Timeline of World History TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY



1800 - 1899
1800-09 1810-19 1820-29 1830-39 1840-49 1850-59 1860-69 1870-79 1880-89 1890-99
1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890
1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
1802 1812 1822 1832 1842 1852 1862 1872 1882 1892
1803 1813 1823 1833 1843 1853 1863 1873 1883 1893
1804 1814 1824 1834 1844 1854 1864 1874 1884 1894
1805 1815 1825 1835 1845 1855 1865 1875 1885 1895
1806 1816 1826 1836 1846 1856 1866 1876 1886 1896
1807 1817 1827 1837 1847 1857 1867 1877 1887 1897
1808 1818 1828 1838 1848 1858 1868 1878 1888 1898
1809 1819 1829 1839 1849 1859 1869 1879 1889 1899
  BACK-1818 Part I NEXT-1818 Part III    
FitzGerald Edward
1810 - 1819
History at a Glance
1810 Part I
Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma
Edict of Fontainebleau
First Republic of Venezuela
Mexican War of Independence
Argentine War of Independence
Colombian Declaration of Independence
Foolish Fatherland
Chilean War of Independence
Bolivian war of independence
Charles XIV John
Invasion of Guadeloupe
Cavour Camillo
1810 Part II
Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Montalembert Charles
Musset Alfred
Scott: "The Lady of the Lake"
Goya: "The Disasters of War"
The Nazarenes
Beethoven: "Egmont"
Chopin Frederic
Chopin - Nocturne Op.9 No.2
Frederic Chopin
Nicolai Otto
Nicolai - The Merry Wives of Windsor - Overture
Otto Nicolai
Rossini: "La Cambiale di Matrimonio"
Schumann Robert
Schumann - Piano sonata n.1 op.11
Robert Schumann
Spurzheim Johann Gaspar
Hahnemann Samuel
Girard Philippe
Humboldt University of Berlin
Krupp Friedrich Carl
Barnum Phineas Taylor
1811 Part I
George IV
Battle of the Danube
Massacre of the Mamelukes at Cairo
Napoleon Francois-Joseph Charles
Battle of Fuentes de Onoro
Paraguay independent of Spain
Venezuelan War of Independence
Peruvian War of Independence
San Martin Jose
Battle of Las Piedras
Artigas Jose Gervagio
Invasion of Java
Battle of Tippecanoe
1811 Part II
Bottiger Karl August
Niebuhr Barthold Georg
University of Oslo
Jane Austen: "Sense and Sensibility"
Stowe Harriet Beecher
Friedrich de la Motte-Fouque: "Undine"
Gautier Theophile
Goethe: "Aus meinem Leben: Dichtung und Wahrheit"
Gutzkow Karl
Thackeray William Makepeace
Dupre Jules
Jules Dupre
Ingres: "Jupiter and Thetis"
Thomas Lawrence: Portrait of Benjamin West
Thorvaldsen: "Procession of Alexander the Great"
1811 Part III
Liszt Franz
Franz Liszt - Liebestraum - Love Dream
Franz Liszt
Prague Conservatoire
Carl Maria von Weber: "Abu Hassan"
Avogadro Amedeo
Great Comet of 1811
Bunsen Robert
Poisson Simeon-Denis
Manning Thomas
Berblinger Albrecht Ludwig
1812 Part I
French invasion of Russia
Battle of Borodino
Kutuzov Mikhail
Malet Claude-François
Perceval Spencer
1812 Part II
War of 1812
Battle of Salamanca
Siege of Burgos
Battle of Tordesillas
Hegel: "Science of Logic"
Jewish emancipation
Browning Robert
Robert Browning 
"Dramatic Romances"
"The Pied Piper of Hamelin"
The Brothers Grimm: "Fairy Tales"
Lord Byron: "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage"
Dickens Charles
Charles Dickens
"Great Expectations"
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Goncharov Ivan Aleksandrovich
Smiles Samuel
Krasinski Zygmunt
Kraszewski Joseph Ignatius
1812 Part III
Elgin Marbles
Rousseau Theodore
Theodore Rousseau
Pforr Franz
Franz Pforr
Beethoven: Symphonies No. 7 (Op. 92)
Encounter between Beethoven and Goethe at Teplitz
Beethoven: Symphonies No. 8 (Op. 93)
Flotow Friedrich
Friedrich von Flotow: Piano Concerto No. 2
Friedrich von Flotow
Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna
Burckhardt Johann Ludwig
Krupp Alfred
Red River Settlement, Manitoba, Canada
Hampden Clubs
1813 Part I
German Campaign 1813–1814
Battle of Dresden
Battle of Lutzen
Battle of the Katzbach
Battle of Leipzig
Battle of York
Battle of Fort George
Capture of USS Chesapeake
Battle of Crysler's Farm
Capture of Fort Niagara
Battle of Buffalo
Battle of Vitoria
Siege of San Sebastian
First Serbian Uprising
1813 Part II
Herbart Johann Friedrich
Kierkegaard Soren
Schopenhauer: "On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason"
Colby College, Maine
The Baptist Union of Great Britain
Jane Austen: "Pride and Prejudice"
Buchner Georg
Byron: "The Giaour"
Hebbel Friedrich
Ludwig Otto
Shelley: "Queen Mab"
Turner: "Frosty Morning"
London Philharmonic Society
Rossini: "L'ltaliana in Algeri"
Verdi Giuseppe
Anna Netrebko "Final Scene" La traviata
Giuseppe Verdi
Wagner Richard
Richard Wagner - Ride Of The Valkyries
Richard Wagner
Campbell John
Blaxland Gregory
Across the Blue Mountains
Lord Thomas
1814 Part I
1814 campaign in France
Six Days Campaign
Battle of Champaubert
Battle of Montmirail
Battle of Chateau-Thierry
Battle of Vauchamps
Battle of Orthez
Treaty of Chaumont
Battle of Arcis-sur-Aube
Battle of Paris
Battle of Toulouse
Treaty of Fontainebleau
Treaty of Paris
Congress of Vienna
Napoleon's exile to Elba
1814 Part II
Christian VIII
Bakunin Mikhail
Battle of Chippawa
Burning of Washington
Battle of Plattsburgh
Treaty of Ghent
Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814–16
First Anglican bishop in Calcutta
Motley John Lothrop
1814 Part III
Jane Austen: "Mansfield Park"
Byron: "The Corsair"
Edmund Kean's Shylock
Lermontov Mikhail
Mikhail Lermontov
"Death of the Poet"
"The Demon
Walter Scott: "Waverley"
Williav Wordsworth: "The Excursion"
Adelbert von Chamisso: "Peter Schlemihl"
Goya: "The Second of May 1808"
Goya: "The Third of May 1808"
Ingres: "Grande Odalisque"
Millet Jean Francois
Jean Francois Millet
Orfila Mathieu Joseph Bonaventure
Industrial printing presses
Lord's Cricket Ground
1815 Part I
Battle of New Orleans
Hundred Days
Neapolitan War
Battle of Waterloo
Napoleon's surrender
Second Peace of Paris
Ney Michel
1815 Part II
Corn Law
Bismarck Otto
Spanish Invasion of New Granada in 1815–1816
Basel Mission
Beranger Pierre
Byron: "Hebrew Melodies"
Geibel Emanuel
Hoffmann: "Die Elixiere des Teufels"
Scott: "Guy Mannering"
Trollope Anthony
Anthony Trollope 
"Barchester Towers"
Wordsworth: "White Doe of Rylstone"
1815 Part III
Goya: "La Tauromaquia"
Menzel Adolf
Adolf Menzel
Turner: "Crossing the Brook"
Franz Robert
Robert Franz - Oh Wert thou in the Cauld Blast
Robert Franz
Kjerulf Halfdan
Halfdan Kjerulf - Spring Song
Halfdan Kjerulf
Robert Volkmann - Cello Concerto in A minor
Robert Volkmann
Davy lamp
Fresnel Augustin-Jean
Prout William
Prout's hypothesis
Steam battery "Demologos", or "Fulton"
Nations in Arms
Nations in Arms
Apothecaries Act
McAdam John Loudon
Robertson Allan
Eruption of Sumbawa Volcano
1816 Part I
Maria I, Queen of Portugal
John VI of Portugal
Argentine War of Independence
Argentine Declaration of Independence
Federal Convention
American Bible Society
Gobineau Joseph Arthur
Karamzin Nikolai
1816 Part II
Jane Austen: "Emma"
Bronte Charlotte
Charlotte Bronte
"Jane Eyre"
Byron: "The Siege of Corinth"
Freytag Gustav
Derzhavin Gavrila
Leigh Hunt: "The Story of Rimini"
Shelley: "Alastor"
Goya: "The Duke of Osuna"
Rossini: "Barbiere di Siviglia"
Spohr: "Faust"
Brewster David
Laennec Rene-Theophile-Hyacinthe
Siemens Werner
Cobbett William
Froebel Friedrich
1817 Part I
Habeas Corpus Suspension Act
Wartburg Festival
Second Serbian Uprising (1815-1817)
Third Anglo-Maratha War 1817-1818
Bockh August
Hegel: "Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences"
Llorente Juan Antonio
Mommsen Theodor
David Ricardo: "Principles of Political Economy and Taxation"
Byron: "Manfred"
Thomas Moore: "Lalla Rookh"
Storm Theodor
Thoreau Henry David
1817 Part II
Constable: "Flatford Mill"
Daubigny Charles
Charles Daubigny
Thorvaldsen: Ganymede Waters Zeus as an Eagle
Leech John
John Leech
Watts George Frederic
George Frederic Watts
Rossini: "La Gazza ladra"
Rossini: "Cenerentola"
Ritter Carl
Long Stephen Harriman
"Blackwood's Magazine"
"The Scotsman"
Waterloo Bridge
1818 Part I
Chilean Declaration of Independence
Bavarian constitution proclaimed
Treaty of 1818
Dobrovsky Josef
Froude James Anthony
Marx Karl
Karl Marx
"Manifesto of the Communist Party"
- Marxism
Friedrich Engels
First International
1818 Part II
Byron: "Don Juan"
Keats: "Endymion"
Peacock: "Nightmare Abbey"
Walter Scott: "Heart of Midlothian"
Shelley Mary
Mary Shelley "Frankenstein"
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley 
"Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus"
Turgenev Ivan
1818 Part III
Burckhardt Jakob
Fohr Carl Philipp
Karl Philipp Fohr
Donizetti: "Enrico, Conte di Borgogna"
Gounod Charles
Gounod - Ave Maria
Charles Gounod
"Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht"
Rossini: "Mose in Egitto"
Bessel Friedrich Wilhelm
Encke Johann Franz
Oxley John
British Admiralty Expeditions
Scoresby William
Phipps Constantine Henry
Buchan David
Parry William Edward
Ross James Clark
Order of Saint Michael and Saint George
Raiffeisen Friedrich Wilhelm
1819 Part I
Founding of modern Singapore
Queen Victoria
Victorian Era
Peterloo Massacre
Albert, Prince Consort
Jakob Grimm: "German Grammar"
Hermes Georg
Schopenhauer: "Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung"
Sismondi Jean
Wilson Horace Hayman
1819 Part II
Byron: "Mazeppa"
Eliot George
George Eliot 
"Silas Marner"
Fontane Theodor
Howe Julia Ward
Keats: "Hyperion"
Keller Gottfried
Kotzebue August
Lowell James Russell
Shelley: "The Cenci"
Whitman Walt
Walt Whitman
"Leaves of Grass"
Washington Irving: "Rip van Winkle"
1819 Part III
Courbet Gustave
Gustave Courbet
Theodore Gericault: "The Raft of the Medusa"
Ruskin John
Thorvaldsen: "Lion of Lucerne"
Turner: "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage"
Museo del Prado
Chasseriau Theodore
Theodore Chasseriau
Offenbach Jacques
Offenbach - Barcarole
Jacques Offenbach
Schumann Clara
Mitscherlich Eilhard
Oersted Hans Christian
Central Asia Exploration
Moorcroft William
First Sightings of the Antarctic Continent
Bransfield Edward
Weddell James
Bellingshausen Thaddeus
Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly, London

Ford Madox Brown: The Finding of Don Juan by Haidee
YEAR BY YEAR:  1800 - 1899
1818 Part II
Byron: "Don Juan"

Don Juan is a satiric poem by Lord Byron George Gordon, based on the legend of Don Juan, which Byron reverses, portraying Juan not as a womaniser but as someone easily seduced by women. It is a variation on the epic form. Byron himself called it an "Epic Satire" (Don Juan, c. xiv, st. 99). Modern critics generally consider it Byron's masterpiece, with a total of more than 16,000 lines of verse. Byron completed 16 cantos, leaving an unfinished 17th canto before his death in 1824. Byron claimed he had no ideas in his mind as to what would happen in subsequent cantos as he wrote his work.

