Historical Reprints Fiction Proserpine and Midas

Proserpine and Midas

Proserpine and Midas
Catalog # SKU1844
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley


Proserpine and Midas

Two unpublished
Mythological Dramas

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Another novel by the author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, a woman of many intrigues. TGS keeps this mysterious author in print, who indeed, was a lady of many talents.

From the preface

The editor came across the unpublished texts included in this volume as early as 1905. Perhaps he ought to apologize for delaying their appearance in print. The fact is he has long been afraid of overrating their intrinsic value. But as the great Shelley centenary year has come, perhaps this little monument of his wife's collaboration may take its modest place among the tributes which will be paid to his memory.

For Mary Shelley's mythological dramas can at least claim to be the proper setting for some of the most beautiful lyrics of the poet, which so far have been read in undue isolation. And even as a literary sign of those times, as an example of that classical renaissance which the romantic period fostered, they may not be altogether negligible.

From the Introduction

'The compositions published in Mrs. Shelley's lifetime afford but an inadequate conception of the intense sensibility and mental vigour of this extraordinary woman.' Thus wrote Dr. Garnett, in 1862 (Preface to his Relics of Shelley). The words of praise may have sounded unexpectedly warm at that date. Perhaps the present volume will make the reader more willing to subscribe, or less inclined to demur. Mary Godwin in her younger days certainly possessed a fair share of that nimbleness of invention which generally characterizes women of letters.

Her favourite pastime as a child, she herself testifies, had been to write stories. And a dearer pleasure had been-to use her own characteristic abstract and elongated way of putting it-'the following up trains of thought which had for their subject the formation of a succession of imaginary incidents'. All readers of Shelley's life remember how later on, as a girl of nineteen-and a two years' wife-she was present, 'a devout but nearly silent listener', at the long symposia held by her husband and Byron in Switzerland (June 1816), and how the pondering over 'German horrors', and a common resolve to perpetrate ghost stories of their own, led her to imagine that most unwomanly of all feminine romances, Frankenstein.

The paradoxical effort was paradoxically successful, and, as publishers' lists aver to this day, Frankenstein's monster has turned out to be the hardest-lived specimen of the 'raw-head-and-bloody-bones' school of romantic tales. So much, no doubt, to the credit of Mary Shelley. But more creditable, surely, is the fact that she was not tempted, as 'Monk' Lewis had been, to persevere in those lugubrious themes.

Although her publishers-et pour cause-insisted on styling her 'the author of Frankenstein', an entirely different vein appears in her later productions. Indeed, a quiet reserve of tone, a slow, sober, and sedate bearing, are henceforth characteristic of all her literary attitudes. It is almost a case of running from one to the other extreme.


Enter Ceres.

Cer. Where is my daughter? have I aught to dread?
Where does she stray? Ino, you answer not;-
She was aye wont to meet me in yon field,-
Your looks bode ill;-I fear my child is lost.

Ino. Eunoe now seeks her track among the woods;
Fear not, great Ceres, she has only strayed.
Cer. Alas! My boding heart,-I dread the worst.
Oh, careless nymphs! oh, heedless Proserpine!
And did you leave her wandering by herself?
She is immortal,-yet unusual fear

Runs through my veins. Let all the woods be sought,
Let every dryad, every gamesome faun
Tell where they last beheld her snowy feet
Tread the soft, mossy paths of the wild wood.
But that I see the base of Etna firm
I well might fear that she had fallen a prey
To Earth-born Typheus, who might have arisen

And seized her as the fairest child of heaven,
That in his dreary caverns she lies bound;
It is not so: all is as safe and calm
As when I left my child. Oh, fatal day!
Eunoe does not return: in vain she seeks
Through the black woods and down the darksome glades,
And night is hiding all things from our view.

I will away, and on the highest top
Of snowy Etna, kindle two clear flames.
Night shall not hide her from my anxious search,
No moment will I rest, or sleep, or pause
Till she returns, until I clasp again
My only loved one, my lost Proserpine.

Softcover, 8¼" x 5¼"", 75+ pages

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