LEFT COAST WRITERS LITERARY SALON: Molly Dwyer, Author of Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein
Frankenstein was conceived during the summer of 1816 when Mary Godwin and Percy Bysshe Shelley lived on Lake Geneva in the company of the infamous Lord Byron. Frankenstein matured into a novel during the following winter, while Mary lived mostly without Shelley in Bath, keeping her pregnant stepsister Claire hidden from wagging tongues. During that winter both Mary’s half-sister, Fanny, and Shelley’s abandoned wife, Harriet, killed themselves. On January 1, 1818, one year later, Frankenstein descended upon the world. Its author, now the married Mrs. Shelley, was twenty years old.
Mary Shelley once said, “If philosophical novels were in fashion, we conceive an excellent one might be written on the development of the same mind in various stations, in different periods of the world’s history.” Anna Trevor, a young American woman has the kind of consciousness Mary Shelley must have foreseen. During waking hours Anna is preparing a controversial paper on Frankenstein, but when she sleeps, she falls into alarmingly realistic dreams of Mary Shelley’s life. In England, where Anna has come to present her paper, coincidence and synchronicity abound. As she experiences more and more of their world, Anna begins to believe that Mary Shelley and her legendary lovers, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, exist as consciously creative beings sharing time and space—and mind—with her.
Is this a ghost story? A historical fiction? A tale of mystical encounters in a state of consciousness where all time is present time? Requiem offers an impeccably researched portrait of the brilliance and daring of the author of Frankenstein. It is a tribute, a “philosophical novel” that seeks to embrace the zeitgeist of Mary Shelley’s day, a symbolic recovery of the creative genius of the feminine. Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein is literary fiction that, like its namesake, rides the thin edge between the rational and the irrational, transporting its readers into the 19th century world of Britain’s famed Romantics.
An educator for many years, Molly Dwyer traveled to England, Italy, Switzerland, and France researching Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein. Her novel emerged out of the land, the architecture, and the artifacts of the past.
She has taught English composition, literature, and creative writing in community colleges and tutored and facilitated workshops across a range of disciplines.
Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein is the first book in a literary quartet, La Belle Quartet, about the Romantic Movement. The 2nd book is The Appassionata, set in 19th century Paris. The 3rd is Sans Merci, set among the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of England. The 4th book, Point of Deparutre, follows Romaniticism into the counterculture of the Sixties in San Francisco.