When the first two cantos were published anonymously in 1819, the poem was criticised for its 'immoral content', though it was also immensely popular.

Byron was a rapid as well as a voluminous writer. Nevertheless, the composition of his great poem, Don Juan, was coextensive with a major part of his poetical life. He began the first canto of Don Juan in late 1818, and he was still at work on a seventeenth canto in early 1823. The poem was issued in parts, with intervals of unequal duration. Interruptions in the composition and publication of Don Juan were due to the disapproval and discouragement of friends as well as the publisher's hesitation and procrastination. Canto I. was written in September 1818; Canto II. in December–January, 1818–1819. Both were published on 15 July 1819. Cantos III. and IV. were written in the winter of 1819–1820; Canto V., after an interval of nine months, in October–November 1820, but the publication of Cantos III., IV., V. was delayed till 8 August 1821. In June 1822, Byron began to work at a sixth, and by the end of March 1823, he had completed a sixteenth canto. But the publication of these later cantos, which had been declined by John Murray, and was finally entrusted to John Hunt, was spread over a period of several months. Cantos VI., VII., VIII., with a Preface, were published on 15 July; Cantos IX., X., XI on 29 August; Cantos XII., XIII., XIV., on 17 December 1823; Cantos XV., XVI. on 26 March 1824. It has been said that the character of Donna Inez (Don Juan's mother) was a thinly veiled portrait of Byron's own wife, Annabella Milbanke (daughter of Sir Ralph Milbanke).
Canto I
Don Juan lives in Seville with his father José and his mother Donna Inez. Donna Julia, 23 years old and married to Don Alfonso, begins to desire Don Juan when he is 16 years old. Despite her attempt to resist, Julia begins an affair with Juan. Julia falls in love with Juan. Don Alfonso, suspecting that his wife may be having an affair, bursts into their bedroom followed by a "posse concomitant" but they do not find anything suspicious upon first searching the room, for Juan was hiding in the bed. However, when Alfonso returns on his own, he comes across Juan's shoes and a fight ensues. Juan escapes, however. In order to avoid the rumors and bad reputation her son has brought upon himself, Inez sends him away to travel, in the hopes that he develops better morals, while Julia is sent to a nunnery.

Canto II
Canto II describes how Juan goes on a voyage from Cadiz with servants and his tutor Pedrillo. Juan is still in love with Julia, and after a period of seasickness, a storm sinks the ship. The crew climb into a long boat, but soon run out of food. The crew decide to draw lots in order to choose who will be eaten. Juan's tutor Pedrillo is chosen after Juan's dog has also been eaten. However, those that eat Pedrillo go mad and die. Juan is the sole survivor of the journey; he eventually makes it onto land at Cyclades in the Aegean. Haidée and her maid Zoe discover Juan and care for him in a cave by the beach. Haidée and Juan fall in love despite the fact that neither can understand each other's language. Haidée's father Lambro is a "fisherman" and pirate who makes money from capturing slaves.

Canto III
Canto III is essentially a long digression from the main story in which Byron, in the style of an epic catalogue, describes Haidée and Don Juan's celebrations. The islanders believe Haidée's father, Lambro, has died, but he returns and witnesses these revels. Towards the end of the canto, Byron insults his contemporaries William Wordsworth, Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It is in this latter section that we find "The Isles of Greece" — a section numbered differently from the rest of the canto with a different verse which explores Byron's views on Greece's status as a "slave" to the Ottoman Empire.

Canto IV
Haidée and Juan wake to discover that Haidée's father, Lambro, has returned. Lambro confronts Juan and attacks him with the aid of his pirate friends. Haidée despairs at losing her lover and eventually dies of a broken heart with her unborn child still in her womb.

Juan is sent away on a ship and ends up at a slave market in Constantinople.


Ford Madox Brown: The Finding of Don Juan by Haidee
Canto V
Juan is in the slave market. He converses with an Englishman, telling of his lost love, whereas the more experienced John says he had to run away from his third wife. A black eunuch from the seraglio, Baba, buys Juan and John, and takes the infidels to the palace. He takes them to an inner chamber, where he insists that Don Juan dress as a woman and threatens him with castration if he resists. Finally, Juan is brought into an imperial hall to meet the sultana, Gulbeyaz, a 26-year-old beauty who is the sultan's fourth, last and favourite wife.

Full of stubborn pride, he refuses to kiss her foot and finally compromises by kissing her hand. She had spotted Juan at the market and had asked Baba to secretly purchase him for her, despite the risk of discovery by the sultan. She wants Juan to "love" her, and throws herself on his breast.

But he still has thoughts of Haidée and spurns her advances, saying "The prisoned eagle will not pair, nor I/Serve a sultana's sensual phantasy." She is taken aback, enraged, and thinks of having him beheaded, but breaks out in tears instead. Before they can progress further in their relationship, Baba rushes in to announce that the Sultan is coming: "The sun himself has sent me like a ray/To hint that he is coming up this way." The sultan arrives, preceded by a parade of damsels, eunuchs, etc.. Looking around, he takes note of the attractive Christian woman (Juan), expressing regret that a mere Christian should be so pretty (Juan is a giaour, or non-Muslim). Byron comments on the necessity to secure the chastity of the women in these unhappy climes — that "wedlock and a padlock mean the same."

Canto VI
The sultan retires with Gulbeyaz. Juan, still dressed as a woman, is taken to the overcrowded seraglio. He is asked to share a couch with the young and lovely 17-year-old Dudù. When asked what his name is, Don Juan calls himself Juanna. She is a "kind of sleepy Venus ... very fit to murder sleep... Her talents were of the more silent class... pensive..." She gives Juanna a chaste kiss and undresses. The chamber of odalisques is asleep at 3 AM. Dudù suddenly screams, and awakens agitated, while Juanna still lies asleep and snoring. The women ask the cause of her scream, and she relates a suggestive dream of being in a wood like Dante, of dislodging a reluctant golden apple clinging tenaciously to its bough (which at last willingly falls), of almost biting into the forbidden fruit when a bee flies out from it and stings her to the heart.

The matron of the seraglio decides to place Juanna with another odalisque, but Dudù begs to keep her in her own bed, hiding her face in Juanna's breast. The poet is at a loss to explain why she screamed. In the morning, the sultana asks Baba to tell her how Don Juan passed the night. He tells of "her" stay in the seraglio, but carefully omits details about Dudù and her dream. But the sultana is suspicious nevertheless, becomes enraged, and instructs Baba to have Dudù and Juan killed in the usual manner (drowning).

Baba pleads with her that killing Juan will not cure what ails her. The sultana summons Dudù and Juan. Just before the canto ends, the narrator explains that the "Muse will take a little touch at warfare."

  Canto VII
Juan and John Johnson have escaped with two women from the seraglio, and arrive during the siege of Ismail (historically 1790), a Turkish fort at the mouth of the Danube on the Black Sea. Field Marshal Suvaroff, an officer in the Russian army, is preparing for an all-out final assault against the besieged fortress. The battle rages. He has been told to "take Ismail at whatever price" by Prince Potemkin, the commander-in-chief of the Russian army. The Christian empress Catherine II is the Russian head-of-state. John Johnson appears to Suvaroff (with whom he has previously served in battle at Widdin) and introduces his friend Juan—both are ready to join the fight against the "pagan" Turks. Suvaroff is unhappy with the women the two men brought, but they state that they are the wives of other men, and that the women aided their escape. Suvaroff consents to the women staying.

Canto VIII
Juan and John join fearlessly and bravely in the savage assault on Ismail. They scale the walls of the town and charge into battle. The conquest of Ismail causes the slaughter of 40,000 Turks, among them women (a few of whom are raped) and children. Juan nobly rescues a ten-year-old Muslim girl, from two murderous Cossacks intent on killing her, and immediately resolves to adopt her as his own child. A noble Tartar khan valiantly fights to the death beside his five sons, just as instructed by Mahomet, presumably to be rewarded with houris in heaven. Juan is a hero and is sent to Saint Petersburg, accompanied by the Muslim girl, whom he makes a vow to protect. Her name, Leila, is only revealed in Canto X.

Canto IX
Dressed as a war hero in military uniform, Juan cuts a handsome figure in the court of Catherine II, who lusts after him. She is about 48 years old (historically, actually 61 or 62 years old) and "just now in juicy vigour". He becomes one of her favorites and is flattered by her interest as well as promoted for it. "Love is vanity,/Selfish in its beginning as its end,/Except where 'tis a mere insanity". Juan still lovingly cares for the Muslim girl he rescued.

Canto X
Juan falls ill because of the Russian cold and so is sent westward to more temperate England. His job ostensibly is that of a special envoy with the nebulous task of negotiating some treaty or other, but it is nothing more than a sinecure to justify the Empress Catherine in securing his health and loading him with money and expensive gifts.

Canto XI
Juan lands in England and eventually makes his way to London where he is found musing on the greatness of Britain as a defender of freedoms — until he is interrupted by a Cockney mugger, demanding money with menace. Juan shoots the man and, being of strong conscience, then regrets his haste and attempts to care for the dying mugger. However, his efforts fail, and after muttering some last words the mugger dies on the street. Later, Don Juan is received into the English court with the usual wonder and admiration at his looks, dress and mien although not without the jealousy of some of the older peers. In this Canto, Byron famously makes his comment on John Keats, "who was kill'd off by one critique".


Byron as Don Juan, with Haidee, 1831. By Alexandre-Marie Colin
Canto XII
Don Juan seeks out a suitable tutor and guardian for Leila, the orphan from the destroyed city of Ismail. He finds one in Lady Pinchbeck, a woman not unassailed by rumours on her chastity, but generally considered a good person and an admirable wit.

Canto XIII
Lady Adeline Amundeville and her husband Lord Henry Amundeville host Juan and others. She is "the fair most fatal Juan ever met", the "queen bee, the glass of all that's fair,/Whose charms made all men speak and women dumb". Diplomatic relations often bring Juan ("the envoy of a secret Russian mission") and Lord Henry together, and he befriends Juan and makes him a frequent guest at their London mansion. The Amundevilles invite numerous distinguished guests for a party at their country estate. The landscape surrounding the estate, as well as the decor within their house is described. This is followed by a mock-catalogues of the ladies, the gentlemen and the activities that they participate in. Byron sees this whole party as English ennui. The canto ends with all of them retiring for the evening.

Canto XIV
Juan acquits himself well on a fox hunt. He is attractive to the ladies, including the Duchess of Fitz-Fulke, who begins to flirt with him. Lady Adeline is jealous of the Duchess (who has had many amorous exploits), and resolves to protect the "inexperienced" Juan from her enticements. Juan and Adeline are both 21 years old. Lady Adeline has a vacant heart and has a cold but proper marriage. She is not in love with Juan, but the poet will only later divulge whether they have an affair (apparently not). The popular saying "truth is stranger than fiction" originates from this canto: "'Tis strange — but true; for truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction."

Canto XV
Lady Adeline is at risk for losing her honour over Juan. Juan has a seductive manner because he never seems anxious to seduce. He neither brooks nor claims superiority. Adeline advises Juan to get married, but he acknowledges the women he is attracted to tend to be already married. Adeline tries to deduce a suitable match for Juan, but intentionally omits mention of the 16 year old and enticing Aurora Raby, a Catholic. Juan is attracted to her — she is purer than the rest, and reminds him of his lost Haidée. An elaborate dinner is described in detail. Juan is seated between Adeline and Aurora. Aurora has little to say initially, and thaws only a little during the dinner.

Canto XVI
Juan is smitten with the beautiful Aurora, and thinks of her on retiring. At night, he walks into the hall, viewing the gallery of paintings. He hears footsteps, and sees a monk in cowl and beads. He wonders if it is a ghost, or just a dream. He does not see the monk's face, though he passes and repasses several times.

The next morning in reaction to how pale Juan looks, Adeline turns pale herself, the Duchess of Fitz-Fulke looks at Juan hard, and Aurora surveys him "with a kind of calm surprise". Adeline wonders if he is ill, and Lord Henry guesses that he might have seen the "Black Friar" He relates the story of the "spirit of these walls" who used to be seen often but had not been seen of late.

  Lord Henry, himself, had seen the Black Friar on his honeymoon. Adeline offers to sing the story of the ghost, accompanying it on her harp. Aurora remains silent, but Lady Fitz-Fulke appears mischievous after the song. The narrator suggests that Adeline had sung this to laugh Juan out of his dismay.

