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"Fantasmagoriana has a significant place in the history of English literature. In the summer of 1816 Lord Byron and John William Polidori were staying at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva and were visited by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley and Claire Clairmont. Kept indoors by the "incessant rain" of that "wet, ungenial summer", over three days in June the five turned to reading fantastical stories, including Fantasmagoriana (in the French edition), and then devising their own tales. Mary Shelley produced what would become Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus and Polidori was inspired by a fragmentary story of Byron's to produce The Vampyre, the progenitor of the romantic vampire genre. Some parts of Frankenstein are surprisingly similar to those found in Fantasmagoriana and suggest a direct influence upon Mary Shelley's writing."--Sholem Stein

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Fantasmagoriana is a French anthology of German ghost stories, translated anonymously by Jean-Baptiste Benoît Eyriès and published in 1813. It was read by Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John William Polidori and Claire Clairmont at the Villa Diodati in Cologny, Switzerland during the Year Without a Summer, and inspired them to write their own ghost stories, including "The Vampyre" (1819), and Frankenstein (1823), which went on to shape the Gothic horror genre.


Eyriès chose a selection of eight German ghost stories to translate for a French audience. The first story ("L'Amour Muet") was from Johann Karl August Musäus' satirical retellings of traditional folk tales Volksmärchen der Deutschen (1786). The next ("Portraits de Famille") was by Johann August Apel, first published in 1805, but reprinted in his anthology Cicaden (1810). Of the remaining six tales, five were from the first two volumes of Apel and Laun's Gespensterbuch (1811), and one ("La Chambre Grise") was by the highly popular author Heinrich Clauren, which had been parodied by Apel in one of his Gespensterbuch stories ("La Chambre Noire").

List of stories

Fantasmagoriana English translation German original German source Author
"L'Amour Muet" Dumb Love "Stumme Liebe" Volksmärchen der Deutschen, vol. 4 Musäus
"Portraits de Famille" Family Portraits "Die Bilder der Ahnen" Cicaden, vol. 1 Apel
"La Tête de Mort" The Death's Head "Der Todtenkopf" Das Gespensterbuch, vol. 2 Laun
"La Morte Fiancée" The Death Bride "Die Todtenbraut" Das Gespensterbuch, vol. 2 Laun
"L'Heure Fatale" The Fated Hour "Die Verwandtschaft mit der Geisterwelt" Das Gespensterbuch, vol. 1 Laun
"Le Revenant" The Revenant "Der Geist des Verstorbenen" Das Gespensterbuch, vol. 1 Laun
"La Chambre Grise" The Grey Chamber "Die graue Stube (Eine buchstäblich wahre Geschichte)" Der Freimüthige (newspaper) Clauren
"La Chambre Noire" The Black Chamber "Die schwarze Kammer. Anekdote" Das Gespensterbuch, vol. 2 Apel

See also

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