Who the hell was Ann Radcliffe?

This episode accompanies our episode on Ann Radcliffe. That is The Frankenpod, episode 9 season 2.


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Ann Radcliffe was one of the foundational writers of the gothic novel. But the term gothic novels was not in common usage so they were referred to as romances.

Ann Radcliffe was born ann ward on july 6th 1764.

Her dad was a haberdasher and her mum was, well, her mum.

She stayed with her uncle Thomas from time to time too. This is in contrast to Horace walpole who we talked about recently who was pretty well off an powerful.

Then she got married to Wlliam Radcliffe

Are you noticing how few details we have about Anne?

They had no kids but they did have a dog named Chance. William who was an editor of The English Chronicle was often very late to come home, so Anne started writing.

And she wrote quite a lot. In total she wrote 6 novels. 5 of these were published during her lifetime

  1. The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne  1789.

  2. A Sicilian Romance 1790, in two volumes.

  3. The Romance of the Forest 1791, in three volumes.

  4. The Mysteries of Udolpho 1794, in four volumes.

  5. The Italian 1797, in three volumes.

  6. Gaston de Blondeville 1826, in four volumes, which was published after her death.

The substantial payments she received for her works allowed her and William to travel with Chance in tow.

Then she disappeared. Not that she was appearing in public much to begin with, but she became even more reclusive. There were rumours that she had been driven insane by her gothic writings.

She died in 1823 aged 58.

So apart from that we know she was short, beautiful, shy and clever.

It’s not like people haven’t tried to write biographies of her… Christina Rossetti the poet who wrote The Goblin market tried but gave up as she just couldn’t find enough information.

The most enduring of her works are The mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian.

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A little about Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)

This article accompanies our most recent episode on The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde written by Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island. 

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Robert Louis Stevenson was quite a character, he had bronchial trouble all his life but that didn’t stop him from travelling the world and having adventures. He was born in Edinburgh in 1850 and died in Samoa, over 15,000 kms away in 1894 at the age of 44. I found conflicting accounts surrounding his death, but regardless of the circumstances surrounding his demise, the commonly cited manner of death was a cerebral hemorrhage.

His story The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was an immense success prompting people to guess at his inspiration for such an unprecedented tale. These days the story and its mechanics are so much a part of the collective consciousness that to think of it as unique and innovative seems strange. But in 1886, a time in which science was a consent source of curiousity and disquiet a tale of science giving license to acts of depravity and animalistic instinct the idea was not only timely, it was also inspiring, opening the door to many tales of its kind. It is a tale of a scientist splitting his personality in two so that he could effectively compartmentalise and quarantine those uncouth and problematic urges so that they could still be expressed, but without impacting on his status as a well-respected doctor.

The fear of the evil potential of humanity, even the seemingly good and honest doctor, is represented in Hyde. Hyde is the ID, the animal. He operates for his own gratification so that Henry Jekyll can operate according to his superego.

I don’t know Fruedian psychology that well so if I have used that wrong feel free to let me know.

Jekyll 

This week Morgan read the 1886 novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson and Brent watched the 2007 tv series Jekyll.

You can listen to our podcast on libsyn

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The book is the story of a doctor and his terrible secret.

The tv show is also about a doctor and his terrible secret except with shiny buttons, guns and Johnson from peep show.

I don’t feel like writing a blog post this week so enjoy these Johnson and Mitchell and Webb gifs

Flipping Patriarchy – Horace Walpole and The Castle of Otranto

VOTE FOR US by the 14 of February 2019 Australian Podcast Awards

This episode of The Frankenpod Morgan tells Brent a bit about the first gothic novel The Castle of Otranto and its creator, Horatio Walpole the 4th Earl of Oxford, known for our purposes as Horace Walpole.

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You can read The Castle of Otranto for free thanks to public domain and Project Gutenberg here

Horace Walpole was the son of the first British prime minister Robert Walpole and entered into politics himself as the elected member for Callington Cornwall. Horace Walpole never went to Callington. The constituency was what was known as a rotten borough which meant that an elected member of a very small area could be gain the same amount of influence as someone who was elected by a very populated area.

