Tag Archives: Mary Shelley

Necromantic Adventures in Genoa

Transformation  by Mary Shelley  (1831)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   February 4, 2014   Women in Horror Month (WiHM)

If any author could successfully mix romance with fiendish pride and the power of evil, it’s Mary Shelley. Frankenstein is not considered supernatural, but Transformation certainly is a necromantic adventure.

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For never was a story of more woe than Juliet and her Guido (if I may borrow the line from Shakespeare).  We are not in  Romeo and Juliet’s fair Verona; we are in Genoa. Juliet and Guido have been in love since childhood and have pledged to marry. She is angel-faced and loyal. He is rich, handsome, and worldly. Because Guido squanders his wealth, falls into the trap of vanity, and engages in violence, the authorities ban him from Genoa on pain of death.

Mad with loneliness, guilt, and struggling with regret, he wanders the seaside during the darkest of storms. Here he meets a mysterious dwarf  …

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‘The voice of the wretch was screeching and horrid, and his contortions as he spoke were frightful to behold. Yet he did gain a kind of influence over me, which I could not master, and I told him my tale. When it was ended, he laughed long and loud: the rocks echoed back the sound: hell seemed yelling around me. …

His supernatural powers made him an oracle in my eyes; yet a strange unearthly thrill quivered through my frame as I said, “Speak!–teach me–what act do you advise?”’

This hideous dwarf (a cousin of Lucifer?) makes our poor Guido an offer he cannot refuse.

Read Transformation at Columbia.Edu

Listen to the short story at Librivox (scroll down to Number 10)

WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH, February 2014

1796515_10152579730360558_1087184371_nMany of you know February is Women in Horror Month (WiHM). Each Tuesday I will be featuring all women authors from the 19th century and posting a recommendation of a contemporary author as well. Women are under-represented in this genre and the goal of WiHM is to encourage reading, recognition, and support of women horror authors. So I encourage you to read women authors this month, buy their short stories, their novels, and recognize the talents of so many women writers that have been overlooked and underrated.

To that aim, I’d like to recommend award-winning author Susan Hill. Hill is a British author of novels and short stories. The Woman in Black is a dark atmospheric novel, a winner of a ghost story, historical, and a cunning mystery. You might also like these ghost stories: Printer’s Devil Court (short story), The Small Hand, The Man in the Picture, Dolly, Hunger (short story), Man in the Mist.

Visit Susan Hill’s Web site in the UK.   82px-93,370,0,276-Susanhill-007

Check out what Julienne Snow has to say about WiHM at Dark Media.

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Sirens Call Publications

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

     The Gothic Wanderer   For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Filed under fiction, horror, literary horror, quiet horror, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror, Women in Horror Month

Ghostly Images of the Beloved Dead

The Invisible Girl  by Mary Shelley (1832)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   October 15, 2013       Women In Horror Month

 

October’s Women in Horror wouldn’t be complete without spotlighting Mary Shelley. Today I bring Mary to you as a ghost writer … and something more: a reflection. She wrote over twenty short stories, most of which are forgotten now beneath her Frankenstein fame.

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In The Invisible Girl, she writes a story of forbidden love (is there no greater love?). Here you will discover a ruined tower on the bleak seaside between Wales and Ireland. From this tower flows a light. Local stories claim she is the ghost of a maiden who lost her sweetheart and lives within the tower, shining her light over the sea. She is known as the Invisible Girl.

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In 1824 Mary Shelley wrote an essay On Ghosts, which are her reflections on the reality versus the unreality of ghosts and is a perfect coordinate reading for this short story. She writes “There is something beyond us of which we are ignorant. The sun drawing up the vaporous air makes a void, and the wind rushes in to fill it—thus beyond our soul’s ken there is an empty space; and our hopes and fears, in gentle gales or terrific whirlwinds, occupy the vacuum; and if it does no more, it bestows on the feeling heart a belief that influences do exist to watch and guard us, though they be impalpable to the coarser faculties.”

What thrilling prose! She asks in this essay, “What is the meaning of this feeling?” I think Mary exhibits the answer in her powerful but subtle ghost story. The Invisible Girl is by no means an ordinary story. The plot presents some questions but the theme is delightfully emblematic. I do so love when the supernatural is mixed with the driving human emotion of love and the psychological depths of grief.

Our protagonist is Henry Vernon, son of the baronet Sir Peter. Henry falls hopelessly I love with the young and sweet Rosina. Sir Peter forbids this marriage and poor Rosina is cursed, cruelly banished to wander the woods with no resources, and surely dies. With this image of his beloved dead, and driven by a frantic horror, Henry goes in search for her body, sailing the coastline to Wales. A threatening storm suddenly hits their small boat in the pitch black night. In the distance, Henry sees a mystic beacon of light shining from the shore assuring their safety. But is it a “fairy” light or is it real? Who burns this light in the deserted ruin by the sea? Is it the ghost of a maiden who lost her sweetheart?

What Henry experiences there in the shades of night, in the sequestered ruin, is the invisible girl.

And … on the feeling heart, a belief that influences do exist.

 

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On Ghosts is available at The Literary Gothic http://www.litgothic.com/Texts/on_ghosts.html

 

Read The Invisible Girl at Gutenberg.net (5000 words, 30-minute read)

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0603151h.html

 

 

Listen to The Invisible Girl at Librivox http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/File:Invisible_girl_shelly_ehl.ogg

 

I sure would love to hear your thoughts about Mary’s The Invisible Girl.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

GoodReads     WattPad    The Story Reading Ape Blog   Interesting Literature    Bibliophilopolis.wordpress.com    Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify    Rob Around Books  

 Books on the Nightstand    GoodKindles.net

 For Authors/Writers:   The Writer Unboxed

 

 

 

 

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Filed under ghost stories, Ghosts, horror, literature, quiet horror, short stories, tales of terror, Women In Horror

No Bones For The Grave

The Mortal Immortal by Mary Shelley (1834)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   February 26, 2013

-MaryShelleyEaston3Mary Shelley

Who is the first queen of horror? With February’s Women in Horror Month concluding this week, this blog would not be complete without featuring  Mary Shelley. Her Frankenstein hasn’t been out of print since 1818.  She died at the young age of 53 on February 1st, 1851.

The Mortal Immortal is a twisted love story of human desires, passion, a dash of science, ageing and death. There is some melodrama here with writing like “our days were winged by joy, and “the hours danced away.” But this tale of woe is so well executed, you will find yourself wholeheartedly fascinated.

Our story opens with Winzy on his anniversary—“I complete my three hundred and twenty-third year!”

Okay, so you’re thinking vampire, right? Think again. We have an alchemist named Cornelius who invents an elixir that is a curative. Winzy is his apprentice. Winzy is driven by his love for a beautiful young woman Bertha—who is not so enchanted with Winzy. Her scorn and disappointment of Winzy is a heartbreak for  him. Because Winzy idolizes Bertha to a fault, he drinks Cornelius’ elixir, hoping it will cure his love for Bertha and set him free of his obsession. Ahh, but can anyone really become immune to love? And what is life without love?

This elixir is more than potent. Winzy does not know how far its curative measures will go. Will Bertha love him now? Will he care? Winzy finds himself in a cruel dilemma. And poor Bertha!

Behold the vanity of human wishes. And Winzy’s wishes at the end make this a truly macabre tale.

Read it here:

http://www.sff.net/people/doylemacdonald/l_mortal.htm

Leave a comment if you liked The Mortal Immortal.  Stop back next Tuesday for another Tale of Terror.

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Filed under fiction, horror, literature, quiet horror, short stories, supernatural, suspense, tales of terror, weird tales, Women in Horror Month