Happy Anniversary Frankenstein’s Monster!

Quote

2018 marks the 200 anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Why not celebrate by starting the New Year by reading or re-reading this classic.  And for the faint-hearted our amazing Book Trust Collection on Level 1 of the Robinson Library has some great kids’ versions!

The circumstances of the novel’s genesis are well-known: Claire Clairmont, Lord Byron, John Polidori, P.B. Shelley, and Mary Godwin (as she was then) passed a stormy night in Geneva, June 1816, inventing ghost stories. Mary’s contribution, inspired by a dream, would be published two years later as Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus and marked the birth of the science fiction genre. Victor Frankenstein raids graveyards to acquire the parts he needs to create life but his experiment goes horribly wrong and he rejects his nameless creation. Denied companionship, the monster endeavours to destroy his maker. The novel explores themes which would characterise much of Mary Shelley’s subsequent work, such as alienation and solitude; justice; the purpose of life; destiny; and social class as it relates to political power.

Critically acclaimed in her own day, Mary is perhaps remembered today as the wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley and the author of Frankenstein (1818), her most enduring novel.  More recent scholarship however has tried to shed a greater light on her later literary output.  Mary Shelley was the author of seven novels, a great number of short stories and two travelogues, both of which use the travelogue genre as a vehicle to explore and comment upon politics, war and culture.

In one of two letters written by Mary Shelley which are held in the Manuscript Album here in Special Collections, she enquires about the history, religion and politics of Bohemia. This appears to be related to one of her last-known projects, which was a partial translation of a novel by German author, Ida Hahn-Hahn, called Cecil (1844). The letter was written in March 1844 which is also the same year that her final full-length book was published: Rambles in Germany and Italy, in 1840, 1842, and 1843.

The other day I sent you some books by a friend going to Paris – & I enclosed a letter for you to another friend which I hope she will present. Meanwhile I am going to intrude upon you, asking for some information which I think you can give me.

I want some account of the old Kings of Bohemia & the fire worshippers of that country – of Jerome of Prague of the Hussites of Bohemia – of Zizska – & also of the manner in which Bohemia is at present governed.

Pray forgive me for giving you this trouble – but you know every thing – . . . living among the learned – I (not knowing German) know nothing – & live the life of a recluse. I shall be very glad to hear how you are – I hope quite well – with compliments to Mr. Dunbar, I am very truly yours.

Shelley, M.

from a letter to Rose Stewart, 17th March 1844 (MSA/199, Manuscript Album, held at Special Collections, Newcastle University Library)

Mary Shelley [Letter] [MSA/1/99], Manuscript Album, Newcastle University Library.

Oh and did we mention that one of the versions of Frankenstein in the Book Trust Collection is a pop-up?  Go on, you know you want to!

Thank you to Melanie Wood, whose full research on Mary Shelley and the letters we hold in the Manuscript Album can be seen in the online version of the exhibition Very truly yours…

Lady Tabitha and Us – Peg Doll Games

#ChristmasCountdown
Door No. 24

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVE!

The Newcastle University Special Collections team
would like to wish you all a very
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

What does your Christmas Eve consist of? Do you play games just like Kathleen Ainslie’s peg dolls, to get you in the mood for Christmas?

Illustrations taken from ‘Lady Tabitha and Us’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books, RB 823.912 AIN). You join Tabitha, a peg doll and her friends on Christmas Eve. They play party games, such as tug of war and drop the handkerchief, along with musical chairs, hunt the slippers, hide and seek, orange and lemons, blind man’s buff, guessing games and the Sir Roger dance. They then finally eat supper and “we didn’t go home till morning, till daylight did appear”.

Visit Door number 1 to find out a little bit more about Kathleen Ainslie.

Explore another Kathleen Ainslie book that we have in Special Collections; ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’, in our February 2017 Treasure of the Month Feature

Christmas Tree at Windsor Castle, 1848

#ChristmasCountdown
Door No. 23

Christmas Tree at Windsor Castle from ‘Illustrated London News, Christmas Supplement’, 1848 (19th Century Collection, 19th C. Coll, 030 ILL)

This illustration from the December 1848 Christmas Supplement to the Illustrated London News, shows the royal family gathered round a christmas tree at Windsor Castle. When this image first appeared in the Illustrated London News, it attracted a huge amount of attention. The upper classes had been decorating trees for some time, having been introduced by Queen Charlotte in the 18th century, but this image spread the fashion to the rest of society.

Decorating a tree with candles and gifts was a German tradition that was enthusiastically enjoyed by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. This image of the royal family, which depicts children, parents and grandmother, all enjoying themselves around the tree was influential in promoting Christmas as a family occasion. By the end of the 1840s, Christmas had become a festival celebration of the Victorian calendar.

Illustrated London News is found in our 19th Century and 20th Century Collections.

Geoffrey Trevelyan’s letter to Father Christmas

#ChristmasCountdown
Door No. 22

Letter from Geoffrey Washington Trevelyan to Father Christmas, 1917 (CPT Uncat/30)

This letter to Father Christmas was written by Geoffrey Washington Trevelyan, the youngest son of the politician Charles Philips and Lady Mary Trevelyan of Wallington (find out more about the Trevelyan Charles Philips Trevelyan here). Written at his grandparents’ house Rounton Grange on Christmas Eve 1917, when he was seven years old. Geoffrey requests that Father Christmas decorate the tree and bring presents for the children.