Horace spent 43 years building a gothic mansion called Strawberry Hill which is a quilt of gothic architectural elements all represented in one large building, as promised during the podcast here are some photos of Strawberry Hill:

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Horace Walpole published The Castle of Otranto anonymously in 1764, but the preface claims that it is a found text discovered by Catholic family in the north of England.

It is a story in which a tyrant and illegitimate ruler of the castle of Otranto named Manfred attempts through various nefarious and immoral means to maintain his lordship of Otranto.


When his son Conrad is killed by a massive helmet with a particular resemblance to the helmet on the statue of the founder of Otranto, Alfonso the Good, Manfred begins to panic and freak out. He tries to divorce his wife Hippolita and marry Isabella the young woman who his son was supposed to marry.

Thankfully it turns out that more that one person or entity is determined to stop Manfred’s evil machinations.

The Bride (of Frankenstein/Sting)

The Bride Season 2 Episode 6 of The Frankenpod

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As it’s our podcast anniversary we thought it might be nice to return to our origins. But not Frankenstein and his creature but the potential second creature. The woman who raises so many issues of consent, possibly the most culturally visible character to be born out of a few short chapters of a book!

It’s The Bride!

She exists in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein as an ambiguous collection of anatomical parts that are destroyed before she can even achieve personhood. Victor Frankenstein’s creature pressures him into creating a female from the dead just like him. When Frankenstein begins to speculate on the additional damage that a female creature could cause his concerns fall into two major categories

  1. Procreation
  2. The one that most movies featuring the female creation explore her rejection of the original creature

As a result of these fears Victor destroys his second creation in front of his first, which is the final straw for the creature, this is when he vows to be with Victor Frankenstein on his wedding night.

And we never see the female creature again.

She is all potential. And that is what she remained until relatively recently. It wasn’t until the 1930s that James Whale delivers The Bride of Frankenstein and Elsa Lancaster’s brilliant performance gives us the bride as we typically view her today despite various reenvisionings and reimaginings.

This episode we are going to talk about not only the 1935 classic universal monster movie The Bride of Frankenstein but one of those reimaginings. The 1985 movie The Bride starring Jennifer Beals, Clancy Brown and Sting.

Now back to 1935 and The Bride of Frankenstein introduces a framing narrative that we never return to which is Mary Shelley played by Elsa Lanchester telling the rest of the story that happens after the conclusion of her novel Frankenstein to a very camp Byron and Percy Shelley. On a dark and stormy night no lass

The actual story then kicks off at the end of the original 1931 movie Frankenstein. In fact, we have a scattered reframing of the end of Frankenstein to retroactively suit their purposes.

A character named Dr Pretorius calls upon the recovering Frankenstein who has been renamed appropriately Victor as in the book if you remember in the 1931 movie Frankenstein was called Henry.

The creepy doctor Pretorius has a proposition for the young doctor. One last big experiment. A collaboration.

Pretorius also has little people in jars… it’s a whole thing.

Frankenstein’s wife Elizabeth is. Not. Into. This. And she makes this absolutely clear by talking about ominous premonitions.

Meanwhile, the creature who unexpectedly survived goes on a rampage killing the rest of the family of the little girl who was killed in the original movie and others.

He fled the township

He then made a friend in an old blind fiddler who does not judge him on his appearance and teaches him language. Their domestic bliss is interrupted by some hunters who are lost and raise the alarm that the murderous monster responsible for deaths in the township.

Pretorius befriends the creature as he is collecting the parts for a female creature. He tells the creature that this female creation will be a friend for him.

The creature then helps Pretorious by kidnapping Elizabeth thereby forcing Frankenstein into their unholy collaboration.

They begin a long process of creation which includes Dwight Frye killing some random woman for her heart. The creature kills Dwight Frye… which is the second time that Frankenstein has killed a Dwight Frye character in as many movies. Elizabeth gets free.

The bride is brought to life.

