She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it).

- Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know

This is a project I've been talking over with DPL for quite some time (which means approximately less than a year) and I've decided to test drive it here tonight.
Simply put, we're going to write a play about the night Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, working title "The Night Shelley Wrote Frankenstein." Yes, the ambiguity is intentional.


It will be a fabulously historically faithful rendition of that book's creation packed into one magnificent evening with appearances from our favorite young Romantics: Byron, Percy (of course), Keats, and maybe, if he's very lucky, Hunt.

But in preparation for that, I am putting up some ramblings centered on the idea of the young Romantics slumming it in early 19th century Britain and their marvelous escapades were one of Shelley's ridiculous forays into science to actually work: namely time travel.

So here goes:

Tuesday, February 2, 1813
I awoke this morning to find myself famous. As usual. Reassured that my plans for acquiring a suitably notorious epithet were still in order, I breakfasted alone, but happened upon a sticky black mess that reeked like a sheep's gut three days marinated in bog filth. One of Percy's failed science experiments, no doubt. Told the parlour maid to clean it up before the dogs were at it and made sick, though it would serve the man right were we all to succumb to some debilitating illness. At least we might keep Someone in good company then.
Speaking of Someone, our resident physician came down just as I had finished, complaining of a headache and coughing dreadfully. If I wanted a man to fill the air with repugnance everywhere I went I would have hired Baron Brougham to follow me about and prate about prisms all day long. Gave him a cold shoulder and hoped he would take the hint, but all Keats seems capable of catching is chills and then trying to foster them off on perfectly respectable people who don't want them. Took care that he stepped in the mess on the floor but was sure to be gone before I could be blamed. Highly satisfying start to the day.
Wrote a few pages of a new work. Trying something different this time. Have decided that the present theme: young man (dark and handsome, of course) falling prey to curse of love (beautiful woman, of course) and crushed within his soul is too usual. New theme to center on young man (dark and handsome) falling prey to several love affairs (beautiful women, maybe a few men?) and ultimately crushed within his soul. Think it will cause quite a stir among the usual public, especially middle-aged, unmarried ladies. Keats tells me that they especially admire my work, but can only credit this with pen envy on his part. Still, very intriguing. (Have heard, however, that the author of Pride and Prejudice is an ardent admirer.) But I really am resolved to finish this one. Thinking of calling it "Don Juan" and then ignoring the Spanish pronunciation, just because I can.
Went to find Percy after last night's debacle. Watched him fag poor Mary to death over her new novel, Something-something-or-other-Prometheus, or something like that. Percy was trying to tell me about it last night, but was too foxed to remember what it was about. Caught something about the Asian continent, I think, though God knows what he thinks he knows about Asia - stupid blighter can't even sail a boat around the pond properly. Tried to get Mary to tell me instead, but got her to confess she was actually writing something else entirely and that P had made up the Prometheus in Asia thing that moment because he'd been smoking something he'd got from STC. Stupid git. P, I mean. Not Mary.
Woke up later in the afternoon and discovered P. had nearly burnt the house down with one of his experiments. Decided to have strong words with him, but when reproaching him with it he went off into one of his long-winded defenses and attempted the acrobatic comparison of the poet's genius with some kind of hot-air balloon which transformed into a wave in the ocean. Didn't understand a word of it. Left wing still ruined.
Saw a pretty little thing by the lake today. Handsomely offered her mother fifty quid for her, but woman had the audacity to refuse and insult me. Considered challenging her to a duel, but realized that schedule wouldn't permit it. Booked solid til next month.

Ok. so...that's a first try at being in Byron's head. DPL?


  1. Haha! I love it! I have no idea if that is actually how Byron wrote [need to get those books of letters!] but I loooooooove the idea of it!

    I love the snarkiness of it!


  2. Oh, and I think the title for some other piece about the Romantics definitely needs to be 'Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know'

  3. That would be fun. I need to read more of the letters too. Mostly I know that he is opinionated as hell. This is my made-up voice for him.

  4. I like it! I'll get one of those volumes of letters soon, and we will investigate his opinionated-ness!!!