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.

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.

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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 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

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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

 

Not My Mothman – The Mothman Prophecies feat. Jenni and Shelby from Wives Tales

Picture credit

“Mothman IMG_1819” by OZinOH is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The objects and apparitions do not necessarily originate on another planet and may not even exist as permanent constructions of matter. It is more likely that we see what we want to see and interpret such visions according to our contemporary beliefs.

– John Keel, The Mothman Prophecies (1975 novel)

John Klein: I think we can assume that these entities are more advanced than us. Why don’t they just come right out and tell us what’s on their minds?

Alexander Leek: You’re more advanced than a cockroach, have you ever tried explaining yourself to one of them?

– The Mothman Prophecies (2002 movie)

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On December 15th 1967 Point Pleasant’s Silver Bridge collapsed resulting in the tragic deaths of 46 people. There are still many residents of the area who were directly effected by the disaster.

This tragedy would have become a sad part of local history if it were not for a ufologist, author and paranormal investigator, John Keel, who happened to be investigating sightings in the area in the months prior to the bridge collapse. Point Pleasant locals seem to have mixed feelings about the way that Keel’s book the Mothman Prophecies framed and sensationalised the events that took place in their city.

So about 3 months ago we thought it would be fun to cover the mothman. I even sought out the source material and I knew that Jenni and Shelby would be able to give some insight as their whole darn podcast is about myths, legends and cryptids. But it turns out that the 2002 film would prove to be not quite what we expected from our old pal the mothman. If you want more info on the mothman or weird demon things that braid women’s hair I highly recommend checking out the Wives Tales podcast!

Our promo this week is from the amazing Cutaways podcast. Honestly we’ve all internalised countless rom coms, even if we aren’t too keen on the genre and this podcast has a lot of fun while taking down some of garbage people and situations that go unquestioned.

Want to support our nonsense? Check out the support us page and our new ‘donut’ button.

 

Four Days to Go!

It’s 2pm Australian Eastern Daylight savings time on the 27th of October 2018 which means The Frankenpod season two starts in just four days on the 31st of October!

Halloween Spppooooookyyy.

Not really intentional it just seemed as good a time as any.

We have some amazing episodes coming with Melissa of The Brook Reading podcast on a particularly divisive and controversial book and I don my tinfoil hat with the ladies of Wives Tales to talk about a cinematic adaptation of one of the most popular conspiracies based novels of the 20th Century.

But for the first episode of season two Brent and I tackle a little true crime by examining a masterpiece of “literary non-fiction”, some of the controversies surrounding it and it’s cinematic adaptations.

We’ve recorded a short promo just to keep everyone in the loop and you can find the initial relaunch blog post here.

If you want a bit of a refresher on what we define as gothic you can find our introduction to gothic literature here and we will be updating this definition soon to include some of the things we have learnt along the way. There is also our everything is gothic unless it’s not and then it’s something else which might be useful if you are looking for more specific information about what we include as part of the gothic genre.

This season we will be featuring creepy stories submitted by listeners and some classic gothic short stories you may not have heard before. It doesn’t have to be frightening, it doesn’t have to be dramatic, just a little something that can be read in 5 minutes. If you like you can send it to us as the text for us to read or you can read it yourself and send us an audio file. If writing isn’t your thing we are also happy to accept music.

Make sure you let us know if you want us to promote your project, podcast, writing or anything. It is literally the least we could do.

If you want to come on the podcast and have a chat about your favourite gothic book, movie, television show, graphic novel, poem, character or author you can email us at thefrankenpod@gmail.com.

We can’t wait to be back!

http://thefrankenpod.libsyn.com/season-2-starts-on-the-31st-of-october

 

Promo Music: Swing Gitane by The Underscore Orkestra is licensed under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Image: A digitized image of the original painting American Gothic that Grant Wood, a master artist of the twentieth century, created in 1930 and sold to the Art Institute of Chicago in November of the same year.

The Devil’s Dictionary

Today we are going to dabble in The Devil’s Dictionary. 

Our Twitter is @thefrankenpod

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20180731_220458_0001-1598354645.pngThe first English dictionary is commonly thought to be compiled in 1755 by Dr Samuel Johnson of Blackadder fame. But that’s not really true. There were plenty of dictionaries before him. The most accurate guess at the earliest English language dictionary was one written by Robert Cawdrey in 1604 which was the first to include definitions albeit of only 2 thousand four hundred and 99 words. Put in contrast the Oxford English dictionary today has over 170 thousand words. The key difference between Dr Johnson’s dictionaries and the ones who came before him was the number of definitions and the level organisation.

Johnson dedicated his life to lexicography and died in 1784. 83 years later Ambrose Bierce, a writer of excellent gothic and supernatural short stories embarked on the serialised satirical exploration of the dictionary. Some of these definitions popped up in his weekly columns in ‘Town Crier’ and ‘Prattle’ and also in his personal letters. He wasn’t the first to take on the idea of a satirical dictionary, but Bierce certainly was dedicated to building and collating his own glossary of irreverent definitions.

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was born June 24th 1842, in an Ohio settlement called Horsecave. One of 13, all beginning with the letter A. Marcus Aurelius Bierce (1799–1876) and Laura Sherwood Bierce Had 13 kids named Abigail, Amelia, Ann, Addison, Aurelius, Augustus, Almeda, Andrew, Albert, and Ambrose… and that’s how you make sure one of your kids is going to write some kind of dictionary. It just so happened that this particular kid was a bit of a smart arse as he grew up.

As a kid, he was a printer’s devil, which is a little guy who mixes ink and generally getting things to the printer as quickly as possible because of those printing presses and typesetting dealies technical term, are massive and complex. He was 15 at this point and the printing operation he worked at was for an abolitionist paper called the Northern Indian

I’m terrified of delving into military history as always so here are the bare bones facts that we need from Bierce’s military service:

He fought in the Union army from the age of 18 until 24

He sustained a pretty serious head injury and some serious psychological damage

He saw some shit and it definitely had an impact on his writing. The horror of war was something he would come back to multiple times during his time as a writer.

He got married and had 3 kids. The marriage came to an end when he discovered letters to his wife Molly from an admirer, the separated in 1888, but did not divorce until 1904, 16 years later. She died the next year. His 3 kids were 2 boys, Day and Leigh and a daughter named Helen. Day and Leigh both died as young men, Day duel a romantic rejection and Leigh’s alcoholism and a nasty bout of pneumonia got the better of him in 1901. So by 1905 it Helen was Ambrose’s only surviving child.

Ambrose is typically framed as a Soldier, Journalist, writer and hardened cynic.

We will be revisiting Bierce’s amazing short stories at some point and there is an earlier episode of the Frankenpod which is just me reading A Vine on a House which is one of Bierce’s shorter stories. He is one of the wittiest, creepy and concise writers of American gothic fiction. He had a misadventure in Mining getting involved as a manager without experience and at the end of the mining boom so that didn’t go well.

Bierce at the age of 71 went to Mexico while it was in the middle of a revolution. He joined one of the armies as an observer, the army of Pancho Villa. The last known correspondence was from Chihuahua in Mexico and then poof! He vanished!

And that, in very broad strokes is the life of Ambrose Bierce, and if anyone knows a lot more about Mr Bierce and would like to come on the podcast I’d love to talk to you!

Three things you need to know about The Devil’s Dictionary

  1. It is intensely self-indulgent
  2. It is quite misogynist
  3. It is incredibly racist.

Particularly when it comes to Native Americans and Aboriginal people.

Thanks to the U.S. Army Jazz by for making the song Kelli’s no. available in the public domain.

Promo from Not another X Files Podcast