Juan's attempts to lift his spirits, as the house bustles in preparation for another feast. Before that, however, a pregnant country girl and other petitioners present themselves to Lord Henry in his capacity as Justice of the Peace.

At the banquet, Juan is preoccupied with his thoughts again. When he glances at Aurora, he catches a smile on her cheek, but is uncertain of its meaning, since Aurora sits pale and only a little flushed. Adeline goes about her duties as hostess, while the Duchess of Fitz-Fulke is very much at ease.

They retire for the evening. Juan thinks about Aurora, who has reawakened feelings in him which had lately been lost. After going back to his room, he hears the tiptoe of footsteps again, after sitting around in expectation of the ghost.

His doors open, and again it is the sable Friar concealed in his solemn hood. He pursues the friar up against a wall, and then suddenly notices that the "ghost" has sweet breath, a straggling curl, red lips, pearls, and a glowing bust. As the hood falls down, the "friar" is revealed to be the voluptuous Duchess of Fitz-Fulke.

Canto XVII
A Canto that Byron failed to complete but added to in the run up to his death, it lacks any narrative and only barely mentions the protagonist. It is instead a response to his critics who object to his views on the grounds that "If you are right, then everybody's wrong!". In his defence, he lists many great people who have been considered outsiders and revolutionaries including Martin Luther and Galileo.

The Canto ends on the brink of resuming the storyline from Canto The Sixteenth where Don Juan was left in a "tender moonlit situation".


Don Juan At The Seraglio. By Alexandre-Marie Colin
Byron's epic poem has a host of literary precedents. For example, John Hookham Frere's mock-heroic Arthurian tale Prospectus and Specimen of an intended National Work had suggested Beppo, and, at the same time, had prompted and provoked a sympathetic study of Frere's Italian models, Francesco Berni and Luigi Pulci; and, again, the success of Beppo, and, still more, a sense of inspiration and the conviction that he had found the path to excellence, suggested another essay of the ottava rima, a humorous poem "à la Beppo" on a larger and more important scale. If Byron possessed more than a superficial knowledge of the legendary "Don Juan", he was irresponsive and unimpressed. He speaks (letter to John Murray), of "the Spanish tradition"; but there is nothing to show that he had read or heard of Tirso de Molina's El Burlador de Sevilla y el Convidado de Piedra (The Deceiver of Seville and the Stone Guest), 1626, which dramatised the "ower true tale" of the actual Don Juan Tenorio; or that he was acquainted with any of the Italian (e.g. the Convitato di Pietra of Giacinto Andrea Cicognini or French adaptations of the legend (e.g. Le Festin de Pierre, ou le fils criminel, a tragicomedy of Abbé De Villiers, 1659; and Molière's Dom Juan, ou Le Festin de Pierre, 1665). He had seen Carlo Antonio Delpini's pantomime, which was based on Thomas Shadwell's Libertine, and he may have witnessed, at Milan or Venice, a performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni; but in taking Don Juan for his "hero", he took the name only, and disregarded the "terrible figure" "of the Titan of embodied evil, the likeness of sin made flesh", "as something to his purpose nothing"! But many readers have also detected echoes of eighteenth-century comic novels in Don Juan, pinpointing the poem's rambling, desultory style, flamboyant and distractible narrator, and heavily ironic tone—qualities that Byron may have gleaned from novels like Fielding's Tom Jones, as well as the writings of Tobias Smollett. Likewise, Don Juan belongs to the tradition of the picaresque, a genre of fiction (originating in Spain) that followed the adventures of roguish young men of low birth who made their way in a corrupt society via their cunning and courage. (Fielding's and Smollett's novels also belong to this genre.) Finally, Byron was probably inspired by Cervantes's Don Quixote and Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, two works which he greatly admired and borrowed from liberally.
The name and motive
Many of Byron's remarks and reflections on the motive behind his poem are humorous paradoxes, provoked by advice and opposition. For instance, writing to Thomas Moore, he says, "I have finished the first canto ... of a poem in the style and manner of Beppo, encouraged by the good success of the same. It is ... meant to be a little quietly facetious upon every thing. But I doubt whether it is not—at least as far as it has gone—too free for these very modest days." Critical opinion aligned itself with the opinion that the poem was "too free," however, a month after the two first cantos had been issued, Byron wrote to Murray , "You ask me for the plan of Donny Johnny; I have no plan—I had no plan; but I had or have materials.... You are too earnest and eager about a work never intended to be serious. Do you suppose that I could have any intention but to giggle and make giggle?—a playful satire, with as little poetry as could be helped, was what I meant." After the completion but before the publication of Cantos III., IV., V., in a further letter to Murray , he writes, "The Fifth is so far from being the last of Don Juan, that it is hardly the beginning. I meant to take him the tour of Europe, with a proper mixture of siege, battle, and adventure, and to make him finish as Anacharsis Cloots in the French Revolution.... I meant to have made him a Cavalier Servente in Italy, and a cause for a divorce in England, and a Sentimental 'Werther-faced' man in Germany, so as to show the different ridicules of the society in each of these countries, and to have displayed him gradually gâté and blasé, as he grew older, as is natural. But I had not quite fixed whether to make him end in Hell, or in an unhappy marriage, not knowing which would be the severest."
Conversely, it has been argued that Byron did not "whistle" Don Juan "for want of thought" – but instead he had found a thing to say, and he meant to make the world listen. He had read, albeit with angry disapproval, Coleridge's Critique on (Charles Maturin's) Bertram, where Coleridge describes the legendary Don Juan as a figure not unlike Childe Harold, or for that matter, Byron himself: "Rank, fortune, wit, talent, acquired knowledge, and liberal accomplishments, with beauty of person, vigorous health...all these advantages, elevated by the habits and sympathies of noble birth and natural character, are...combined in Don Juan, so as to give him the means of carrying into all its practical consequences the doctrine of a godless nature... Obedience to nature is the only virtue."
Again, "It is not the wickedness of Don Juan...which constitutes the character an abstraction, ...but the rapid succession of the correspondent acts and incidents, his intellectual superiority, and the splendid accumulation of his gifts and desirable qualities as coexistent with entire wickedness in one and the same person." It is therefore conceivable that Byron read these passages as either a suggestion or a challenge, or both.
Byron was under no delusion as to the grossness of Don Juan, though he protested that he was sheltered by the superior grossness of Ariosto and La Fontaine, of Prior and of Fielding. When Murray charges him with "approximations to indelicacy," he laughs at the euphemism, but when Hobhouse talked to him "about morality," he flames out, "I maintain that it is the most moral of poems." Ernest Hartley Coleridge concludes that Byron looked upon his great work as a whole, and he knew that the "raison d'être of his song" was not only to celebrate, but, by the white light of truth, to represent and exhibit the great things of the world—Love and War, and Death by sea and land, and Man, half-angel, half-demon—the comedy of his fortunes, and the tragedy of his passions and his fate.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, Spain experienced a quick decline from power in Europe. This fall was accompanied by what many saw as relative cultural poverty when compared to France[citation needed]. By Byron's time, Spanish culture was often considered both archaic and exotic. This led to a Romantic valorisation of Spanish culture. Many scholars note this work as a prime example of Spanish exoticism.

  Peer opinion
Sir Walter Scott maintained that its creator "has embraced every topic of human life, and sounded every string of the divine harp, from its slightest to its most powerful and heart-astounding tones." Goethe described Don Juan as "a work of boundless genius." Percy Bysshe Shelley, on the receipt of Cantos III, IV, V, bore testimony to his "wonder and delight:" "This poem carries with it at once the stamp of originality and defiance of imitation. Nothing has ever been written like it in English, nor, if I may venture to prophesy, will there be, unless carrying upon it the mark of a secondary and borrowed light.... You are building up a drama," he adds, "such as England has not yet seen, and the task is sufficiently noble and worthy of you." Again, of the fifth canto he writes, "Every word has the stamp of immortality.... It fulfils, in a certain degree, what I have long preached of producing—something wholly new and relative to the age, and yet surpassingly beautiful."

Finally, Algernon Charles Swinburne, neither a disciple nor encomiast of Byron, pays eloquent tribute to the strength and splendour of Don Juan: "Across the stanzas ... we swim forward as over the 'broad backs of the sea;' they break and glitter, hiss and laugh, murmur and move like waves that sound or that subside. There is in them a delicious resistance, an elastic motion, which salt water has and fresh water has not. There is about them a wide wholesome air, full of vivid light and constant wind, which is only felt at sea. Life undulates and Death palpitates in the splendid verse.... This gift of life and variety is the supreme quality of Byron's chief poem".

Don Juan


Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant,
The age discovers he is not the true one;
Of such as these I should not care to vaunt,
I'll therefore take our ancient friend Don Juan

In the above passage, "Juan" is rhymed with "true one", the word being read according to the rules of English orthography as /ˈdʒuːən/ jew-ən. A pattern of pronouncing foreign words according to the rules of English orthography recurs throughout the work.

Robert Southey dedication
The poem is dedicated, with some scorn, to Robert Southey, then Poet Laureate – You, Bob! are rather insolent, you know, / At being disappointed in your wish / To supersede all warblers here below, / And be the only Blackbird in the dish;. In its first publication, Byron cautions Murray: "As the Poem is to be published anonymously, omit the Dedication. I won't attack the dog in the dark. Such things are for scoundrels and renegadoes like himself".
According to the editor of the 1833 Works of Lord Byron the existence of the Dedication "became notorious" in consequence of Hobhouse's article in the Westminster Review, 1824. He adds, for Southey's consolation and encouragement, that "for several years the verses have been selling in the streets as a broadside," and that "it would serve no purpose to exclude them on the present occasion." But Southey was not appeased. He tells Allan Cunningham that "the new edition of Byron's works is ... one of the very worst symptoms of these bad times" .

The dedication also takes issue with the Lake Poets generally – You—Gentlemen! by dint of long seclusion / From better company, have kept your own ... There is a narrowness in such a notion, / Which makes me wish you'd change your lakes for Ocean – and specifically – And Coleridge, too, has lately taken wing, / But like a hawk encumbered with his hood,- / – Explaining Metaphysics to the nation — / I wish he would explain his Explanation; Wordsworth – T is poetry-at least by his assertion,; and Southey's predecessor as Laureate, Henry James Pye in the use of and pun on the old song Sing a Song of Sixpence, four and twenty Blackbirds in a pye.

The poem is in eight line iambic pentameter with the rhyme scheme ab ab ab cc – often the last rhyming couplet is used for a humor comic line or humorous bathos. This rhyme scheme is known as ottava rima. In Italian, because of the common rhymed endings, the effect of ottava rima is often highly comedic or highly tragic. Because of its few rhymed endings, the effect of ottava rima in English is often comic, and Byron chose it for this reason[citation needed]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

George Gordon, Lord Byron 

"Don Juan"
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
Grillparzer Franz: "Sappho"

Relief „Sappho“ von Rudolf  Weyr am Grillparzer-Denkmal im Volksgarten Wien, 1889
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
Hazlitt William: "Lectures on the Eng. Poets"
Keats: "Endymion"

Endymion is a poem by Keats John first published in 1818. It begins with the line "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever". Endymion is written in rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter (also known as heroic couplets). Keats based the poem on the Greek myth of Endymion, the shepherd beloved by the moon goddess Selene. The poem elaborates on the original story and renames Selene "Cynthia" (an alternative name for Artemis).


It starts by painting a rustic scene of trees, rivers, shepherds, and sheep. The shepherds gather around an altar and pray to Pan, god of shepherds and flocks. As the youths sing and dance, the elder men sit and talk about what life would be like in the shades of Elysium. However, Endymion, the "brain-sick shepherd-prince" of Mt. Latmos, is in a trancelike state, and not participating in their discourse. His sister, Peona, takes him away and brings him to her resting place where he sleeps. After he wakes, he tells Peona of his encounter with Cynthia, and how much he loved her. The poem is divided into four books, each approximately 1000 lines long. Book I gives Endymion's account of his dreams and experiences, as related to Peona, and give the background for the rest of the poem. In Book II, Endymion ventures into the underworld in search of his love. He encounters Adonis and Venus—a pairing of mortal and immortal—apparently foreshadowing a similar destiny for the mortal Endymion and his immortal paramour. Book III reveals Endymion's enduring love, and he begs the Moon not to torment him any longer as he journeys through a watery void on the sea floor. There he meets Glaucus, freeing the god from a thousand years of imprisonment by the witch Circe. Book IV, "And so he groan'd, as one by beauty slain." Endymion falls in love with a beautiful Indian maiden. Both ride winged black steeds to Mount Olympus where Cynthia awaits, only for Endymion to forsake the goddess for his new, mortal, love. Endymion and the Indian girl return to earth, the latter saying she cannot be his love. He is miserable, till quite suddenly he comes upon the Indian maiden again and she reveals that she is in fact Cynthia. She then tells him of how she tried to forget him, to move on, but that in the end, "'There is not one,/ No, no, not one/ But thee.'"

