Author Topic: The Frankenstein letters  (Read 3280 times)

oldbill4823
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The Frankenstein letters
« on: December 09, 2008, 05:02:31 AM »
From the TELEGRAPH UK 9/12/08     written by Stephen Adams



Letters describing a series of early 19th century experiments by a scientist who is said to have inspired Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein have gone on display.

Andrew Crosse was known by neighbours as "the thunder and lightening man" for his endeavours at his isolated manor house in the Quantock Hills in Somerset.

They included attracting lightening to strike a network of copper cables during electrical storms.

His experiments - which often resulted in loud bangs caused alarm with locals, who nicknamed his home Fyne Court in Broomfield as 'Wizard Crosse'.

But they also caught the attention of Shelley, who attended a lecture he gave in London in 1814, two years before she wrote Frankenstein.

It is thought that Shelley, whose most famous novel told of a scientist's quest to create artificial life, knew Crosse through a mutual friend, the poet Robert Southey

Now two letters detailing Crosse's experiments with electricity have been bought at auction for 400 by Somerset County Council. They are to be held at Somerset records office and made available for public view.

Their subject matter ranges from the relatively mundane - such as progress in making electro-voltaic batteries - to the bizarre.

In one he expressed his wish to "see the experiments on animal magnetism". In the other he talked of experiments that saw "some products formed in a new manner".

That might have been a reference to an experiment he undertook which he believed resulted in the creation of new life.

During the procedure Crosse accidentally dropped some solution on to a piece of volcanic stone.

Two weeks later he found mite-like creatures had appeared on the rock. He sent samples off to the Natural History Museum but their scientists could not relate them to any living creatures. When Crosse made his findings public he was accused of blasphemy, which left him devastated.

The letters have now been catalogued and will be added to the holdings of the Somerset records office, alongside other material already held relating to Crosse.

Dr Janet Tall, head of the council's archives, said that while the letters dated from 1836, it was known that Shelley attended one of his lectures in 1814.

She said: "Mary Shelley attended a lecture that he gave in London that was two years before she wrote Frankenstein."

The letters were addressed to Professor Wheatston of King's College, London, whom Dr Tall said invented the telegraph.

7VII7

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Re: The Frankenstein letters
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2008, 02:41:53 PM »
heh, one problem, as anybody who's read THE BOOK could tell you the whole lightning = life thing was purely artitistic interpretation by the movie makers, the book never said how exactly the life was created and instead of a scary ol' castle with an ugly servent frankenstein made his monster in a london apartment.
I have multiple personalities, one is a were-Sheepenguin, one is a fruit vampire, one likes to imagine cruel and unusal totures, that one's name is Bob the VI.

baa.

Regina Terra

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Re: The Frankenstein letters
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2008, 05:03:13 PM »
I never got the chance to read the book. T_T
Gabriel, "Don't kill yourself for it would crush my angelic heart. I love you for who you are and I'm glad I met you. :]"

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Mr. Kreepy
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Re: The Frankenstein letters
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2008, 05:11:25 PM »
If you're interested in reading it, I've found it in ebook form for free on Operation Gutenberg.
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/84

Amaya

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Re: The Frankenstein letters
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2008, 05:44:53 AM »
You are right that Shelley's novel was inspired partially by the experiments of a scientist, but I believe it was Humphry Davy. He wrote a book at the time about scientific philosophy. As someone said, the lightning thing was artistic interpretation.

She also borrowed heavily from the Promethean myth, subtitling her work "The Modern Prometheus." If you're familiar with the myth, the title fits.

Also, throwing in a little moral/religious issues, she also quoted and brought up several questions from Milton/Paradise Lost.

So, yes, she did use the theories and work of a scientist, but, no, it was not the one you speak of.  :-)

oldbill4823
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Re: The Frankenstein letters
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2008, 09:11:44 AM »
Hi Amaya, where do you get all your info from?

Also, Ive just wired up my castle here to reanimate a dead chicken.
You telling me this might not work?

Amaya

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Re: The Frankenstein letters
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2008, 02:15:44 PM »
Hi Amaya, where do you get all your info from?

Also, Ive just wired up my castle here to reanimate a dead chicken.
You telling me this might not work?
The information that I have here is from AP English last year, but I looked it up on wikipedia to find the scientist's name (because it was only mentioned briefly). I research things that interest me and that can be a lot of things. I've always known a lot of seemingly useless facts.

As for the chicken thing, I'm not sure. If what I know is true, it would probably only cause it to twitch a lot, not bring life back inside it. You can try it. I may be wrong.

7VII7

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Re: The Frankenstein letters
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2008, 02:48:12 PM »
Heh, I think Oldbill was trying to make a robot chicken joke,
I have multiple personalities, one is a were-Sheepenguin, one is a fruit vampire, one likes to imagine cruel and unusal totures, that one's name is Bob the VI.

baa.

oldbill4823
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Re: The Frankenstein letters
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2008, 03:12:07 PM »
I wasn't joking :-(

Hmm, if only there was a way to increase the power.

7VII7

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Re: The Frankenstein letters
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2008, 03:32:30 PM »
sad. . . it would have made a good joke. . .
I have multiple personalities, one is a were-Sheepenguin, one is a fruit vampire, one likes to imagine cruel and unusal totures, that one's name is Bob the VI.

baa.

Mr. Kreepy
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Re: The Frankenstein letters
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2009, 12:21:13 AM »
This is certainly an interesting post, Oldbill.
What I would like to find out is how the aforementioned artistic embellishment of electricity being used to animate the Creature originated from. As I recall, the novel is purposefully vague, and only alludes to mixing the medical science of the time with classical alchemy, with Albertus Magnus, Cornelius Agrippa, and Paracelsus mentioned specifically.