Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Rosicrucian

I was poking through bits of Shelley's work earlier today, mining the web for quotes, when I came across an interesting piece of information about my favorite poet: he wrote a couple of Gothic novels early in his career. Why didn't I know this? The first one, Zastrozzi, didn't really grab me, although I may come back to it later and give it more of a chance. The second one, though, has an alchemist! It's called St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian. I looked around and, sure enough, the book was available cheaply in electronic format. Check out this opener:
Red thunder-clouds, borne on the wings of the midnight whirlwind, floated, at fits, athwart the crimson-coloured orbit of the moon; the rising fierceness of the blast sighed through the stunted shrubs, which, bending before its violence, inclined towards the rocks whereon they grew: over the blackened expanse of heaven, at intervals, was spread the blue lightning's flash; it played upon the granite heights, and, with momentary brilliancy, disclosed the terrific scenery of the Alps, whose gigantic and mishapen summits, reddened by the transitory moon-beam, were crossed by black fleeting fragments of the tempest-clouds. The rain, in big drops, began to descend, and the thunder-peals, with louder and more deafening crash, to shake the zenith, till the long-protracted war, echoing from cavern to cavern, died, in indistinct murmurs, amidst the far-extended chain of mountains. In this scene, then, at this horrible and tempestuous hour, without one existent earthy being whom he might claim as friend, without one resource to which he might fly as an asylum from the horrors of neglect and poverty, stood Wolfstein;--
Even if you're one of those shriveled snobs who titters at "dark and stormy nights" like Beavis and Butthead upon spotting a fragmentary curse word, you've got to admit, this is the kind of language that transforms ink on a page into free-based fantasy. Okay, okay. I realize that, if you're one of the aforementioned snobs, you won't admit anything of the sort, but you should.

Anyway, finding an unknown novel by an author I love about a topic that fascinates me - that's like something out of dream! I've got some serious writing to get done, but I allowed myself a couple of hours with this fantastic new toy to warm myself up. I always do better work after I've been reading thick and chewy old school prose anyway.

Oh, and then I did some blogging, but now I'm going to get to work! Really!

After dinner. I mean, I gotta eat sometime, you know?

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