It is only fitting that I start us off on The Haunted Summer Project 2009, and its companion exercise of Blog Stoker's DRACULA, with a remembrance of The Year Without A Summer.

You can't talk about DRACULA without talking about John Polidori's THE VAMPYRE, which came out of events in the summer of 1816.

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Wikipedia's article - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer - only touches briefly on the cultural effects of this natural phenomenon, theoretically caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora the year before.

http://perdurabo10.tripod.com/id1845.html

New England's reaction to 1816 can be found here:

http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/history/1816.htm

My inner geologist has always wrangled cooperatively with my inner sociologist. One of the current frequently-cited topics in the media nowadays is the effect of climate change, and thus something like my little project here could hardly be more timely, in holding a mirror up to human reactions to weather then and human reactions to weather now.

Extended periods of such weather as we expect for the entire coming week led to a little wager among friends back in 1816. A thoughtful article on the subject, although it is focused on the Shelleys, can be found here:

http://www.kimwoodbridge.com/maryshel/summer.shtml

FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley gained lasting fame, but John Polidori's THE VAMPYRE, as forgotten as it may seem, made Bram Stoker's DRACULA possible.

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I'm not going to post the whole text of Polidori's work here, but it would behoove those Gentle Readers who are joining me for Blog Stoker's DRACULA to bone up on it. [Pun intended.]

A taste of Lord Ruthven and his appetites )

The complete text can be found here at Project Gutenberg.
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