Susan Heyboer O'Keefe 
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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 13th19th 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 1819, 56, 7880. 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 6:1217.


December 10, 1838

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.


December 12, 1838

The first selection is Genesis 1:27, from the Douay Rheims Bible. The second selection is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther, from Werther’s letter dated May 10. Translated by R. D. Boylan.


December 25, 1838

The Plow Boys, or Modes Dancers, a Mummer’s play often performed at Christmas. From the 1779 Ravesby Lincolnshire manuscript, “page the 2.” The Ravesby manuscript is the earliest known written version of the play.


February 14, 1839

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.


February 17, 1839

Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, from “The Crisis No. I.”


March 3, 1839

Joseph Mather, “Watkinson and His Thirteens,” Song XLIV, the chorus. Mather was a street balladeer who often used contemporary events as the basis for his work. He wrote this popular pub song about a labor dispute that resulted when a master cutler began to ask cutlers to sell him thirteen knives for the price of twelve. Hence, the “odd knife” they were going to carve him up with.


April 10, 1839

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 61314.

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