Draft of Endymion by John Keats, c. 1818
Critical reception
Endymion received scathing criticism after its release, and Keats himself noted its diffuse and unappealing style. However, he did not regret writing it, as he likened the process to leaping into the ocean to become more acquainted with his surroundings; in a poem to J. A. Hessey, he expressed that "I was never afraid of failure; for I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest."

Not all critics disliked the work. The poet Thomas Hood wrote 'Written in Keats' Endymion', in which the "Muse..charming the air to music...gave back Endymion in a dreamlike tale". Henry Morley said, "The song of Endymion throbs throughout with a noble poet's sense of all that his art means for him. What mechanical defects there are in it may even serve to quicken our sense of the youth and freshness of this voice of aspiration."


The first stanza of "Endymion"

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
John Keats 

"The Eve of St. Agnes"
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
Peacock: "Nightmare Abbey"

Nightmare Abbey was the third of Thomas Love Peacock's (Peacock Thomas Love ) novels to be published. It was written in late March and June 1818, and published in London in November of the same year by T. Hookham Jr of Old Bond Street and Baldwin, Craddock & Joy of Paternoster Row. The novel was lightly revised by the author in 1837 for republication in Volume 57 of Bentley's Standard Novels.


Plot summary
Nightmare Abbey is a Gothic topical satire in which the author pokes light-hearted fun at the romantic movement in contemporary English literature, in particular its obsession with morbid subjects, misanthropy and transcendental philosophical systems. Most of the characters in the novel are based on historical figures whom Peacock wishes to pillory. Insofar as Nightmare Abbey may be said to have a plot, it follows the fortunes of Christopher Glowry, Esquire, a morose widower who lives with his only son Scythrop in his semi-dilapidated family mansion Nightmare Abbey, which is situated on a strip of dry land between the sea and the fens in Lincolnshire.

Mr Glowry is a melancholy gentleman who likes to surround himself with servants with long faces or dismal names such as Raven, Graves or Deathshead. The few visitors he welcomes to his home are mostly of a similar cast of mind: Mr Flosky, a transcendental philosopher; Mr Toobad, a Manichaean Millenarian; Mr Listless, Scythrop's languid and world-weary college friend; and Mr Cypress, a misanthropic poet. The only exception is the sanguine Mr Hilary, who, as Mr Glowry's brother-in-law, is obliged to visit the abbey from family interests. The Reverend Mr Larynx, the vicar of nearby Claydyke, readily adapts himself to whatever company he is in.

Scythrop is recovering from a love affair which ended badly when Mr Glowry and the young woman's father quarrelled over terms and broke off the proposed match.

Thomas Love Peacock. "Nightmare Abbey"
To distract himself Scythrop takes up the study of German romantic literature and transcendental metaphysics. With a penchant for melancholy, gothic mystery and abstruse Kantian metaphysics, Scythrop throws himself into a quixotic mission of reforming the world and regenerating the human species, and dreams up various schemes to achieve these ends. Most of these involve secret societies of Illuminati. He writes a suitably impenetrable treatise on the subject, which only sells seven copies. But Scythrop is not despondent. Seven is a mystical number and he determines to seek out his readers and make of them seven golden candlesticks with which to illuminate the world. He has a hidden chamber constructed in his gloomy tower as a secret retreat from the enemies of mankind, who will no doubt seek to thwart his attempts at social regeneration.
Meanwhile, however, he is constantly distracted from these projects by his dalliance with two women – the worldly and flirtatious Marionetta and the mysterious and intellectual Stella – and by the constant stream of visitors to the abbey. Things become interesting when Mr and Mrs Hilary arrive with their niece, the beautiful Marionetta Celestina O'Carroll. She flirts with Scythrop, who quickly falls in love; but when she plays hard to get, he retreats to his tower to nurse his wounded heart. Mr Glowry tries to dissuade Scythrop from setting his mind on a woman who not only has no fortune but is insufferably merry-hearted into the bargain. When this fails he turns to Mrs Hilary, who decides in the interests of propriety to take Marionetta away. But Scythrop threatens to drink poison unless his father drops the matter and allows the young woman to stay. Mr Glowry agrees. Unknown to Scythrop, Mr Glowry and Mr Toobad have already come to a secret arrangement to marry Scythrop to Mr Toobad's daughter Celinda; but when Mr Toobad breaks the news to his daughter in London, she goes into hiding.

Back at Nightmare Abbey Marionetta, now sure of Scythrop's heart, torments him for her own pleasure. The other guests pass the time dining, playing billiards and discussing contemporary literature and philosophy, in which discussions Mr Flosky usually takes the lead. A new visitor arrives at the Abbey, Mr Asterias the ichthyologist, who is accompanied by his son Aquarius. The guests discuss Mr Asterias's theory on the existence of mermaids and tritons. It transpires that a report of a mermaid on the sea-coast of Lincolnshire is the immediate reason for Mr Asterias's visit. A few nights later he glimpses a mysterious figure on the shore near the Abbey and is convinced that it is his mermaid, but a subsequent search fails to discover anything of note.

Over the next few days Marionetta notices a remarkable change in Scythrop's deportment, for which she cannot account. Failing to draw the secret out of him, she turns to Mr Flosky for advice, but finds his comments incomprehensible. Scythrop grows every day more distrait, and Marionetta fears that he no longer loves her. She confronts him and threatens to leave him forever. He renews his undying love for her and assures her that his mysterious reserve was merely the result of his profound meditation on a scheme for the regeneration of society. A complete reconciliation is accomplished; even Mr Glowry agrees to the match, as there is still no news of Miss Toobad.


It is only now that we learn the reason for the change in Scythrop's manner. The night on which Mr Asterias spots his mermaid, Scythrop returns to his tower only to find a mysterious young woman there. She calls herself Stella and explains how she is one of the seven people who read his treatise. Fleeing from some "atrocious persecution", she had no friend to turn to until she read Scythrop's treatise and realised that here was a kindred mind who would surely not fail to assist her in her time of need. Scythrop secretes her in his hidden chamber. After several days he finds that his heart is torn between the flirtatious Marionetta and the intellectual Stella, the one worldly and sparkling, the other spiritual and mysterious. Unable to choose between them, Scythrop decides to enjoy both, but is terrified of what might happen should either of his loves learn of the other's existence.

There is a brief and rather inconsequential interruption to the proceedings when Mr Cypress, a misanthropic poet, pays a visit to the Abbey before going into exile. After dinner there is the usual intellectual discussion, after which Mr Cypress sings a tragical ballad, while Mr Hilary and Reverend Larynx enjoy a catch. After the departure of the poet there are reports of a ghost stalking the Abbey, and the appearance of a ghastly figure in the library throws the guests into consternation. The upshot of the matter is that Mr Toobad ends up in the moat.

Inevitably Scythrop's secret comes out. Mr Glowry, who has become suspicious of his son's behaviour, is the immediate cause of it. Confronting Scythrop in his tower, he mentions Marionetta, "whom you profess to love". Hearing this, Stella comes out of the hidden chamber and demands an explanation. The ensuing row comes to the attention of the other guests, who pile into Scythrop's gloomy tower. Marionetta is distraught to discover that she has a rival and faints. But her shock is nothing to that of Mr Toobad, who recognises in Stella none other than his runaway daughter Celinda.

Celinda and Marionetta both renounce their love for Scythrop and leave the Abbey forthwith, determined never to set eyes on him again. The other guests leave (even after the ghost is revealed to have been Mr Glowry's somnambulant steward Crow) and Scythrop becomes depressed. He contemplates suicide like Werther in the Goethe novel, and asks his servant Raven to bring him "a pint of port and a pistol", though he changes his mind and opts instead for "boiled fowl and Madeira".


When he renews his determination to make his exit from the world, his father begs him to give him a chance to convince one of the young women to forgive him and return to the Abbey. Scythrop promises to give him one week and not a minute more. When the week is up and there is still no sign of Mr Glowry, Scythrop temporises, convincing himself that his watch is fast. Finally Mr Glowry arrives. He is alone, but he has two letters from Celinda and Marionetta. Celinda wishes Scythrop happiness with Miss O'Carroll and announces her forthcoming marriage to Mr Flosky. Marionetta wishes Scythrop happiness with Miss Toobad and announces her forthcoming marriage to Mr Listless.

Scythrop tears the letters to shreds and consoles himself with the thought that his recent experiences "qualify me take a very advanced degree in misanthropy; and there is, therefore, good hope that I may make a figure in the world." He asks Raven to bring him "some Madeira".

Mr Christopher Glowry, Esquire
The master of Nightmare Abbey; a gentleman of an atrabilarious temperament, a widower and the father of Scythrop Glowry. Mr Glowry regularly suffers from depression and melancholy and cannot abide to see other people cheerful. He surrounds himself with domestics whose only qualification is a long face or a dismal name. His house is open to those of his friends and acquaintances who share his gloomy outlook on life. Mr Glowry is apparently a purely fictional character.
Scythrop Glowry
Mr Glowry's only son. Scythrop's forename was that of an ancestor of Mr Glowry's who hanged himself. It is generally accepted that Scythrop is a humorous portrait of Peacock's friend the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. His name is actually derived from the Greek skythrōpos (σκυθρωπος), "of sad or gloomy countenance", which does not suit Shelley; but almost everything else about him confirms this identification. Like Shelley, Scythrop is devoted to social regeneration, and has a penchant for the gothic and the mysterious. Nor is Scythrop conventionally monogamous: he would much prefer to enjoy two mistresses than choose between them. (It has also not escaped the notice of some critics that in both of Shelley's gothic novels Zastrozzi and St Irvyne, the hero is loved by two women at the same time.) Scythrop's impenetrable treatise on social regeneration, Philosophical Gas; or, a Project for a General Illumination of the Human Mind, pokes fun at Shelley's pamphleteering, his ambitions to reform society and his long-held desire to create a utopian society of kindred spirits.
Miss Marionetta Celestina O'Carroll
The orphaned daughter of Mr Glowry's youngest sister. She made a runaway love-match with an Irish officer O'Carroll. In one year her fortune was gone; in two years love was gone; and in three years the Irishman was gone. When her mother died, Marionetta was taken in by Mr Glowry's other sister, Mrs Hilary.
Thomas Love Peacock. "Nightmare Abbey"
Marionetta is a blooming and accomplished young lady; she combines in her character the Allegro Vivace of the O'Carrolls and the Andante Doloroso of the Glowries. She is pretty and graceful, and proficient in music. Her conversation is sprightly but light in nature. Moral sympathies have no place in her mind. She is capricious and a coquette. She is generally identified with Harriet Westbrook, a schoolmate of Shelley's sister Hellen. She and Shelley eloped to Scotland and got married in 1811; he was 19 and she was 16 at the time. Three years later Shelley left her and fell in love with and eventually married Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (the future Mary Shelley). In 1816, barely a year before Peacock began Nightmare Abbey, Harriet committed suicide and Shelley married Mary. It has also been noted that in 1814–15 Peacock himself was involved in a love triangle with two women: Marianne de St Croix, to whom he had been attached for many years; and a supposedly rich heiress who fell in love with him. It has been suggested that there is something of Marianne in Marionetta.
Miss Celinda Toobad
Mr Toobad's daughter. Celinda's intellectual and philosophical qualities are contrasted with the more conventional femininity of Marionetta. She is the "Penserosa" to Marionetta's "Allegra". Her father, who describes her as being "altogether as gloomy and antithalian a young lady as Mr Glowry himself could desire", sends her to a German convent to finish her education. When her father arranges for her to marry a man she has never met, she absconds. She later turns up at Nightmare Abbey to seek the assistance of Scythrop Glowry, the author of a treatise that has affected her greatly, not realising the Scythrop is none other than her intended husband.

