Tuesday, 10 July 2007

A literary partnership, almost

I had not known, until I read it in a book review the other day, that Prosper Merimée once proposed marriage to Mary Shelley; she was presumably a Miss Wolstencroft at the time. Odd, because she eloped with Percy Bysshe in 1814, when she would have been 17 and Prosper only 11. Perhaps this was just a giggle between a couple of teenagers.

Anyway, it is interesting to speculate how, if the proposal had been accepted, it would have affected 19th century literature. Would they have discussed their work together and influenced each other so that Frankenstein would have made his experiments in Seville and Carmen would have worked in the Ingolstadt cigar factory?

Or would the marriage have been such a jolly one that neither of them would ever write anything? That would have been a pity.

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