Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Reading Period 20: December 11 - 17: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Yeah, there were no neck bolts. But whatever.

Read the biographical information in the textbook on Mary Shelley and the bit of Frankenstein that's included there.


Choose one of the following:

Art Connection:

Create a portrait of Frankenstein's monster and Victor Frankenstein together, in whatever pose and setting you choose. It can be violent, peaceful, beseeching -- it can be from whatever part of the book you like or a scene in your imagination. Make sure you distinguish by appearance, dress, and posture what the differences are between the man and his creation.

Oh Mary Shelley! What an imagination!
History Connection:

Everyone knows that Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity while flying a kite in a thunderstorm. WHAT? Wait, you mean that's not exactly accurate? Write 250 words about the history of the science of electricity. What was the real science connected to electricity that Mary Shelley would have been aware of in 1818? Read this for guidance: http://phys.org/news/2010-10-halloween-special-science-frankenstein.html

Writing Connection:

Pretend you are Victor Frankenstein's college buddy. You have heard that he is conducting experiments in which he attempts to animate human corpses. This shocks you but also interests you! Do you agree or disagree with his work? Write a letter to Victor Frankenstein urging him either to push on with his efforts or abandon his experiments. Give at least three reasons in a 250 word letter.


The ten questions of the quiz are drawn from material in the biography of Mary Shelley from the Poetry Foundation web site: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/mary-wollstonecraft-shelley#poet

1.What were the "four fames" of Mary Shelley, referred to in the couplet from "The Blue-Stockinged Revels"?  
A. Mother, Father, Husband, Son
B. Mother, Father, Monster, Travel Writings
C. Mother, Father, Husband, Monster
D. Mother, Sister, Husband, Monster

2.What happened to Mary's mother right after Mary was born?  
A. She died.
B. She published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.
C. She never published anything again because she was too busy.
D. She disappeared.

3.Who first published Mary Shelley?  
A. W.W. Norton in London.
B. Her step-mother's publishing company.
C. A French company that didn't mind publishing women.
D. Shakespeare and Co.

4.Where did Mary say she was most inspired to write as a girl?  
A. In the school room, while bored by lessons.
B. At the seaside in southern England.
C. Under the trees and in the mountains of Scotland.
D. In the warm library in front of a fire.

5.What was Percy Shelley's marital situation when he and Mary first got together?  
A. He was unmarried, a bachelor.
B. He was newly divorced from Harriet.
C. His wife, Harriet, had recently died.
D. He was still married to Harriet.

6.What prompted Mary Shelley to write her novel, Frankenstein, while staying with Percy Shelley and their friends in Geneva?  
A. Her husband told her to write something philosophical.
B. Lord Byron suggested a game where they all write horror stories.
C. She was out walking among the alps and saw a shadowy figure.
D. She was attacked in an alley by a large man.

7.How did Percy Shelley's first wife die, and how was that weird?  
A. She died in childbirth, and that's weird because she wasn't pregnant.
B. She drowned, and that's weird because later Shelley drowned.
C. She was murdered, and that's weird because Shelley was unaccounted for at the time.
D. She got tuberculosis, and that's weird because so did everyone else in the 19th century.

8.What made it difficult for Mary to publish the remainder of Percy's work, after his death?  
A. His work had been heavily plagiarized by Byron.
B. His later writings were of low quality.
C. So many of his manuscripts were lost in Paris.
D. Her father-in-law opposed it.

9.What happened in 1823 that showed how wildly popular the book Frankenstein had become?  
A. There were six stage adaptations of the novel in that year.
B. It was the best-selling Halloween costume at Ye Olde Walmart.
C. It was translated into six languages that year.
D. The rock band Iron Maiden produced their track "Lonely Monster" in that year.

10.What did Ferdinando Gatteschi use to blackmail Mary Shelley?  
A. He threatened to publish proof that Percy Shelley had never married her in church.
B. He threatened to send letters to the press that could be read as seductive.
C. He threatened to tell Lord Byron that Percy Shelley's son was actually his.
D. He threatened to reveal that she was not the actual author of Frankenstein.

Reading Period 19: Supplemental Posts / Lessons

From our lively Google+ Community:

1. This is an exercise in evaluating sources.

After you read the biographical section on Lord Byron in the textbook, take a look at the biographical section of the Wikipedia page on George Gordon, Lord Byron. Start with the section called "Education and Early Loves" and read through "Post Mortem." There are some significant differences here to note. 
A. The book says that Lord Byron left England because he was bitter over his broken marriage. What does Wikipedia say was the reason he left?
B. The book says Lord Byron died of a sudden fever. What does Wikipedia say was the cause of that fever?
C. What significant aspect of Lord Byron's personality and personal life does the book entirely avoid, and why do you think that is?

