August 27th Or So, 1821, Just Outside London, England

Unlike the monster of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein,

this one could not turn a phrase, nor keep it in line.

He had no comprehension of courtesy;

and not even the weakest grasp on literary artistry.

He could not control nor rightly deploy his words;

nor more than some stray determined the stench of its turds.

This is not metaphor, nor timid allegory---

it refers to the dislikeable presence of Doctor John Polidori---

whose demonstrative pantytwists and shrillshrieked snit

confirmed to all around how closely the shoe could fit.

He is the vampre of The Vampyre he wrote---

he burst through its seams like a too-small coat.

Like a child he gave much vent to his jealousy

of others---all his betters---who could compose poetry.

And when his tale drew dust on the bookseller's shelf,

he provided us all a favor and did away with himself.

They say that prussic acid, better known as cyanide,

was the means of his unmourned suicide.


"Poor Polidori had some terrible idea . . ."

---Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, "Introduction

To The 1831 Edition"






Author's Notes/Comments: 

The college that granted me my BA required to special projects, in the sophomore and senior years; to be defined, determined, and supervised by the department of the candidate's major.  Without the successful completion of both, the degree was not granted.  In my department, the sophomore project---in those days before the internet (1978)---was to gather at least one hundred index cards, correctly annotated, on a variety of monographs and articles on a particular subject, of the candidate's choice.  I did my sophomore project on academic and critical response, especially in the nineteenth century, to Mary Shelley's great gothic novel, Frankenstein.  Although badly criticized for my choice---at a time when Mary Shelley was not given the full academic considertion she so richly deserved---I did receive an A+, but with highly begrudging comments, for my effort.  I have had the distinct privilege to watch a dramatic increase in the level of scholarly and academic interest in Mary Shelley's books; not only the first novel, but all of them.  I have been gratified, also, to learn, some years ago, that her novel, The Last Man, is now credited with having been the first example of what we now call science fiction; and its worldwide pestilence, that brings death to all but the eponymous narrator, is particularly poignant in this time of the Corona Virus.

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