Geoffrey later became an engineer at de Havilland, and the 5th Baronet of Wallington.

Rag Pie Christmas Advertisement

#ChristmasCountdown
Door No. 21

Powell’s Products advert from Rag Pie, 1932 (University Archives, NUA/13/5)

Advertisement for Powell’s Products in Rag Pie.

This advertisement is contained within the 1932 issue of Rag Pie, which was created and published by University students of Newcastle upon Tyne, in aid of the Newcastle Dispensary, The Babies’ Hospital, The Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital and the Eye Hospital. The magazine contains advertisements alongside stories, poems and songs written by students and sold for 6d to raise money for charity.

Front cover of Rag Pie, 1932

RAG is a student-led committee which organised fundraising activities and is still active today, although Rag Pie is no longer published.

Powells Products Ltd. operated on Kells Lane Low Fell until it went into liquidation in 1970.

Christmas Eve in the Olden Time

#ChristmasCountdown
Door No. 20

Christmas Tyde poem, pgs 194-195, from ‘Christmas Eve in the the Olden Time’ (Robert White Collection, W245 COL)

Christmas Tyde poem, pgs 196, from Christmas Eve in the the Olden Time (Robert White Collection, W245 COL)

Poem by Walter Scott from ‘Christmas Tyde: A Series of Sacred Songs and Poetical Pieces suited to the season’, published London: William Pickering, 1849, created by Sara Coleridge.

Find out more about the White (Robert) Collection.

Cholera scrapbook – drinking on Christmas Day, 1831

#ChristmasCountdown
Door No. 19

Newspaper cutting and handwritten account of the Cholera outbreak, 1831 from ‘Collection relative to the cholera at Gateshead, in the county of Durham Vol I (Rare Books, RB 616.932 BEL)

This page from the Cholera scrapbook details circumstances around George Foster Smith, who sold some of his spirits to people on Christmas Day. It explains that nearly all of those that consumed the liquor from Smith’s establishment were those with whom Cholera first broke out in Gateshead. The Cholera outbreak occurred in Gateshead and lasted from 1831-2.

See another page from Cholera scrapbook Volume I, in Door No. 9 of the Special Collections Christmas Calendar.

Transcription reads;

George Foster Smith, then a considerable linen draper NoG(?)4. side, Newcastle with his spare cash began a cheap spirit shop in Tyne Bridge End Buildings in the last week of November 1831. – to gain custom with cheap spirit drinkers he gave to a number of persons some of his spirits, particularly on Christmas day, and strange to say the whole or very nearly the whole of the persons with whom the Cholera first broke out in Gateshead were proved to have been at, and partaken of this cheap spirit, the day before. – he and his spirits were much blamed. – the expected great trade of the spirit shop became nought, and his large linen drapery concern dwindled down to a Haberdashery shop, when he took himself drinking and died at his house in Leazes Terrace the 22. September 1846 aged 57 years

Find out more about our Cholera scrapbooks here.

The scrapbooks are part of the Rare Books Collections. Find out more about it here.

Christmas Entertainments Prologue

#ChristmasCountdown
Door No. 18

Prologue from ‘Round about the coal-fire: or Christmas entertainments’ (19th Century Collection, 19th C. Coll 398.268 CHR)

To get you in the Christmas spirit, here’s the Prologue from ‘Round about our coal fire, or, Christmas Entertainments’ “wherein is described abundance of Fiddle-Faddle-Stuff, Raw-heads, bloody-bones, Buggybows and such like Horrible Bodies; Eating, Drinking, Kissing & other Diversions…” produced in 1734.

Find out more about the 19th Century Collection.

Courier ‘Coping with Christmas’

#ChristmasCountdown
Door No. 17

Article titled ‘Coping with Christmas’ from 12th December 2011 edition of The Courier

Sometimes it isn’t always all carolling out in the snow. Here’s what to do when festive spirit runs low, reality takes a bite and there isn’t a treble close at hand…

Article taken from the Courier, 12th December 2011. View the full issue here.

The Courier is Newcastle University’s student newspaper and has always been a voice for students to express their news, views, and opinions relating to campus life and the operation of the University. Its first issue was released in 1948, when the University was still known as King’s College (Kings College later split into Newcastle University and the University of Durham in 1963). The Courier is still being published today.

Find other issues from the Courier Archive online.

Christmas Card from John and Pauline Dower

#ChristmasCountdown
Door No. 16

Image from the uncatalogued Trevelyan Collection, CPT Uncat 56/4

This Christmas Card from John and Pauline Dower was sent in the second year of their marriage, and its clean, uncluttered style reflects the fashion of 1930. This card was likely sent to Pauline’s parents, Charles Philips and Lady Mary Trevelyan of Wallington (find out more about Charles Philips Trevelyan here).

The Dowers were both instrumental in the establishment and implementation of National Parks in England and Wales.