2. MEMORY CHALLENGE: Memorize "She Walks in Beauty Like the Night." One piece of candy for each stanza you get under your belt. For a bonus challenge, sing it! Here's the original tune, or you can make up your own. If you sing the whole poem, I'll add 30 points to your participation total. And I will remember you forever. Here's a link to the MP3 of the song version -- you can click to listen or download.

3. Check out the definition of "Byronic Hero" on this site about storytelling tropes. Read the examples in literature and at least one other medium (by clicking on the links under the definition) and tell me this:
1. Have you encountered any of these characters in TV or books?
2. Is this the type of character you like to read about?
3. Do you know anybody like this in real life?
4. Are there any of these traits that you see in yourself?

4. Listen to this reading of Keats' poem "The Beautiful Lady without Mercy" and watch these scenes from the movie Bright Star, which is about Keats' love affair with Fanny Brawne. You can see the trailer for the movie here: Bright Star - Official Trailer 

5. Keats moved to Rome to try to improve his health, and died there after an awful illness -- he couldn't wait for death and it's said he was frustrated when he would wake up and find he was still alive. He is buried in Rome, and this is on his tombstone:

This Grave
contains all that was Mortal
of a
Young English Poet
on his Death Bed
in the Bitterness of his Heart
at the Malicious Power of his Enemies
these Words to be
engraven on his Tomb Stone:
Here lies One
Whose Name was writ in Water.
24 February 1821

All he had wanted on his tombstone was the part "Here lies one whose name was writ in water." What do you think of his friends deciding to put in the rest? What do you think it means, "whose name was writ in water"? What do you want your epitaph to say? Do you think a 25 year old should be ready to write his own epitaph?

5. Is Mr. Darcy a Byronic hero?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Reading Period 19: December 4-10: Byron, Shelley, Keats


Read all the poems by Byron, Shelley, and Keats, and biographical notes on these gentlemen from page 526-584. 


Choose one of the following delightful diversions:

Don Juan, the movie.
Art Connection:

Create a multi-panel comic depicting any situation where the character of Don Juan (see p 534) enters any of the other literature we've read. For example, you could have him turn up in Pride and Prejudice, Macbeth, etc. You don't have to stick to Byron's interpretation of this character.

History Connection:

Shelley and Byron spent their time in Italy after Napoleon had invaded and withdrawn. They visited during the beginning of the "Risorgimento," a reunification of the different states in Italy (Tuscany, Milano, Venetia, etc) into one country for the whole peninsula. Write about the Risorgimento, about Italy before and after Napoleon, or about any subtopic that strikes your fancy, related to 1818-1822 in Italy. 250 words.

Writing Connection:

"If you love urns, write urns odes."
Write a poem using the "hoofbeats" meter Lord Byron demonstrates in "Stanzas Written on the Road" (p 530). Also, analyze the meter and describe the foot (or feet) in use. The topic of your poem should reflect the "vigor and exuberance" of the meter. Another example of this is "The Destruction of Sennacherib," also by Lord Byron.    


The quiz covers the six pages of biographical info for the three poets we're meeting this week. Should be a quite easy test after these long Jane Austen quizzes.

1.What physical deformity affected Byron from birth?  
A. Club foot.
B. Cleft palate.
C. Albinism.
D. Heart murmur.

2.Which of these things did Byron NOT do as a young person?  
A. Drink from a human skull.
B. Own a pet bear.
C. Travel the world.
D. Become addicted to opium.

3.What was the name of the group of friends Byron formed with Shelley?  
A. The Wicked Lords
B. The Pisan Circle
C. The London Rogues
D. The Poet Savants

4.Byron went to Cambridge University. Where did Shelley go?  
A. Cambridge
B. Oxford
C. Durham
D. Canterbury

5.How old were Shelley and his wife Harriet when they married?  
A. He was 18, she was 45.
B. He was 16, she was 18.
C. He was 18, she was 16.
D. He was 18, she was 18.

6.How did Shelley die?  
A. He drowned after falling out of a boat during a storm.
B. He was consumed by Byron's pet bear.
C. He suffered from the same disease that killed Jane Austen.
D. He was killed in a duel while living in Venice.

7.For what career did Keats formally train?  
A. Apothecary
B. Poet
C. Clergyman
D. Barrister

8.What commitment did Keats take seriously and feel strongly about?  
A. Cleaning and decorating his London home.
B. Defending the politicians that agreed with him.
C. Taking care of his many pets and plants.
D. Taking care of his brothers and sisters.

9.How did Keats die?  
A. Tuberculosis.
B. Consumption.
C. He rage quit out of Minecraft and then died of shame.
D. Drowning.

10.Who wrote Ode on a Grecian Urn?  
A. Byron
B. Shelley
C. Keats
D. Shakespeare


Your final drafts of your papers are due next week. Remember that the most important thing is not for the paper to be perfect, but for you to clearly have taken into account my editing suggestions and responded to the notes.