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Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein


Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein Cover

ISBN13: 9781882897933
ISBN10: 1882897935
Condition: Standard
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Preparing a paper on Frankenstein, scholar Anna Trevor falls into alarmingly realistic dreams, meeting Mary Shelley, who reveals truths only she could know. When the dreams enter Anna's waking state, she begins to believe that Mary and her lovers, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, actually exist as conscious beings sharing time and space — and mind — with her.

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Pauline Rusert, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Pauline Rusert)
This was a very good read, at times serious, at times fun and romantic. Very engrossing and difficult to put down. I was very pulled into the lives of characters, to the point that my own space-time experience was altered as I read. Mary and Percy Shelley's relationships with each other and their contemporaries felt authentic and both every day and important.
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readersrespite, October 8, 2008 (view all comments by readersrespite)
Requiem, and you'll forgive me for shortening the title, manages to defy any one genre: part historical fiction, part Gothic romance with a healthy dose of magical realism. It is the story of author Mary Shelley and her extraordinary, unconventional (and that is putting it mildly) life as experienced by Anna, a modern day American scholar on a research trip to England. It is Anna who finds herself, via a rich tapestry of dreams within other dreams, actually becoming Shelley. Are dreams reality? Where is the line drawn? Is there a line?

The early 19th century was a time of literary upheaval: rebellion against the Enlightenment period, which emphasized reason above all else, arose in the form of Romanticism and placed great importance on emotional interpretation and creation of literature and art. The great authors and poets of the time were not singular entities. They were close friends and confidants; contemporaries who fed off of each other, sharing ideas, beliefs, and even (so it's been claimed) their spouses.

Ms. Dwyer cleverly immerses us in Mary Shelley's life and that of all of her contemporaries: her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and essayist Charles Lamb, to name a few. Their lives were filled with passion, betrayal and heart wrenching loss. They threw societal mores and values out the window and paid the ultimate price. The superb narrative in Requiem is so compelling that the reader receives a first-rate education in Romanticism without realizing it.

Ms. Dwyer demonstrates a command of the time period with accurate historic details and realistic dialogue, neither of which bogs down the narrative. The story immerses you an exciting period of literary history when boundaries were pushed and broken.

Highly recommended for your own personal reading enjoyment, I would also recommend Requiem as an extraordinary book club selection - there's enough fascinating material here to keep a book club occupied for months! If you are familiar with Mary Shelley and her intimate circle of Romantic Poets, this book will delight you. If you aren't, I'd venture to say that Requiem surpasses most college courses on the Romantics available today. Either way, this book is a treat and I'm looking forward to the next book in this series, The Appassionata.
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ariadne, March 26, 2008 (view all comments by ariadne)
Mendocino Beacon, February 28, 2008 • Mendocino, California


By Charlotte Gullick
Author of By Way of Water, winner of 2007 Christopher Isherwood Fellowship

A GOOD BOOK ALLOWS US to fall into another world, creating an alternate landscape that compels and engages beyond ordinary life. Molly Dwyer’s Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein offers its fortunate readers many worlds to fall into, and that falling becomes part of the literary ride we embark on. Dwyer has masterfully woven different time periods together, bridging the life of Mary Shelley and our modern-day protagonist, Anna Trevor.

With Anna’s arrival in England, the hunt for essential, though elusive, information about Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron begins. Anna’s quest challenges her notions of conventional reality, requiring an embrace of the unknown. The book educates as it weaves worlds, casting Mary Shelley in a different light, one that transcends narrow definitions and agendas of feminism. Dwyer celebrates the life of the mind and the body as her characters, both modern day and Romantic, grapple with the moral implications of the philosophic life.

Anna learns that all is connected as she repeatedly tumbles into the world and body of Mary Shelley. In one key section, Anna revisits a college lesson:

“The class was coming back now, as if the ideas were all strung together, which made sense, since they’d practiced the technique while discussing it. Thomas Aquinas had taught the technique saying — Anna was amazed by the clarity of her recall — all knowledge has its origins in sensation. She wrote the words in her journal. That was the point: all knowledge has its origins in sensation. That’s why the memories are physical.”

Each page of Requiem circles around this point, moving readers toward the notion that the interconnectedness of things is more truth than idea. Mary Shelley’s father offers this insight through the skillful hand of Dwyer: “ . . Books bring about reflection, and reading can do much a schoolmaster cannot. Learning frees the mind. I agree that our current systems of education accomplish little more than the continuance of the oppressive structures . . . The cycle can, and must, be broken by well-reasoned words.”

Dwyer does so much more than offer us well-reasoned words; she pierces the human drama, bringing the greats of another age alive and close, making them sensuously real. In resurrecting Shelley and her world, Dwyer transcends the constraints of time to offer not just excellent entertainment, but essential perspective on the power of words and story.
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Product Details

Dwyer, Molly
Lost Coast Press
Historical - General
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:
8.92x6.06x1.48 in. 1.92 lbs.

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

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