1816 – The Year of No Summer by Mary Irvine
In May, 1816, the poet, Shelley and his lover, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin,travelled to Switzerland to meet Lord Byron. Byron and Shelley had both rented houses near Lake Geneva and were constantly in each other’s company. Shelley recorded that being with Byron inspired him.
It was a strange summer for that year summer was non-existent. Spring was as normal in Europe and Northern America but the promised warm, sunny days of summer never arrived. It was so cold people called it ‘The Little Ice Age’. The rain was incessant. Crop failure led to famine. But it did result in some of our greatest literature, for, unable to go out, Byron challenged the others to write a ghostly tale each.
Mary Shelley, as she became, wrote the highly moral Gothic horror ‘Frankenstein’. Originally published anonymously, it has never been out of print. It tells of the scientific creation of a man and its dire consequences. She claimed the idea came to her ‘in a waking dream’.
Shelley produced ‘Fragment of a Ghost Story’. Byron wrote the beginning of a vampire story. His travelling, personal physician, Polidori, later used this to write what is recognised as the first vampire novel, ‘The Vampire’.
And what caused the demise of that summer? Scientists now believe the 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambour in the Indian Ocean was responsible as its dust had shrouded the entire Earth, blocking all sunlight and causing the climatic changes.
Mary Irvine, June, 2016.
- Mary Irvine’s blog: West Dunbartonshire Book Week November 2019
- Mary Irvine: Book Week Scotland 2029 – Events in West Dunbartonshire
- An Evening with Mary Irvine – ‘My Greek Love Affair’
- Paul Murdoch, Alexandria Writers + Open Mic
- Mary Irvine’s Blog: Bruce Biddolph Outstanding as ‘The Inquisitor’
- Start – Graham Morgan at Helensburgh Library
- An Evening with Multi Award winning author Robin Lloyd-Jones
- Dan Richards Booked! Festival 2019 review Mary Irvine
- Mary Irvine’s Blog: Ashurbanipal
- Richard Holloway ‘Waiting for the Last Bus’ review Mary Irvine
- Robin Lloyd-Jones ‘A life in books’ Helensburgh Library
- Glasgow Writer: Mary Irvine
- Onion by Leela Soma – vegetable inspired poetry
- Aye Write 2019! Sara Sheridan introduces Anne Griffin and Anstey Harris
- Aye Write 2019, Tom Shields review by Mary Irvine
- Aye Write: Kamal Ahmed: The Life and Times of a Very British Man review Mary Irvine
- Aye Write 2019: ‘It’s Not About the Burqa’ Mariam Khan, Amna Saleem’ review Mary Irvine
- Neil Oliver at Aye Write 2019 review by Mary Irvine
- Charlie Gracie, Meet the Author, Fruin Farm review by Mary Irvine
- Goldie by Pat Byrne