She adopts the pseudonym Stella, the name of the eponymous heroine of a drama by Goethe who is involved in a similar love-triangle. There is some uncertainty about the identity of Celinda's historical counterpart. It is often said that she is based upon Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. In 1814 Shelley abandoned his wife Harriet Westbrook and eloped with the 16-year-old daughter of William Godwin and the late Mary Wollstonecraft, taking with him also Mary's 16-year-old stepsister Jane (later Claire) Clairmont. But Celinda's appearance is quite different from that of the future Mary Shelley, and this has led some commentators to surmise that the person Peacock had in mind when he created Celinda/Stella was in fact Elizabeth Hitchener or Claire Clairmont.
Shelley had met Hitchener at Hurstpierpont in Sussex in 1811; the following year she paid a lengthy visit to Shelley and Harriet.
Claire had lived with Shelley and Mary for much of the time from their elopement in 1814 until Shelley's death in August 1822; she was undoubtedly very close to Shelley throughout this period, though how close their relationship was is not known.
Thomas Love Peacock. "Nightmare Abbey"
Mr Ferdinando Flosky
A very lachrymose and morbid gentleman, of some note in the literary world. His name is identified in a footnote by Peacock as a corruption of Filosky, from the Greek philoskios (φιλοσκιος), "a lover, or sectator, of shadows". Mr Flosky is a satirical portrait of the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. His criticisms of contemporary literature echo remarks made by Coleridge in his Biographia Literaria; his ability to compose verses in his sleep is a playful reference to Coleridge's account of the composition of Kubla Khan; and his claim to have written the best parts of his friends' books also echoes a similar claim made by Coleridge. Both men are deeply influenced by German philosophy, especially the transcendental idealism of Immanuel Kant. Throughout the novel there are many minor allusions that confirm the Flosky-Coleridge identification. Peacock also satirises Coleridge as Mr Skionar in Crotchet Castle.
Mr Hilary
Scythrop's uncle, the husband of Mr Glowry's elder sister. His name is derived from the Latin hilaris, "cheerful", which is an apt description of his outlook on life. If Nightmare Abbey has a character who acts as the author's mouthpiece, it is surely Mr Hilary. His criticisms of the contemporary "conspiracy against cheerfulness" and his advocacy of nature, the music of Mozart and the life-affirming wisdom of the ancient Greeks are distinctly Peacockian qualities.
Mrs Hilary
Mr Hilary's wife; a model of propriety and social rectitude.
Mr Toobad
A Manichaean Millenarian. That is to say, he is a Manichaean in that he believes that the world is governed by two powers, one good and one evil, and he is a Millenarian in that he believes that the evil power is currently in the ascendant but will eventually be succeeded by the good power – "though not in our time". His favourite quotation is Revelation 12:12: "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come among you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time". His character is based on J. F. Newton, a member of Shelley's circle.
Reverend Mr Larynx
The vicar of Claydyke, a village about ten miles from Nightmare Abbey. Like most clergymen in Peacock's novels, he loves nothing better than "a dinner and a bed at the house of any country gentleman in distress for a companion".
The Honourable Mr Listless
A former fellow-collegian of Scythrop's and a fashionable young gentleman. Mr Glowry comes across him on a visit to London and is sufficiently impressed by his gloomy and misanthropical nil curo that he invites him to Nightmare Abbey. He is based on Sir Lumley Skeffington, a friend of Shelley's, and represents the "reading public" (a phrase which occurs frequently in Coleridge's critical works and is thought to have been coined by him).
Mr Asterias
An ichthyologist, Mr Asterias is an amateur gentleman scientist. His name is that of the genus of echinoderms to which starfish belong.
Thomas Love Peacock. "Nightmare Abbey"
He is a comical character, but his denunciations of the "inexhaustible varieties of ennui" and his enthusiasm for "the more humane pursuits of philosophy and science" set him apart from the melancholic guests and identify him firmly with Mr Hilary and Peacock himself.
Mr Cypress
A misanthropic poet, who is about to go into exile. Mr Cypress is a friend whom Scythrop had known at college and a great favourite of Mr Glowry's. He is based on Lord Byron. Although he only appears briefly in a single chapter, and one which has all the feeling of being an interpolation that does nothing to advance the plot, Mr Cypress is partly the reason Peacock wrote Nightmare Abbey in the first place. Writing to Shelley on 30 May 1818, Peacock notes: "I have almost finished Nightmare Abbey. I think it necessary to 'make a stand' against 'encroachments' of black bile. The fourth canto of Childe Harold is really too bad. I cannot consent to be auditor tantum of this systematical 'poisoning' of the 'mind' of the 'reading public'". Most of Mr Cypress's conversation in Chapter XI is made up of phrases borrowed from the fourth canto of Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, whose misanthropy Peacock could not stomach.
Mr Listless's French valet. He also doubles as Mr Listless's walking memory, constantly reminding his master of things that Mr Listless is too listless to bother remembering for himself (such as whether he ever saw a mermaid).
Miss Emily Girouette
A young woman with whom Scythrop is for a time in love. He meets her at his uncle Mr Hilary's house in London and the match is favourably viewed by both Mr Glowry and Mr Girouette, but the latter quarrel over terms and the match is called off. Emily and Scythrop pledge their undying love for one another, but within three weeks Emily is married to the Honourable Mr Lackwit. She is usually identified with Harriet Grove, Shelley's cousin and first love. In 1809 Shelley developed an attachment for her, but when she reported his republican and atheistic views to her father, the pair were separated. Shelley poured his feelings of regret into his poetry. Emily's surname, Girouette, is French for "weathercock", which is probably an allusion to the apparent facility with which Harriet transferred her affections elsewhere after she and Shelley were forced to give up their affair. In 1811 Harriet married William Helyar of Sedghill and Coker Court, to whom she bore 14 children.
Mr Girouette
Emily Girouette's father. He does not appear in the novel and is mentioned only once.
  The Honourable Mr Lackwit
Emily Girouette's husband after she and Scythrop become forcibly estranged. He does not appear in the novel and is mentioned only once.

Mr Glowry's butler.
Mr Glowry's steward.
Mr Glowry's valet. It is Mr Glowry's opinion that he is of French extraction and that his name is a corrupt form of the French squellette, "skeleton".
One of Mr Glowry's grooms.
One of Mr Glowry's grooms.

Diggory Deathshead
Formerly Mr Glowry's footman. He was hired solely on account of his gloomy name, but Mr Glowry was horrified to discover that he had a round ruddy face, a pair of laughing eyes and was always smiling. By the time Mr Glowry gives him his discharge, he has bedded all the maids and left Mr Glowry with a flourishing colony of young Deathsheads.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Famous passages and quotations

MR FLOSKY: Modern literature is a north-east wind – a blight of the human soul. I take credit to myself for having helped to make it so. The way to produce fine fruit is to blight the flower. You call this a paradox. Marry, so be it. Ponder thereon.
There are, indeed, some learned casuists, who maintain that love has no language, and that all the misunderstandings and dissensions of lovers arise from the fatal habit of employing words on a subject to which words are inapplicable; that love, beginning with looks, that is to say, with the physiognomical expression of congenial mental dispositions, tends through a regular gradation of signs and symbols of affection, to that consummation which is most devoutly to be wished; and that it neither is necessary that there should be, nor probable that there would be, a single word spoken from first to last between two sympathetic spirits, were it not that the arbitrary institutions of society have raised, at every step of this very simple process, so many complicated impediments and barriers in the shape of settlements and ceremonies, parents and guardians, lawyers, Jew-brokers, and parsons, that many an adventurous knight (who, to obtain the conquest of the Hesperian fruit, is obliged to fight his way through all these monsters), is either repulsed at the onset, or vanquished before the achievement of his enterprise: and such a quantity of unnatural talking is rendered inevitably necessary through all the stages of the progression, that the tender and volatile spirit of love often takes flight on the pinions of some of the επεα πτεροεντα, or winged words which are pressed into his service in despite of himself.

MR CYPRESS: Sir, I have quarrelled with my wife; and a man who has quarrelled with his wife is absolved from all duty to his country.
Scythrop ... threw himself into his arm-chair, crossed his left foot over his right knee, placed the hollow of his left hand on the interior ancle of his left leg, rested his right elbow on the elbow of the chair, placed the ball of his right thumb against his right temple, curved the forefinger along the upper part of his forehead, rested the point of the middle finger on the bridge of his nose, and the points of the two others on the lower part of the palm, fixed his eyes intently on the veins in the back of his left hand, and sat in this position like the immoveable Theseus, who, as is well known to many who have not been at college, and to some few who have, sedet, æternumque sedebit. We hope the admirers of the minutiæ in poetry and romance will appreciate this accurate description of a pensive attitude.

see also: Thomas Love Peacock
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
Walter Scott: "Heart of Midlothian"

The Heart of Midlothian is the seventh of Sir Walter Scott’s (Scott Walter) Waverley Novels. It was originally published in four volumes on 25 July 1818, under the title of Tales of My Landlord, 2nd series, and the author was given as "Jedediah Cleishbotham, Schoolmaster and Parish-clerk of Gandercleugh". Although the identity of the author of the Waverley Novels was well known by this time, Scott still chose to write under a pseudonym. The book was released only seven months after the highly successful Rob Roy. Scott was at the time recovering from illness, and wrote at an even more furious pace than usual. When the book was released, it more than matched the popularity of his last novel.

Much of the dialogue is in Lowland Scots, and some editions carry a glossary.

Plot summary
The title of the book refers to the Old Tolbooth Prison in Edinburgh, Scotland, at the time in the heart of the Scottish county of Midlothian. The historical backdrop was the event known as the Porteous Riots. In 1736, a riot broke out in Edinburgh over the execution of two smugglers. The Captain of the City Guards, Captain John Porteous, ordered the soldiers to fire into the crowd, killing several people. Porteous was later killed by a lynch mob who stormed the Old Tolbooth. Scott's telling emphasises the gruesome details of the killing: he is lynched from a dyer's pole, using a rope taken from a local draper's shop.

After a short while he is dragged down and stripped of his nightgown and shirt, which is then wrapped around his head before he was hauled up again. However, the mob had not tied his hands and, as he struggled free, they break his arm and shoulder, while another attempts to set light to his naked foot. He is taken down a further time and cruelly beaten before being hung up again, and dies a short while later, just before midnight on 7 September 1736.

The second, and main element of the novel was based on a story Scott claimed to have received in an unsigned letter.

Effie Deans by John Everett Millais
It was about a certain Helen Walker who had travelled all the way to London by foot, in order to receive a royal pardon for her sister, who was unjustly charged with infanticide. Scott put Jeanie Deans in the place of Walker, a young woman from a family of highly devout Presbyterians. Jeanie goes to London, partly by foot, hoping to achieve an audience with the Queen through the influence of the Duke of Argyll.

The Old Tolbooth, Edinburgh
Analysis and adaptations
Jeanie Deans is the first woman among Scott's protagonists, and also the first to come from the lower classes. While the heroine is idealized for her religious devotion and her moral rectitude, Scott nevertheless ridicules the moral certitude represented by the branch of Presbyterianism known as Cameronians, represented in the novel by Jeanie’s father David.
Also central to the novel is the early-18th century Jacobitism, a theme found in so many of Scott’s novels. Scott’s sympathies can be seen in the ideal figure of the Duke of Argyll, a moderate on these issues.

The Heart of Midlothian was adapted for the stage by Dion Boucicault in the 1860s.

It has been adapted for the screen once, in 1914, and for television once, in 1966. Two operas have also been based upon the novel - La Prigione di Edimburgo (Imprisoned in Edinburgh) by the Italian composer Federico Ricci (1809–1877) and Jeanie Deans by the Scottish classical composer, Hamish MacCunn (1868–1916).

Characters in "The Heart of Midlothian"

-Jeanie Deans, young woman and heroïne of the novel
-David Deans or Davie Deans, father of Jeanie and staunch Cameronian
-Effie or Euphemia Deans, sister of Jeanie, the 'Lily of St. Leonards'
-Reuben Butler, fiancé of Jeanie Deans
-Bartoline Saddletree, saddle maker and employer of Effie
-Dumbiedikes, a laird, in love with Jeanie Deans
-George Robertson, alias George Staunton, villain of the novel
-Madge Wildfire, alias Magdalen Murdockson, mad woman
-Meg or Margaret Murdockson, mother of Madge
-Duke of Argyle
-Queen Caroline
-Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Arrangement in Yellow and Gray":
Effie Deans by James McNeill Whistler
Sir Walter Scott

  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: "Frankenstein"
Shelley Mary

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, née Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (born Aug. 30, 1797, London, Eng.—died Feb. 1, 1851, London), English Romantic novelist best known as the author of Frankenstein.


Mary Shelley by Richard Rothwell (1840–41)
  The only daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, she met the young poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1812 and eloped with him to France in July 1814. The couple were married in 1816, after Shelley’s first wife had committed suicide. After her husband’s death in 1822, she returned to England and devoted herself to publicizing Shelley’s writings and to educating their only surviving child, Percy Florence Shelley. She published her late husband’s Posthumous Poems (1824); she also edited his Poetical Works (1839), with long and invaluable notes, and his prose works. Her Journal is a rich source of Shelley biography, and her letters are an indispensable adjunct.

