1816 – A party at the Villa Diodati inspires Mary Shelley to write “Frankenstein”

It must have been some party. George, Lord Byron was the host, and his guests were the recently married Percy and Mary Shelley, Dr John Polidori and Claire Clairmont (Byron’s lover and Mary’s step-sister). It was the summer of 1816, or should have been: 1816 is sometimes called ‘the year without a summer’, so gloomy was the weather. In this mood of darkness and gloom, Byron read aloud from one of his works, Fantasmagoriana, and challenged them all to write something in a similar vein.

Byron himself wrote the poem Darkness in response to his challenge; Polidori wrote The Vampyre, which is largely forgotten today but was a bestseller in the 19th century, and influenced Stoker’s Dracula greatly. Finally, Mary Shelley wrote the first parts of what is often considered to be the first modern science fiction novel: Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus.

The party thus set a creative standard to which all subsequent goth parties would aspire, and few if any would reach.

Referenced in:
Ramble On Rose — The Grateful Dead

1904 – The first ever Bloomsday. Sort of.

Bloomsday is a commemoration observed annually on 16 June in Dublin, Ireland and elsewhere to celebrate the life of Irish writer James Joyce and relive the events in his novel Ulysses, all of which took place on the same day in Dublin in 1904. The name derives from Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Ulysses, and 16 June was the date of Joyce’s first outing with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle, when they walked to the Dublin village of Ringsend.

At least, that’s the official version.

There are those who say that in truth, the date Joyce chose to set Ulysses on was not to commemorate his first date with Nora, but rather, the first time the two had any sort of sex (in this case, consisting of her masturbating him to orgasm).

But feel free to continue to believe that the author of Ulysses was a chaste man if it makes you happy – I merely suggest that if you wish to maintain this belief, you never read the book itself.

Referenced in:
Bloomsday – The Kingdom of Idiot Rock

1971 – Tupac Shakur is born

Born Tupac Amaru Shakur in New York City on June 16 of 1971, Tupac was a rap artists. In addition to his own name, he also used the stage names 2Pac, Pac and later Makaveli (although that last name never really caught on).

He grew up in Harlem and many of his songs reflect his background, dealing with topics such as growing up amid the violence and hardship of ghettos, racism and crime. In addition to his career as a rapper, Tupac was also an actor and a social activist known for his advocacy of racial egalitarianism.

In the course of his career, he sold over 75 million albums worldwide and was named the 86th Greatest Artist of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine. He was shot in a drive by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996, and died from his wounds in hospital shortly thereafter. Tupac was mourned by rap fans the world over, and remains one of the best known rappers in history.

Referenced in:
Introbomb First (My Second Reply) — Makaveli