June 16, 2016

The Villa Diodati

In 1816, Lord Byron rented the manor known as the Villa Diodati, near Cologny, on Lake Geneva. The house already had solid literary credentials. Its original owner, Giovanni Diodati, had translated the Bible into Italian and French, and the poet John Milton (whom Mary would quote in Frankenstein) is said to have vacationed there in 1639.

Byron was joined that fateful summer by his personal physician, John Polidori, and his guests: Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Godwin (soon to be Shelley), and Claire Claremont. It was here that ghosts stories were read aloud, and at the nearby guesthouse where she resided that Mary conceived of Frankenstein and first wrote these words that, slightly edited, would open chapter five of the book: “It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld my man completed…

The villa still stands. It is the square building, right of center, in the GoogleEarth image below.




Rick said...

Just wanted you to know, Pierre, that I loved this post first time around and I still do. Matter of fact, I sent the link to both of my adult sons, who were kind enough to still click on a link sent by old Dad.

They were both dazzled that the Villa still exists and now they want to see it in person. My younger son wrote me back, "That's incredible. I want to go there Now."

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I live in Marlow where Mary Shelley finished writing Frankenstein.

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