Mary Shelley’s best-known book is Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818, revised 1831), a text that is part Gothic novel and part philosophical novel; it is also often considered an early example of science fiction. It narrates the dreadful consequences that arise after a scientist has artificially created a human being. (The man-made monster in this novel inspired a similar creature in numerous American horror films.)

She wrote several other novels, including Valperga (1823), The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck (1830), Lodore (1835), and Falkner (1837); The Last Man (1826), an account of the future destruction of the human race by a plague, is often ranked as her best work.

Her travel book History of a Six Weeks’ Tour (1817) recounts the continental tour she and Shelley took in 1814 following their elopement and then recounts their summer near Geneva in 1816.

Late 20th-century publications of her casual writings include The Journals of Mary Shelley, 1814–1844 (1987), edited by Paula R. Feldman and Diana Scott-Kilvert, and Selected Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1995), edited by Betty T. Bennett.

Encyclopædia Britannica

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley by George J. Stodart, after a monument by Henry Weekes
Mary Shelley "Frankenstein"

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley about eccentric scientist Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty. The first edition was published anonymously in London in 1818. Shelley's name appears on the second edition, published in France in 1823.

Shelley had travelled through Europe in 1814, journeying along the river Rhine in Germany with a stop in Gernsheim which is just 17 km (10 mi) away from Frankenstein Castle, where two centuries before an alchemist was engaged in experiments. Later, she traveled in the region of Geneva (Switzerland)—where much of the story takes place—and the topics of galvanism and other similar occult ideas were themes of conversation among her companions, particularly her lover and future husband, Percy Shelley. Mary, Percy, Lord Byron, and John Polidori decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. After thinking for days, Shelley dreamt about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what he had made; her dream later evolved into the story within the novel. Frankenstein is infused with elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement and is also considered to be one of the earliest examples of science fiction. Brian Aldiss has argued that it should be considered the first true science fiction story, because unlike in previous stories with fantastical elements resembling those of later science fiction, the central character "makes a deliberate decision" and "turns to modern experiments in the laboratory" to achieve fantastic results. It has had a considerable influence across literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories, films, and plays. Since publication of the novel, the name "Frankenstein" is often used to refer to the monster itself, as is done in the stage adaptation by Peggy Webling. This usage is sometimes considered erroneous, but usage commentators regard the monster sense of "Frankenstein" as well-established and an acceptable usage. In the novel, the monster is identified via words such as "creature", "monster", "fiend", "wretch", "vile insect", "daemon", "being", and "it". Speaking to Victor Frankenstein, the monster refers to himself as "the Adam of your labours", and elsewhere as someone who "would have" been "your Adam", but is instead "your fallen angel."  
Volume I, first edition
Frankenstein is written in the form of a frame story that starts with Captain Robert Walton writing letters to his sister. It takes place during an unspecified time in the 18th Century, as the letters' dates are shown as "17—".
Captain Walton's introductory frame narrative
The novel Frankenstein is written in epistolary form, documenting a correspondence between Captain Robert Walton and his sister, Margaret Walton Saville. Walton is a failed writer who sets out to explore the North Pole and expand his scientific knowledge in hopes of achieving fame. During the voyage the crew spots a dog sled mastered by a gigantic figure. A few hours later, the crew rescues a nearly frozen and emaciated man named Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein has been in pursuit of the gigantic man observed by Walton's crew. Frankenstein starts to recover from his exertion; he sees in Walton the same over-ambitiousness and recounts a story of his life's miseries to Walton as a warning.
Victor Frankenstein's narrative
Victor begins by telling of his childhood. Born into a wealthy Geneva family, Victor and his brothers, Ernest and William, are encouraged to seek a greater understanding of the world through science. As a young boy, Victor is obsessed with studying outdated theories that focus on simulating natural wonders. When Victor is four years old, his parents adopt an orphan, Elizabeth Lavenza, with whom Victor later falls in love.

Witnessing a lightning strike on an oak tree inspires Victor to harness its power for his experiments. Weeks before he leaves for the University of Ingolstadt in Germany, his mother dies of scarlet fever, creating further impetus towards his experiments. At university, he excels at chemistry and other sciences, soon developing a secret technique to impart life to non-living matter, which eventually leads to his creation of the Monster.

Because of the difficulty in replicating the minute parts of the human body, Victor is forced to make the Creature roughly eight feet tall. As a result, the beautiful creation of his dreams is instead hideous, with yellow eyes and skin that barely conceals the muscle tissue and blood vessels underneath. Repulsed by his work, Victor flees. Saddened by the rejection, the Creature disappears.

Victor falls ill from the experience and is nursed back to health by his childhood friend, Henry Clerval. After a four-month recovery, he returns home when he learns of the murder of his brother William. Justine, William's nanny, is hanged for the crime after William's locket is found in her pocket. Upon arriving in Geneva, Victor sees the Monster at the crime scene, leading him to believe the Creature is responsible. However, he doubts anyone would believe him enough to stop the hanging.

Ravaged by grief and guilt, Victor retreats into the mountains. The Monster locates him, pleading for Victor to hear his tale. Now intelligent and articulate, the Creature tells how encounters with people led to his fear of them and drives him into the woods.

  While living near a cottage, he grew fond of the family living there. The Creature learned to speak by listening to them and he taught himself to read after discovering a lost satchel of books.

When he saw his reflection in a pool, he realised his physical appearance was hideous. Despite this, he approached the family in hopes of becoming their friend, but they were frightened and fled their home. The Creature then burned the cottage in a fit of rage.

The Monster then demands that Victor create a female companion like himself. He argues that as a living being, he has a right to happiness. The Creature promises he and his mate will vanish into the South American wilderness, never to reappear, if Victor grants his request.

Fearing for his family, Victor reluctantly agrees. Clerval accompanies him to England, but they separate in Scotland. Victor suspects that the Monster is following him. Working on the female creature on the Orkney Islands, he is plagued by premonitions of disaster, particularly the idea that creating a mate for the Creature might lead to the breeding of a race that could plague mankind. He destroys the female creature after he sees the Monster watching through a window.

The Monster confronts him, vowing to be with Victor and Elizabeth on their upcoming wedding night. The Monster then kills Clerval, leaving the corpse to be found where Victor lands in Ireland. Victor is imprisoned for Clerval's murder and suffers another mental breakdown in prison. After being acquitted, he returns home with his father.

In Geneva, Victor marries Elizabeth and prepares to fight the Monster. Wrongly believing the Creature threatened his life, Victor asks Elizabeth to stay in her room while he looks for "the fiend". While Victor searches the house and grounds, the Creature murders Elizabeth. From the window, Victor sees the Monster, who taunts Victor with Elizabeth's corpse. Grief-stricken by the deaths of William, Justine, Clerval, and Elizabeth, Victor's father dies. Seeking revenge, Victor pursues the Monster to the North Pole; however, he does not kill his creation.

Captain Walton's concluding frame narrative
At the end of Victor's narrative, Captain Walton resumes the telling of the story. A few days after the creature vanishes, the ship becomes entombed in ice and Walton's crew insists on returning south once they are freed. In spite of a passionate speech from Frankenstein, encouraging the crew to push further north, Walton realises that he must relent to his men's demands and agrees to head for home. Frankenstein dies shortly thereafter.

Walton discovers the creature on his ship, mourning over Frankenstein's body. Walton hears the creature's misguided reasons for his vengeance and expressions of remorse. Frankenstein's death has not brought him peace. Rather, his crimes have increased his misery and alienation, and his words are almost exactly identical to Victor's own in describing himself. He vows to kill himself on his own funeral pyre so that no others will ever know of his existence. Walton watches as he drifts away on an ice raft that is soon lost in darkness, never to be seen again.

How I, then a young girl, came to think of, and to dilate upon, so very hideous an idea?

During the rainy summer of 1816, the "Year Without a Summer", the world was locked in a long cold volcanic winter caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815. Mary Shelley, aged 18, and her lover (and later husband) Percy Bysshe Shelley, visited Lord Byron at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva in Switzerland. The weather was consistently too cold and dreary that summer to enjoy the outdoor holiday activities they had planned, so the group retired indoors until dawn.

Sitting around a log fire at Byron's villa, the company amused themselves by reading German ghost stories translated into French from the book Fantasmagoriana, then Byron proposed that they "each write a ghost story". Unable to think of a story, young Mary Godwin became anxious: "Have you thought of a story? I was asked each morning, and each morning I was forced to reply with a mortifying negative." During one evening in the middle of summer, the discussions turned to the nature of the principle of life. "Perhaps a corpse would be re-animated", Mary noted, "galvanism had given token of such things". It was after midnight before they retired, and unable to sleep, she became possessed by her imagination as she beheld the grim terrors of her "waking dream".

I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.

In September 2011 the astronomer Donald Olson, after a visit to the Lake Geneva villa the previous year, and inspecting data about the motion of the moon and stars, concluded that her waking dream took place "between 2am and 3am" 16 June 1816, several days after the initial idea by Lord Byron that they each write a ghost story.

She began writing what she assumed would be a short story. With Percy Shelley's encouragement, she expanded this tale into a full-fledged novel. She later described that summer in Switzerland as the moment "when I first stepped out from childhood into life". Shelley wrote the first four chapters in the weeks following the suicide of her half-sister Fanny. Byron managed to write just a fragment based on the vampire legends he heard while travelling the Balkans, and from this John Polidori created The Vampyre (1819), the progenitor of the romantic vampire literary genre. Thus, two legendary horror tales originated from this one circumstance.

The group talked about Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment ideas as well. Shelley believed the Enlightenment idea that society could progress and grow if political leaders used their powers responsibly; however, she also believed the Romantic ideal that misused power could destroy society (Bennett 36–42).

Mary's and Percy Bysshe Shelley's manuscripts for the first three-volume edition in 1818 (written 1816–1817), as well as Mary Shelley's fair copy for her publisher, are now housed in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. The Bodleian acquired the papers in 2004, and they belong now to the Abinger Collection. On 1 October 2008, the Bodleian published a new edition of Frankenstein which contains comparisons of Mary Shelley's original text with Percy Shelley's additions and interventions alongside. The new edition is edited by Charles E. Robinson: The Original Frankenstein (ISBN 978-1851243969).

Shelley completed her writing in May 1817, and Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was first published on 1 January 1818 by the small London publishing house of Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones.

It was issued anonymously, with a preface written for Mary by Percy Bysshe Shelley and with a dedication to philosopher William Godwin, her father.

It was published in an edition of just 500 copies in three volumes, the standard "triple-decker" format for 19th-century first editions.

The second edition of Frankenstein was published on 11 August 1822 in two volumes (by G. and W. B. Whittaker) following the success of the stage play Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein by Richard Brinsley Peake; this edition credited Mary Shelley as the author.

On 31 October 1831, the first "popular" edition in one volume appeared, published by Henry Colburn & Richard Bentley.

This edition was heavily revised by Mary Shelley, partially because of pressure to make the story more conservative, and included a new, longer preface by her, presenting a somewhat embellished version of the genesis of the story.

This edition tends to be the one most widely read now, although editions containing the original 1818 text are still published. Many scholars prefer the 1818 text, arguing that it preserves the spirit of Shelley's original publication (see Anne K. Mellor's "Choosing a Text of Frankenstein to Teach" in the W.W. Norton Critical edition).

Name origins

The creature

Part of Frankenstein's rejection of his creation is the fact that he does not give it a name, which gives it a lack of identity. Instead it is referred to by words such as "monster", "creature", "demon", "devil", "fiend", "wretch", and "it".

When Frankenstein converses with the creature in Chapter 10, he addresses it as "vile insect", "abhorred monster", "fiend", "wretched devil", and "abhorred devil".

During a telling of Frankenstein, Shelley referred to the creature as "Adam". Shelley was referring to the first man in the Garden of Eden, as in her epigraph:

Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould Me man? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me?

John Milton, Paradise Lost (X.743–5)

The creature has often been mistakenly called "Frankenstein". In 1908 one author said "It is strange to note how well-nigh universally the term "Frankenstein" is misused, even by intelligent people, as describing some hideous monster". Edith Wharton's The Reef (1916) describes an unruly child as an "infant Frankenstein."

David Lindsay's "The Bridal Ornament", published in The Rover, 12 June 1844, mentioned "the maker of poor Frankenstein."

After the release of James Whale's popular 1931 film Frankenstein, the public at large began speaking of the creature itself as "Frankenstein".

