The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

October 12, 2013

Our Readers Speak — Saturday, October 12, 2013

Unraveling a book’s who’s who mystery

Now I’ll take a gracious bow for getting poetry included in a 130th anthology. Thank you, thank you. Boxes of candy and letters of congratulations would be greatly appreciated, since we writers rarely are recognized alive, and even less so when dead. I’m speaking mostly of the not so great ones.

Speaking of fame and miscarriages of justice: Hardly even known today, at least two of these have been unduly robbed and cast into obscurity for 200 years (more and less). Will someone out there please give them the world acclaim they deserve!

Did an 18-year-old girl, Mary Shelley, write the classic “Frankenstein” or The Modern Prometheus? Or was it written by a poet Percy Bysshe Shelley? It’s an intriguing mystery but the ivy halls of academia are slowly but surely swinging in favor of Percy. As mystery writers say, “the truth will  out!”

1) Percy had a penchant for writing under pseudonyms, and in an anonymous fashion (“Frankenstein”, in 1818, was published anonymously). He did this, in large part, in order to attack religion (while hidden).

2) Mary commonly wrote Percy’s poems, letters, and novels out herself as he dictated them. His own writing, was horrible.

3) “Frankenstein”, includes Percy’s atheism: the removal of a divine Creator, using the laws of Nature to give life.

4) Themes of being an outcast run throughout Percy’s poetry and indicate “him” as both monster and as Victor.

5) The 1818 preface (written by Percy) is different from the 1831 preface (by Mary). And there is other evidence.

Thus, I believe a timeless classic has been assigned to the “wrong” author. And so the spirit of truth has been sadly slandered.

A man almost forgotten today, the model for Alexandre Dunn’s “The Three Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Cristo”, his father, a black man in France, who rose to command vast armies (even while his peers were in slavery). I recommend the book “The Black Count: Glory Revolution Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo” by Tom Reiss; Broadway, paperbound.

Then there’s the unsung woman Revolutionary patriot and soldier Deborah Sampson who fought during the period between the British surrender at Yorktown and the signing of the final treaty. In her you’ll find no Jessica Lynch cover-up — or American news scam.

Where are their statues? Their recognition? Their glory? Are outlaws and villains to receive our highest accolades?

Lonnie Bailey


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