🎃 October 16 🎃

As usual, what started as “quick byte” of research sent me down dark, warping hallways, through creaky-hinged doors, swept me into spiraling portals, and whoshed me down screamy tunnels.

And, along the way, so much serendip (which is one of the joys of research, no matter how lost I get, there is always a butterfly moment or three.

Digging up stuff on mummies, (my initial floor plan was a list of cinematic mummies linked into my remembories of the travelling Tut), lead me to the discovery of a rich vein of 19th century popular culture and deeper into the genre of gothic horror/romantic gothic horror. All things mummy. And enough, even just skimming the surface and putting out a few quotes to multiply mummify my posts.

To sketch this out (and organize my notes and noggin):

The Mummy in the 19th century/early 20th century library: with a few surprising authors (spoiler: one of them is Louisa May Alcott!)

Mummies in the drawing room: 19th century North American and British popular culture

Mummies at the movies – first mummy flic was filmed in 1899!

Mummy munchies – snacks for your mummy movie marathon curtesy of the Food Network

Of course, there is overlay, overlap and plot twists yet to be unwrapped.

These include: requesting a copy of Weird Women: Classic Supernatural Fiction by Groundbreaking Female Writers, 1852-1923, edited by Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger.

Book blurb (found on publisher’s site, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, library e-catalogue, &

Weirdwomenbook.com

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While the nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley may be hailed as the first modern writer of horror, the success of her immortal Frankenstein undoubtedly inspired dozens of female authors who wrote their own evocative, chilling tales. Weird Women . . . collects some of the finest tales of terror by authors as legendary as Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Charlotte Gilman-Perkins, alongside works of writers who were the bestsellers and critical favorites of their time—Marie Corelli, Ellen Glasgow, Charlotte Riddell—and lesser known authors who are deserving of contemporary recognition.

As railroads, industry, cities, and technology flourished in the mid-nineteenth century, so did stories exploring the horrors they unleashed. This anthology includes ghost stories and tales of haunted houses, as well as mad scientists, werewolves, ancient curses, mummies, psychological terrors, demonic dimensions, and even weird westerns. . . . [A]ll of these exceptional supernatural stories are sure to surprise, delight, and frighten today’s readers.

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Of particular interest in this volume is “Lost in a Pyramid, or the Mummy’s Curse,” written by Louisa May Alcott circa 1869. Little Women was published in 1868.

And I now fascinated by and want to dig up more on one particular woman author, Jane Webb (later Loudon) She is best known as the writer and illustrator of botanical/gardening books for the early Victorian female gardener: “She made gardening accessible and managed to communicate her own enthusiasm in a very practical, useful way. Through her books, gardening came to be regarded as a recreational activity for everyone,” Victoria and Albert Museum not just horticulturalist and botanists.

However, her first major publication, which she described as her “strange, wild novel,” was The Mummy!: Or a Tale of the Twenty-Second Century. Published anonymously (women writers usually had two choices in that time period: publish anonymously or under an often male pseudonym) in 3 volumes in 1827 when she was 20, The Mummy! is considered, a pioneering work of science fiction and the first identifiable ancestor of the mummy genre.” Koren Whipp for Project Continua (in other online sources)

Of her book, Loudon wrote: “I had laid the scene in the twenty-second century, and attempted to predict the state of improvement to which this country might possibly arrive.” She uses the reanimated mummy of King Cheops as her conduit.

As Yusuf/Cat Stevens sang first on Tea for the Tillerman , and now, 50 years later, in a newly re-recorded and reimagined version for his Tea for the Tillerman2 album*:

So on and on I go, the seconds tick the time out

There’s so much left to know, and I’m on the road to find out

 

*the reimagining of songs and release of interesting new music videos for Tea for the Tillerman2 will probably end up as a post some day down that road to find out . . .

remember, mummies are everywhere . . .  but maybe not in the next post