A reference to this occurs in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and in several subsequent films in the series, as well as in film titles such as Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

Victor Frankenstein's surname
Mary Shelley maintained that she derived the name Frankenstein from a dream-vision. Despite her public claims of originality, however, a number of other sources have been suggested as Shelley's actual inspiration. Literally, in German, the name Frankenstein means "Stone of the Franks". The name is associated with various places in Germany, such as Castle Frankenstein (Burg Frankenstein) in Darmstadt, Hesse, or Castle Frankenstein in Frankenstein, Palatinate. There is also a castle called Frankenstein in Bad Salzungen, Thuringia, and a municipality called Frankenstein in Saxony. Until 1945, Ząbkowice Śląskie, now a city in Silesia, Poland, was known as Frankenstein in Schlesien, which was the location of the 1606 gravediggers affair—yet another suggested inspiration for the writer.[citation needed] Finally, the name is carried by the noble House of Franckenstein from Franconia.

Radu Florescu argues that Mary and Percy Shelley visited Castle Frankenstein, near Darmstadt, in 1814 during their return to England from their elopement to Switzerland. It was at this castle that a notorious alchemist, Konrad Dippel, experimented with human bodies, and Florescu reasons that Mary suppressed mention of her visit in order to maintain her public claim of originality. A literary essay by A. J. Day supports Florescu's position that Mary Shelley knew of and visited Castle Frankenstein before writing her debut novel. Day includes details of an alleged description of the Frankenstein castle that exists in Mary Shelley's 'lost' journals. According to Jörg Heléne, the 'lost journals', as well as Florescu's claims, cannot be verified.

Victor Frankenstein's given name
A possible interpretation of the name Victor derives from Paradise Lost by John Milton, a great influence on Shelley (a quotation from Paradise Lost is on the opening page of Frankenstein and Shelley even allows the monster himself to read it).
Milton frequently refers to God as "the Victor" in Paradise Lost, and Shelley sees Victor as playing God by creating life. In addition to this, Shelley's portrayal of the monster owes much to the character of Satan in Paradise Lost; indeed, the monster says, after reading the epic poem, that he empathises with Satan's role in the story.

There are many similarities between Victor and Percy Shelley, Mary's husband. Victor was a pen name of Percy Shelley's, as in the collection of poetry he wrote with his sister Elizabeth, Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire. There is speculation that one of Mary Shelley's models for Victor Frankenstein was Percy, who at Eton had "experimented with electricity and magnetism as well as with gunpowder and numerous chemical reactions", and whose rooms at Oxford were filled with scientific equipment.

Percy Shelley was the first-born son of a wealthy country squire with strong political connections and a descendant of Sir Bysshe Shelley, 1st Baronet of Castle Goring, and Richard Fitzalan, 10th Earl of Arundel. Victor's family is one of the most distinguished of that republic and his ancestors were counsellors and syndics.

Illustration by Theodor von Holst from the frontispiece of the 1831 edition
Percy had a sister named Elizabeth. Victor had an adopted sister, named Elizabeth.

On 22 February 1815, Mary Shelley delivered a two-month premature baby and the baby died two weeks later. Percy did not care about the condition of this premature infant and left with Claire, Mary's stepsister, for a lurid affair. When Victor saw the creature come to life he fled the apartment, though the newborn creature approached him, as a child would a parent. The question of Victor's responsibility to the creature is one of the main themes of the book.

Modern Prometheus
The Modern Prometheus is the novel's subtitle (though some modern editions now drop the subtitle, mentioning it only in an introduction). Prometheus, in later versions of Greek mythology, was the Titan who created mankind at the behest of Zeus. He made a being in the image of the gods that could have a spirit breathed into it. Prometheus taught man to hunt, read, and heal their sick, but after he tricked Zeus into accepting poor-quality offerings from humans, Zeus kept fire from mankind.

Prometheus being the creator, took back the fire from Zeus to give to man. When Zeus discovered this, he sentenced Prometheus to be eternally punished by fixing him to a rock of Caucasus, where each day an eagle would peck out his liver, only for the liver to regrow the next day because of his immortality as a god. He was intended to suffer alone for eternity, but eventually Heracles (Hercules) released him.

Prometheus was also a myth told in Latin but was a very different story. In this version Prometheus makes man from clay and water, again a very relevant theme to Frankenstein, as Victor rebels against the laws of nature (how life is naturally made) and as a result is punished by his creation. Prometheus, a Greek Titan who sculpted man from clay and then stole the light of fire from the gods to give to man, these acts can be attributed to the enabling of civilisation and the gift of knowledge man acquired from him. Zeus punished Prometheus; bound to stone while an eagle each day would eat away Prometheus's liver. Suffering this agonising torment Prometheus would face his punishment for eternity.

An English editorial cartoonist conceives the Irish Fenian movement as akin to Frankenstein's creature, in the wake of the Phoenix Park murders.
Illustration from an 1882 issue of Punch
“Prometheus became a figure who represented human striving, particularly the quest for scientific knowledge, and the risk of overreaching or unintended consequences. In particular, he was regarded in the Romantic era as embodying the lone genius whose efforts to improve human existence could also result in tragedy: Mary Shelley, for instance, gave The Modern Prometheus as the subtitle to her novel Frankenstein.”  Mary Shelley seemingly titled the book after the conflicted principles of knowledge in the story symbolising Victor as the Modern Prometheus.

The Titan in the Greek mythology of Prometheus parallels Victor Frankenstein. Victor's work by creating man by new means reflects the same innovative work of the Titan in creating humans.

Some have claimed that for Mary Shelley, Prometheus was not a hero but rather something of a devil, whom she blamed for bringing fire to man and thereby seducing the human race to the vice of eating meat (fire brought cooking which brought hunting and killing).

Byron was particularly attached to the play Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus, and Percy Shelley would soon write his own Prometheus Unbound (1820). The term "Modern Prometheus" was actually coined by Immanuel Kant, referring to Benjamin Franklin and his then recent experiments with electricity.

Shelley's sources
Shelley incorporated a number of different sources into her work, one of which was the Promethean myth from Ovid. The influence of John Milton's Paradise Lost, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, are also clearly evident within the novel. Frankenstein also contains multiple references to her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, and her major work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman which discusses the lack of equal education for males and females. The inclusion of her mother's ideas in her work is also related to the theme of creation and motherhood in the novel. Mary is likely to have acquired some ideas for Frankenstein's character from Humphry Davy's book Elements of Chemical Philosophy, in which he had written that "science has ... bestowed upon man powers which may be called creative; which have enabled him to change and modify the beings around him ...". References to the French Revolution run through the novel; a possible source may lie in François-Félix Nogaret's Le Miroir des événemens actuels, ou la Belle au plus offrant (1790): a political parable about scientific progress featuring an inventor named Frankénsteïn who creates a life-sized automaton.

Within the last thirty years or so, many writers and historians have attempted to associate several then popular natural philosophers (now called physical scientists) to Shelley's work due to several notable similarities.

Two of the most notable then-contemporary natural philosophers have been Giovanni Aldini and his many public attempts in London from 1801 to 1804 at human reanimation through bio-electric Galvanism (as reported by History Channel), and Johann Konrad Dippel who was supposed to have developed chemical means to extend the life span of humans. In both cases, while Shelley was obviously aware of these men and their activities, in no published or released notes written by Shelley, does Shelley herself make any mention or reference of these men or their experiments.
Initial critical reception of the book mostly was unfavourable, compounded by confused speculation as to the identity of the author. Sir Walter Scott wrote that "upon the whole, the work impresses us with a high idea of the author's original genius and happy power of expression", but the Quarterly Review described it "a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity". Mary Shelley had contact with some of the most influential minds of her time. Shelley's father, William Godwin, was very progressive and encouraged his daughter to participate in the conversations that took place in his home with various scientific minds, many of whom were actively engaged in the study of anatomy. She was familiar with the ideas of using dead bodies for study, the newer theory of using electricity to animate the dead, and the concerns of religion and the general public regarding the morality of tampering with God's work.

Despite the reviews, Frankenstein achieved an almost immediate popular success. It became widely known especially through melodramatic theatrical adaptations—Mary Shelley saw a production of Presumption; or The Fate of Frankenstein, a play by Richard Brinsley Peake, in 1823. A French translation appeared as early as 1821 (Frankenstein: ou le Prométhée Moderne, translated by Jules Saladin).

Frankenstein has been both well received and disregarded since its anonymous publication in 1818.

A promotional photo of Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's monster, using Jack Pierce's makeup design
Critical reviews of that time demonstrate these two views. The Belle Assemblee described the novel as "very bold fiction" (139). The Quarterly Review stated that "the author has the power of both conception and language" (185). Sir Walter Scott, writing in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine congratulated "the author's original genius and happy power of expression" (620), although he is less convinced about the way in which the monster gains knowledge about the world and language. The Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany hoped to see "more productions from this author" (253).
In two other reviews where the author is known as the daughter of William Godwin, the criticism of the novel makes reference to the feminine nature of Mary Shelley. The British Critic attacks the novel's flaws as the fault of the author: "The writer of it is, we understand, a female; this is an aggravation of that which is the prevailing fault of the novel; but if our authoress can forget the gentleness of her sex, it is no reason why we should; and we shall therefore dismiss the novel without further comment" (438). The Literary Panorama and National Register attacks the novel as a "feeble imitation of Mr. Godwin's novels" produced by the "daughter of a celebrated living novelist" (414).

Despite these initial dismissals, critical reception has been largely positive since the mid-20th century. Major critics such as M. A. Goldberg and Harold Bloom have praised the "aesthetic and moral" relevance of the novel and in more recent years the novel has become a popular subject for psychoanalytic and feminist criticism. The novel today is generally considered to be a landmark work of romantic and gothic literature, as well as science fiction.

In his 1981 non-fiction book Danse Macabre, author Stephen King considers Frankenstein's monster (along with Dracula and the Werewolf) to be an archetype of numerous horrific creations that followed in literature, film, and television, in a role he refers to as "The Thing Without A Name."

He considers such contemporary creations as the 1951 film The Thing from Another World and The Incredible Hulk as examples of similar monstrosities that have followed in its wake. He views the book as "a Shakespearean tragedy" and argues: "its classical unity is broken only by the author's uncertainty as to where the fatal flaw lies—is it in Victor's hubris (usurping a power that belongs only to God) or in his failure to take responsibility for his creation after endowing it with the life-spark?"

Frankenstein discussed controversial topics and touched on religious ideas. Victor Frankenstein plays God when he creates a new being. Frankenstein deals with Christian and metaphysical themes. The importance of Paradise Lost and the creature's belief that it is "a true history" brings a religious tone to the novel.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


"[Frankenstein] is the most wonderful work to have been written at twenty years of age that I ever heard of. You are now five and twenty. And, most fortunately, you have pursued a course of reading, and cultivated your mind in a manner the most admirably adapted to make you a great and successful author. If you cannot be independent, who should be?"

— William Godwin to Mary Shelley

"[Euthanasia] was never heard of more; even her name perished....The private chronicles, from which the foregoing relation has been collected, end with the death of Euthanasia. It is therefore in public histories alone that we find an account of the last years of the life of Castruccio."

— From Mary Shelley, Valperga

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley 

"Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus"
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
Turgenev Ivan

Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev, (born October 28 [November 9, New Style], 1818, Oryol, Russia—died August 22 [September 3], 1883, Bougival, near Paris, France), Russian novelist, poet, and playwright, whose major works include the short-story collection A Sportsman’s Sketches (1852) and the novels Rudin (1856), Home of the Gentry (1859), On the Eve (1860), and Fathers and Sons (1862). These works offer realistic, affectionate portrayals of the Russian peasantry and penetrating studies of the Russian intelligentsia who were attempting to move the country into a new age. Turgenev poured into his writings not only a deep concern for the future of his native land but also an integrity of craft that has ensured his place in Russian literature. The many years that he spent in western Europe were due in part to his personal and artistic stand as a liberal between the reactionary tsarist rule and the spirit of revolutionary radicalism that held sway in contemporary artistic and intellectual circles in Russia.


Ivan Turgenev 1871
  Early life and works.
Turgenev was the second son of a retired cavalry officer, Sergey Turgenev, and a wealthy mother, Varvara Petrovna, née Lutovinova, who owned the extensive estate of Spasskoye-Lutovinovo. The dominant figure of his mother throughout his boyhood and early manhood probably provided the example for the dominance exercised by the heroines in his major fiction. The Spasskoye estate itself came to have a twofold meaning for the young Turgenev, as an island of gentry civilization in rural Russia and as a symbol of the injustice he saw inherent in the servile state of the peasantry. Against the Russian social system Turgenev was to take an oath of perpetual animosity, which was to be the source of his liberalism and the inspiration for his vision of the intelligentsia as people dedicated to their country’s social and political betterment. Turgenev was to be the only Russian writer with avowedly European outlook and sympathies. Though he was given an education of sorts at home, in Moscow schools, and at the universities of both Moscow and St. Petersburg, Turgenev tended to regard his education as having taken place chiefly during his plunge “into the German sea” when he spent the years 1838 to 1841 at the University of Berlin. He returned home as a confirmed believer in the superiority of the West and of the need for Russia to follow a course of Westernization.
Though Turgenev had composed derivative verse and a poetic drama, Steno (1834), in the style of the English poet Lord Byron, the first of his works to attract attention was a long poem, Parasha, published in 1843. The potential of the author was quickly appreciated by the critic Vissarion Belinsky, who became Turgenev’s close friend and mentor. Belinsky’s conviction that literature’s primary aim was to reflect the truth of life and to adopt a critical attitude toward its injustices became an article of faith for Turgenev. Despite the influence of Belinsky, he remained a writer of remarkable detachment, possessed of a cool and sometimes ironic objectivity.

