Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Monday, April 24, 2017

Frankenstein Sundae, 303

So. Falkner. Mary Shelley’s final novel—her sixth. 1837. Fourteen years before her death. She had not had to look far for her title. Her father, William Godwin, thirty years earlier, had written a play, Faulkener. A masked ball. A wild landscape. Moonlight. Murder. Faulkener arrested. A trial. Innocent! Off he goes with his mother, to whom he’s devoted.
My journal reminds me that I read the play in one sitting on March 3, 1998. At Saywell’s Drug Store in Hudson. Drinking coffee. I didn’t say much about it in my journal—just this: another of Godwin’s bad plays. He had hoped to find financial security—and fame—in the playhouses. He didn’t. But hopes were high. Drury Lane Theatre accepted it for production—and cast in a prominent role one of the great actresses of the day, Sarah Siddons, born into the celebrated acting family, the Kembles, in 1766. Charles Lamb wrote a prologue for the play, which premiered on December 16, 1807.
And actually got some decent reviews. A respectful crowd. It ran for six performances, but Godwin never again wrote a play. This one had earned him very little money for a tremendous amount of work. And when it was published in 1808, the reviewers were less kind.[1]
I have a note that I have the entire play—printed from microform—in a loose-leaf notebook. If anyone knows where that notebook is, please let me know!

[1] Peter H. Marshall, William Godwin (New Haven: Yale UP, 1984), 272–74.

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