood vessel. Maria and Amelia will carry the remembrance of this heart-rending scene to their graves.
The party, who were singularly affected by this event, were conjecturing a thousand things when the officer returned, and again asked for the marquis.
"He just now left the room with you," answered someone of the company.
"But he came in again."
"We have seen no one."
"He has then disappeared," replied the officer, smiling: he searched every corner for the marquis but in vain. The house was thoroughly examined, but without success; and the following day the officer quitted the baths with his soldiers, without his prisoner, and very much dissatisfied.
(element three) CREATE: Choose one of the three endings and decide for yourself what kind of frightening creature might inhabit this world (whether it is directly related to the story ending or not).
Using cardboard, paper, scissors, glue, and whatever craft items you have on hand. Build a three-dimensional version of your creature. Think of making your creature frightening to others but loving on the inside. Hopefully, the weather will be on your side, and it will be a dark and stormy night.
Well done, artist!
I hope you find Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley & Your Creature a compelling At Home Art Date.
I curate provocative art dates for you to enjoy solo or with others in your own home. Many of these art dates have online elements combined with supplemental reading, listening, and a variety of activities you can do at home to enhance how you express and experience art. Feel free to forward these art dates to others. Remember to check out the bonus material below.
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You can also learn more about my upcoming Artistic Clarity online courses, Gimme Culture and Creative Dice here on my website.