Lives of the Necromancers: Orpheus

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northcote20portrait20-20col1 William Godwin.

Some interesting stuff from Lives of the Necromancers (1834) by William Godwin, the proto-anarchist and father of Mary “Frankenstein” Shelley, nee Godwin. Well, interesting if you’re into necromancers anyway. And who isn’t interested in necromancers? Nobody I want to hang out with, is the answer.

William Godwin also wrote a novel called St. Leon (1799), about a man who artificially attains immortality. Without taking anything away from Mary– she was undoubtedly the most talented of the famous four who played at writing stories near Lake Geneva in 1816, not to mention being only eighteen years old at the time– it’s obvious that her super cool father with his love of fringe science and radical politics was a big influence on her. Godwin’s wife and Mary’s mother was the feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, though Mary senior sadly died of septicaemia shortly after giving birth and so never knew her daughter…

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