"Setting out to try to become a nicer person sounds like a deeply colourless and dispiriting ambition. In theory, we love niceness of course, but in practice . . . "(SLYT)
The Science of Life and Death in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein [The Public Domain Review] Professor Sharon Ruston surveys the scientific background to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, considering contemporary investigations into resuscitation, galvanism, and the possibility of states between life and death.
On 10 April 1815, Tambora produced the largest eruption known on the planet during the past 10,000 years. As described in Gillen D'Arcy Wood's new book, the explosion was only the first dose of Tambora's destructive power. In terms of its enduring presence in folklore, as well as its status in the scientific literature, 1816’s cold summer was the most significant meteorological event of the nineteenth century. After the tsunami and famine came cholera, opium, and failed Arctic expeditions. [more inside]
"Note that Scriabin did not, for his theory, recognize a difference between a major and a minor tonality of the same name (for example: c-minor and C-Major). Indeed, influenced also by the doctrines of theosophy, he developed his system of synesthesia toward what would have been a pioneering multimedia performance: his unrealized magnum opus Mysterium was to have been a grand week-long performance including music, scent, dance, and light in the foothills of the Himalayas Mountains that was somehow to bring about the dissolution of the world in bliss." - From Russian composer Alexander Scriabin's Wikipedia page [more inside]
The Death of Romance in the Shadow of the Colossus reads the acclaimed PS2 game as a myth about the rise and fall of the European Romantic movement.
Savagery - Arcadia - Consummation - Destruction - Desolation. The five stages of The Course of Empire, a fascinating quintet of paintings by 19th century artist and Hudson River School pioneer Thomas Cole. In it, an imaginary settlement by the sea becomes the stage for all the dreams and nightmares of civilized life, a rural woodland grown in time into a glorious metropolis... only to be ransacked by corruption, war, and a terrible storm, at last reduced to a forgotten ruin. At times deceptively simple, each landscape teems with references to cultural and philosophical markers that dominated the era's debate about the future of America. Interactive analysis of the series on a zoomable canvas is available via the excellent Explore Thomas Cole project, which also offers a guided tour and complete gallery of the dozens of other richly detailed and beautifully luminous works by this master of American landscape art.
In August of 1820 one of the most beloved poets of his age came to the defense of another poet who was fast slipping into obscurity after a string of flops and a barrage of devastating reviews. That poet receding into oblivion? John Keats. That mightily loved poet? Barry Cornwall. Barry who?! Barry Cornwall was the nom de plume of solicitor Bryan Waller Procter, who won the admiration of a great many, including no lesser a reader than Pushkin. You can acquaint yourselves with this now almost wholly forgotten literary figure by reading volume 1 of his 1822 Poetical Works or other texts by and about him on Google Books. As for Keats, well... Keats is everywhere.
`The Eve of St. Agnes` (1819) is a poem based on a Medieval folktale by Romanticist John Keats. One of Keats most beloved poems, in the 19th and early 20th centuries it became a popular source of inspiration with at least 6 well-known painters such as William Holman Hunt and Arthur Hughes. There were also many beautifully illustrated books produced during this period, some of which are online. [more inside]
ArtMagick is a collection of art and poetry that roughly dates from after the Enlightenment but before Modernism. While the poetry section is extensive the main draw is the sites extensive art collection, which can be browsed by artist, art movement, title, theme or albums created by the site's users. So, forget the summer heat with some chilly pictures of winter, check out famous objects of devotion or search the archive.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away--there lived men who dressed in suits of glittering steel... their purpose: to roam the lands in search of good deeds to be done in order to earn their salvation. The journey, although perilous, would be one of virtue and piety. Having to face down monstrous creatures and beastly men, they would sometimes take the help of other beasts in carrying out their conquests. (Of course, there were still others who may have been a bit misguided, but the myth endures, if not accurately portrayed.)
The Story of the Fountain, poem by William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), with 42 woodcut illustrations.
The Diary of John Cam Hobhouse. Hobhouse (Wiki) (1786-1869) was a close friend of George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, and "Hobby-O's" diary contains a vivid account of Hobhouse's friendship and travels with Byron. As editor Peter Cochran writes: "Educated at Westminster and Trinity College Cambridge, [Hobhouse] travelled east with Byron in 1809, was Best Man at Byron’s wedding in 1815, travelled across Switzerland in Byron’s company in 1816 after the separation, around Rome with Byron in 1817, and lived with Byron in Venice in the same year. He met Byron at Pisa again in 1822, after Byron’s facetious poem on his imprisonment in Newgate, My Boy Hobby-O, had almost terminated their friendship. As a member of the London Greek Committee he encouraged Byron on his last journey in 1823; and had he insisted, Byron’s memoirs would almost certainly not have been destroyed in 1824." (Memoirs which, in hindsight, are considered a "missing masterpiece.") Also read Hobhouse's account of Byron's funeral.
Romantic Natural History: "A website designed to survey relationships between literary works and natural history in the century before Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859)." Including links to various natural historians from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries, illustrations and illustrators, literary figures in Romanticism, and, of course, much more.