The Monster Reads Poetry
Victor knows infinitely more about literature than I do. He pointed the way to almost all of the quotations in the book, dropping them onto my path where I was sure to “accidentally” stumble upon them.
Because he knows these works so well, in the heat of the moment he thought only of the lines themselves and not who wrote them or where they came from. For the same reason, he sometimes changed a line or two for his own use—much the way any of us might tweak a story when we retell it to Aunt Agatha.
Here are the attributions for the material he quoted throughout the novel, ordered chronologically by journal date:
September 13, 1828
In Walton’s log, unattributed lines from Milton’s Paradise Lost (Book I, 70–74) are set within the text as prose. The lines are in the sixth paragraph from the end of Walton’s entry, beginning with Eternal Justice to the paragraph’s end. Additionally, the word whiteness here is darkness in Milton’s poem.
April 20, 1838
The first selection is from Boethius, The Consolations of Philosophy, Book V. Translated by Helen Waddell from the Teubner edition, in her book Medieval Latin Lyrics. The second is from Guido Cavalcanti, Canzone, lines 29–31, 38. Translated by Lorna de’Lucchi in An Anthology of Italian Poems 13th–19th Century, edited by de’Lucchi. In the last line, the words take not are nor take in the original.
May 12, 1838
Set as one selection are verses from the Book of Job and the Book of Isaiah, King James Version. Neither the change of book nor the ellipses are shown. The first stanza is Job 17:1, 7, 14–15. After the break, the lines are from Isaiah 59:9–10.
June 5, 1838
Friedrich von Schiller, from his poem “A Funeral Fantasie,” lines 18–19, 56, 78–80. Translated by E. P. Arnold-Foster. The ellipses are not shown.
October 1, 1838
Homer, The Odyssey, Book 5, lines 375–80, 389–90, 411–12. Translated by Alexander Pope. The first stanza is continuous. The ellipses before and after the next couplet aren’t shown. Also, for clarification, the opening word Neptune used here was substituted for the original word he.
November 3, 1838
Blaise Pascal, Pensées, from #194. Translated by W. F. Trotter.
November 13, 1838
The Book of Common Prayer, the 1662 revision, from the Daily Order of Evening Prayer. The first selection is Ezekiel 18:27, one of optional openings. The second selection is one of the optional closing prayers: the Third Collect, for Aid against All Perils.
November 21, 1838
Vittorio Alfieri, from his sonnet “The Free Man,” in Selections from Italian Poetry, Angelo Michael de Luca and William Paul Guiliano, editors. The editors used a loose prose translation of the original poem.
November 24, 1838
The Book of Revelation, King James Bible. Selections from two chapters have been set as one, with no ellipses shown, either between the chapters or within each. The first paragraph is Revelation 9:1–2; the wording has been changed slightly, from the third person to the first, so that Victor can say it of himself. The second paragraph is Revelation 6:12–17.
Göttfried August Bürger, from his poem “Lenore.” The three selections are taken from stanzas 28 to 30, in that order. Translated by William Robert Spencer.
John Dunne, from “An Epithalamion, or Marriage Song on the Lady Elizabeth and Count Palatine being Married on St. Valentine’s Day,” lines 85–93.
In Anne Todd’s letter to her cousin, the peculiar thing that she recounts Victor saying is from Milton’s Paradise Regained, Book III, lines 613–14.