Ghosts, Spectres and Phantoms: Recycling the Gothic in Periodicals and Anthologies

  • Franz J. Potter


One of the most familiar episodes in Gothic literary history occurred on the stormy night of 16 June 1816, at the Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva and involves one of the lowest forms of the ‘trade’ Gothic: the short tale of terror. Percy Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Polidori and Clair Clairmont were gathered by the fireside to hear Lord Byron read aloud from Fantasmagoriana; ou Recueil d’Histoires d’Apparitions, de Spectres, a French translation of a collection of German tales of terror published in Paris in 1812.1 At the end of the dramatic reading, Byron proposed a challenge, to write their own tale of terror; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modem Prometheus (1.120) was published in 1818 and John Polidori’s Vampyre (1.321) the following year.2


Literary Accomplishment Fashionable Magazine Frame Narrative Arabian Night Invisible World 
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© Franz J. Potter 2005

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  • Franz J. Potter

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