Today: a tale of darkness, gathering storms, and a terrifying creature that resembles a human man...
No, nothing topical: it's The Year Without A Summer, the story of how Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. This piece first appeared on Eric Molinsky's excellent podcast Imaginary Worlds. Hear all the episodes at imaginaryworldspodcast.org.
FOR EXTRA CREDIT:
- Read all of Frankenstein - here are the SparkNotes, if you need them.
- How do you distinguish 'horror' and 'terror'?
- Influentual Gothic author Ann Radcliffe delineated them in her 1826 essay ‘On The Supernatural in Poetry’.
- Interesting woman, Ann Radcliffe.
- Likewise Mary Shelley's mother, Mary Wollstonecraft; read her groundbreaking feminist work A Vindication of the Rights of Women.
- Hollywood, Nikola Tesla and Luigi Galvani: how the film adaptations of Frankenstein went electric (Judas!).
- Frankenstein's monster is in SO MANY FILMS. Apparently these are the ones worth watching.
- I remember Kenneth Branagh's adaptation being one of the funniest things I had ever seen when I watched it in 1994, but I'm not sure I could go back to check now.
- The Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year is 'post-truth'; read an example of how post-truth works.
- Post-post-truth: let's all try to get that going next year, yes?
- One bit of politics news this year didn’t make me want to scream my head off: Canadian politicians argued over whether the word ‘fart’ is suitable for parliament.
- The transcript of this episode is at theallusionist.org/transcripts/frankenstein.
TODAY'S SPONSORS ARE:
1. SQUARESPACE, who make it easy to design and host a good-looking website. Start your free trial today, and get 10% off for a year if you sign up: visit squarespace.com/allusion.
2. BOMBAS, who will donate a pair of their exactingly engineered socks to a homeless shelter for every pair you buy. Dress someone else's feet as well as your own, and get 20% off when you buy four or more pairs, at bombas.com.
MAILCHIMP'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
- Find Imaginary Worlds in your podbox of choice and at imaginaryworldspodcast.org. Eric Molinsky is @emolinsky on Twitter.
- Thanks to Jane Solomon from dictionary.com - she was on the Word of the Day episode earlier this year - and to Martin Austwick for the Allusionist music.
- Hang out with me at facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow or twitter.com/helenzaltzman.