Turgenev 1838 by Gorbunov
  Turgenev was not a man of grand passions, although the love story was to provide the most common formula for his fiction, and a love for the renowned singer Pauline Viardot, whom he first met in 1843, was to dominate his entire life. His relation with Viardot usually has been considered platonic, yet some of his letters, often as brilliant in their observation and as felicitous in their manner as anything he wrote, suggest the existence of a greater intimacy.

Generally, though, they reveal him as the fond and devoted admirer, in which role he was for the most part content. He never married, though in 1842 he had had an illegitimate daughter by a peasant woman at Spasskoye; he later entrusted the upbringing of the child to Viardot.

During the 1840s, Turgenev wrote more long poems, including A Conversation, Andrey, and The Landowner, and some criticism. Having failed to obtain a professorship at the University of St. Petersburg and having abandoned work in the government service, he began to publish short works in prose. These were studies in the “intellectual-without-a-will” so typical of his generation. The most famous was “The Diary of a Superfluous Man” (1850), which supplied the epithet “superfluous man” for so many similar weak-willed intellectual protagonists in Turgenev’s work as well as in Russian literature generally.

Simultaneously, he tried his hand at writing plays, some, like A Poor Gentleman (1848), rather obviously imitative of the Russian master Nikolay Gogol. Of these, The Bachelor (1849) was the only one staged at this time, the others falling afoul of the official censors. Others of a more intimately penetrating character, such as One May Spin a Thread Too Finely (1848), led to the detailed psychological studies in his dramatic masterpiece, A Month in the Country (1855). This was not staged professionally until 1872. Without precedent in the Russian theatre, it required for its appreciation by critics and audiences the prior success after 1898 of the plays of Anton Chekhov at the Moscow Art Theatre. It was there in 1909, under the great director Konstantin Stanislavsky, that it was revealed as one of the major works of the Russian theatre.
Sketches of rural life.
Before going abroad in 1847, Turgenev left in the editorial offices of the literary journal Sovremennik (“The Contemporary”) a short study, “Khor and Kalinych,” of two peasants whom he had met on a hunting trip in the Oryol region. It was published with the subtitle “From a Hunter’s Sketches,” and it had an instantaneous success. From it was to grow the short-story cycle A Sportsman’s Sketches, first published in 1852, that brought him lasting fame. Many of the sketches portrayed various types of landowners or episodes, drawn from his experience, of the life of the manorial, serf-owning Russian gentry. Of these, the most important are “Two Landowners,” a study of two types of despotic serf-owners, and “Hamlet of Shchigrovsky Province,” which contains one of the most profound and poignant analyses of the problem of the “superfluous man.” Far more significant are the sketches that tell of Turgenev’s encounters with peasants during his hunting trips.
Pauline Viardot, by P. F. Sokolov,
Amid evocative descriptions of the countryside, Turgenev’s portraits suggest that, though the peasants may be “children of nature” who seek the freedom offered by the beauty of their surroundings, they are always circumscribed by the fact of serfdom.

Turgenev could never pretend to be much more than an understanding stranger toward the peasants about whom he wrote, yet through his compassionate, lucid observation, he created portraits of enormous vitality and wide impact. Not only did they make the predominantly upper class reading public aware of the human qualities of the peasantry, but they also may have been influential in provoking the sentiment for reform that led eventually to the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. He added to the Sketches during the 1870s, including the moving study of the paralyzed Lukeriya in “A Living Relic” (1874).

When the first collected edition appeared, after appearing separately in various issues of the Sovremennik, Turgenev was arrested, detained for a month in St. Petersburg, then given 18 months of enforced residence at Spasskoye.
The ostensible pretext for such official harrassment was an obituary of Gogol, which he had published against censorship regulations. But his criticism of serfdom in the Sketches, certainly muted in tone by any standards and explicit only in his references to the landowners’ brutality toward their peasants, was sufficient to cause this temporary martyrdom for his art.


Turgenev, by Vasily Perov, 1872

  First novels.
Although Turgenev wrote “Mumu,” a remarkable exposure of the cruelties of serfdom, while detained in St. Petersburg, his work was evolving toward such extended character studies as Yakov Pasynkov (1855) and the subtle if pessimistic examinations of the contrariness of love found in “Faust” and “A Correspondence” (1856). Time and national events, moreover, were impinging upon him. With the defeat of Russia in the Crimean War (1854–56), Turgenev’s own generation, “the men of the forties,” began to belong to the past. The two novels that he published during the 1850s—Rudin (1856) and Home of the Gentry (1859)—are permeated by a spirit of ironic nostalgia for the weaknesses and futilities so manifest in this generation of a decade earlier.

The first of Turgenev’s novels, Rudin, tells of an eloquent intellectual, Dmitry Rudin, a character modeled partly on Bakunin, whose power of oratory and passionately held belief in the need for progress so affect the younger members of a provincial salon that the heroine, Natalya, falls in love with him. But when she challenges him to live up to his words, he fails her.

The evocation of the world of the Russian country house and of the summer atmosphere that form the backdrop to the tragicomedy of this relationship is evidence of Turgenev’s power of perceiving and recording the constancies of the natural scene. The vaster implications about Russian society as a whole and about the role of the Russian intelligentsia are present as shading at the edges of the picture rather than as colours or details in the foreground.

Turgenev’s second novel, Home of the Gentry, is an elegiac study of unrequited love in which the hero, Lavretsky, is not so much weak as the victim of his unbalanced upbringing. The work is notable for the delicacy of the love story, though it is a shade mawkish on occasion. More important in terms of the author’s thought is the elaborate biography of the hero. In it is the suggestion that the influence of the West has inhibited Turgenev’s generation from taking action, forcing them to acknowledge finally that they must leave the future of Russia to those younger and more radical than themselves.


Ivan Turgenev hunting (1879) by Nikolai Dmitriev-Orenburgsky (private collection)
  The objectivity of Turgenev as a chronicler of the Russian intelligentsia is apparent in these early novels. Unsympathetic though he may have been to some of the trends in the thinking of the younger, radical generation that emerged after the Crimean War, he endeavoured to portray the positive aspirations of these young men and women with scrupulous candour. Their attitude to him, particularly that of such leading figures as the radical critics Nikolay Chernyshevsky and Nikolay Dobrolyubov, was generally cold when it was not actively hostile. His own rather self-indulgent nature was challenged by the forcefulness of these younger contemporaries. He moved away from an emphasis on the fallibility of his heroes, who had been attacked as a type by Chernyshevsky, using the short story “Asya” (1858) as his point of departure. Instead, Turgenev focused on their youthful ardour and their sense of moral purpose. These attributes had obvious revolutionary implications that were not shared by Turgenev, whose liberalism could accept gradual change but opposed anything more radical, especially the idea of an insurgent peasantry.

The novel On the Eve (1860) deals with the problem facing the younger intelligentsia on the eve of the Crimean War and refers also to the changes awaiting Russia on the eve of the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. It is an episodic work, further weakened by the shallow portrayal of its Bulgarian hero. Although it has several successful minor characters and some powerful scenes, its treatment of personal relations, particularly of love, demonstrates Turgenev’s profound pessimism toward such matters. Such pessimism became increasingly marked in Turgenev’s view of life. It seems that there could be no real reconciliation between the liberalism of Turgenev’s generation and the revolutionary aspirations of the younger intelligentsia.

Turgenev himself could hardly fail to feel a sense of personal involvement in this rupture.

Turgenev’s greatest novel, Fathers and Sons (1862), grew from this sense of involvement and yet succeeded in illustrating, with remarkable balance and profundity, the issues that divided the generations. The hero, Bazarov, is the most powerful of Turgenev’s creations. A nihilist, denying all laws save those of the natural sciences, uncouth and forthright in his opinions, he is nonetheless susceptible to love and by that token doomed to unhappiness. In sociopolitical terms he represents the victory of the nongentry revolutionary intelligentsia over the gentry intelligentsia to which Turgenev belonged. In artistic terms he is a triumphant example of objective portraiture, and in the poignancy of his death he approaches tragic stature.


Turgenev receiving honorary doctorate,
Oxford, 1879

  The miracle of the novel as a whole is Turgenev’s superb mastery of his theme, despite his personal hostility toward Bazarov’s antiaestheticism, and his success in endowing all the characters with a quality of spontaneous life. Yet at the novel’s first appearance the radical younger generation attacked it bitterly as a slander, and the conservatives condemned it as too lenient in its exposure of nihilism.

Turgenev’s novels are “months in the country,” which contain balanced contrasts such as those between youth and age, between the tragic ephemerality of love and the comic transience of ideas, between Hamlet’s concern with self and the ineptitudes of the quixotic pursuit of altruism.

The last of these contrasts he amplified into a major essay, “Hamlet and Don Quixote” (1860). If he differed from his great contemporaries Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Leo Tolstoy in the scale of his work, he also differed from them in believing that literature should not provide answers to life’s question marks. He constructed his novels according to a simple formula that had the sole purpose of illuminating the character and predicament of a single figure, whether hero or heroine.

They are important chiefly as detailed and deft sociopsychological portraits. A major device of the novels is the examination of the effect of a newcomer’s arrival upon a small social circle. The circle, in its turn, subjects the newcomer to scrutiny through the relation that develops between the heroine, who always belongs to the “place” of the fiction, and the newcomer-hero. The promise of happiness is offered, but the ending of the relation is invariably calamitous.

Turgenev late in his career
  Self-exile and fame.
Always touchy about his literary reputation, Turgenev reacted to the almost unanimously hostile reception given to Fathers and Sons by leaving Russia. He took up residence in Baden-Baden in southern Germany, to which resort Viardot had retired. Quarrels with Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky and his general estrangement from the Russian literary scene made him an exile in a very real sense. His only novel of this period, Smoke (1867), set in Baden-Baden, is infused with a satirically embittered tone that makes caricatures of both the left and the right wings of the intelligentsia. The love story is deeply moving, but both this emotion and the political sentiments are made to seem ultimately no more lasting and real than the smoke of the title.
The Franco-German War of 1870–71 forced the Viardots to leave Baden-Baden, and Turgenev followed them, first to London and then to Paris. He now became an honoured ambassador of Russian culture in the Paris of the 1870s. The writers George Sand, Gustave Flaubert, the Goncourt brothers, the young Émile Zola, and Henry James were only a few of the many illustrious contemporaries with whom he corresponded and who sought his company. He was elected vice president of the Paris international literary congress in 1878, and in 1879 he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Oxford. In Russia he was feted on his annual visits.

The literary work of this final period combined nostalgia for the past—eloquently displayed in such beautiful pieces as “A Lear of the Steppes” (1870), “Torrents of Spring” (1872), and “Punin and Baburin” (1874)—with stories of a quasi-fantastic character—“The Song of Triumphant Love” (1881) and “Klara Milich” (1883).

Turgenev’s final novel, Virgin Soil (1877), was designed to recoup his literary reputation in the eyes of the younger generation. Its aim was to portray the dedication and self-sacrifice of young populists who hoped to sow the seeds of revolution in the virgin soil of the Russian peasantry. Despite its realism and his efforts to give the war topicality, it is the least successful of his novels. His last major work, Poems in Prose, is remarkable chiefly for its wistfulness and for its famous eulogy to the Russian language.
Turgenev’s work is distinguished from that of his most famous contemporaries by its sophisticated lack of hyperbole, its balance, and its concern for artistic values. His greatest work was always topical, committed literature, having universal appeal in the elegance of the love story and the psychological acuity of the portraiture. He was similarly a letter writer of great charm, wit, and probity. His reputation may have become overshadowed by those of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, but his own qualities of lucidity and urbanity and, above all, his sense of the extreme preciousness of the beautiful in life endow his work with a magic that has lasting appeal.

Richard H. Freeborn

see also: Turgenev Ivan
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature

  BACK-1818 Part I NEXT-1818 Part III