She rejects the Male creature and in a moment of compassion, he lets Frankenstein and Elizabeth go. Before destroying the laboratory with The Bride, Pretorius and himself still inside.

Guess what. It’s time to talk about Sting.

Yep, the 1985 movie the bride….

For more listen to Season 2 Episode 6 of The Frankenpod, The Bride

The Post Christmas Disappointment – Muppets vs. Dickens – A Christmas Carol

You know how we said we’d be better organised for season 2? Well that may only be marginally true. The Christmas Special that we had in the works for over a month turned into somewhat of a Christmas Disappointment .

Still keen to listen? Really? Okay well here are the links.

Direct Download MP3 here

Listen on Libsyn here

Add us to your podcast app here

So for the heck of it let’s divide the episode into five staves just like Dickens’ 1843 novella A Christmas Carol, In Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.

Stave 1

In which we deal with Facebook and Get Grimm, we read a lovely review from Courtney of the Cult of Domesticity and play everything is gothic, unless it’s not, then it’s something else. We also introduce the gothic texts of the episode A Muppet Christmas Carol (1990) and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1843).

Stave 2

In which Morgan gives a narrative summary of the events of the book and movie (for once they were pretty faithful to the plot of the source material, even if they do include Muppets).

Stave 3

Being a discussion of gothic elements… and Harry Potter. These elements include the tyrant, the curse, the haunting and the gothic city. Then a promo for Electric Monks.

Stave 4

In which Brent gets muppety, both hosts read movie names from IMDB (riveting) and Morgan is disappointed in Michael Caine.

Stave 5

We hear from the Lady Pod squad and we rate the stories out of 5 ice skating penguins. Three penguins a pop. In case you care.

 

The podcast mentioned include

Rabbit Holes Podcast

Whatshername

Get Grimm

The Cult of Domesticity

Electric Monks Podcast

Nihilist Podcast Network

Vocal Fries Podcast

and don’t forget to subscribe to Morgan’s new podcast The Hoopy Froods Podcast which is fan exploration of the works of Douglas Adams

 

The Woman in Black vs. Spider the Wonderdog

‘I ran as I have never run before, heedless of my own safety, desperate to go to the aid of the brave, bright little creature who had given me such consolation and cheer in that desolate spot’

– The Woman in Black, Susan Hill

This episode is on Susan Hill’s ‘The Woman in Black’ and the 2012 Hammer Horror flick ‘The Woman in Black’

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You can download here

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And hit subscribe… we’d appreciate it

Our promo this week is from the Fataliteas podcast

The Woman in Black is a story In which our hero, Spider the floofy dog, detects a problem… there is also some guy named Arthur Kipps who does a bunch of stuff. But the real story is about one floofy little dog who’s the bravest girl in the whole darn story.

The Woman in Black is a ghost story that centres around the haunting of a house by a creepy, skeletal woman in black. A young solicitor Arthur Kipps gets sent to a creepy place a la Jonathan harker in Dracula. Kipps is sent to settle the affairs of Alice Drablow, a reclusive elderly lady who lives in a creepy house called Eel Marsh which is only accessable at low tide. Once the tide is in you are stuck there with the creepy shadows, ominous noises and scary wildlife. At the nearest town, Crithin Gifford, everyone is sending Kipps some serious don’t-go-to-Eel-Marsh-vibes.

A spectre haunts Eel Marsh, a spectre that lures children to their deaths. There is a lot of child death in this episode. We try not to be too graphic, but if you’ve seen the movie you know that the graphic deaths are a huge part of the story. Not so much in the book. It is an atmospheric gothic horror that Susan Hill crafts drawing from classic horror stories. You can really feel the influence of the Brontës and Henry James in this book.

Apart from the graphic/atmospheric horror another key difference between the book and the movie is the biographical timeline of Mr Kipps. Whether he is a young enthusiastic solicitor looking to make a name for himself, or a greiving widower barely hanging on to his job as a solicitor for the sake of his young child, the Woman in Black has her sights set on Arthur Kipps and she wants revenge