Lewis, Stephanie E. (1995) "Congeries of pleasing horrors" : Fantasmagoriana and the writings of the Diodati Group. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.
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Umberto Eco's statement in his introduction to The Name of the Rose (1983) that "all books speak of other books" is a clear recognition of the fact that numerous discourses find their way into a given text. The fictional works that emanated from the gathering at Diodati during the early summer of 1816 are no exception. While each of them shows patterns and motifs from earlier Gothic fiction, the primary objective here will be to demonstrate the central influence on the fiction of Lord Byron, John Polidori and Mary Shelley of one common text: Fantasmagoriana. The reading of the ghost stories in this collection (several of which are now readily available in the English translation entitled Tales of the Dead ) provided the Diodati group with not only the inspiration to write their own tales but also several narrative patterns and thematic motifs. -- Four pieces of fiction resulted either directly or indirectly from Lord Byron's challenge that " 'We will each write a ghost story' " (Frankenstein, 1831, ix). The most prominent figure of the group, Lord Byron himself, wrote "A Fragment of a Novel" which he soon discarded. It was left to his physician, John Polidori, to recast it into "The Vampyre," the first literary representation of the vampire in English fiction. Polidori's immediate response to the contest, however, was Ernestus Berchtold; or, The Modern Oedipus, a work that until quite recently has been virtually ignored. The best known and most impressive of the Diodati writing was, of course, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley. -- Much attention has been given (especially in biographical accounts) to Byron's ghost story contest; however, very little has been written about either the collection of tales that initiated the challenge, or the impact that these tales had on the texts that resulted. While there have been brief comments made about the references to Fantasmagoriana and to the tales to which Mary Shelley alludes in her Introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein, there has been no systematic attempt to examine together the tales of Fantasmagoriana and the stories they inspired. This present study undertakes that task.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Masters)|
|Additional Information:||Bibliography: leaves 136-139.|
|Department(s):||Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature|
|Library of Congress Subject Heading:||Byron, George Gordon, Baron, 1788-1824; Polidori, John William, 1795-1821; Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, 1797-1851; Fantasmagoriana; Gothic fiction (Literary genre)--History and criticism|
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