The Flâneur

Library > New Publishing > Fire of Heaven, Fire of Hell

Fire of Heaven, Fire of Hell

by Darvell St-Irvyne

A powerful drama of the Shelleys and Byron and the origins of 'The Vampyre' and 'Frankenstein', St-Irvyne's new play is a thoroughly researched and brilliantly written dynamic new piece of theatre. Exploring the revolutionary ideas, sublime work and tempestuous lives of characters, focussing especially on Mary Shelley and Byron, the play is at once dark, witty, radical, erotic and poetic - an exhilarating gallop through Romanticism itself, the ultimate literary wild hunt.

My God, how far are you prepared to go?
All the way! Further! To the limits! Beyond!

A must for all lovers of Gothic, aficionados of new theatre, and students of Romantic literature alike.

Published 2007 (ISBN 978-0-9556290-0-6).

Available direct from'spage.htm
or contact Price £7.50 in UK and Europe, £7.99 rest of world (p&p included).

Amazon: For their own nefarious reasons Amazon have decided the book is 'currently unavailable'. This is a lie. Amazon and their 'suppliers' simply can't be bothered to look for it. It seems to be a policy to put the squeeze on small publishers to pay to market their books on Amazon. There is a good review of the play on Amazon, but the play is only available from Quincey Riddle or L'OYS (see above).

Extract from Act II Scene 24:

Villa Diodati; june 1816; night

Mary Shelley, P.B. Shelley, Byron, Claire Clairmont & Dr. Polidori drinking and talking by candlelight as thunderstorm rages outside.

POLIDORI:Dr. Mesmer has shown that we are subject to the ebb and flow of magnetic forces emanating from the heavenly bodies - and to walk to the cadence of cosmic magnetic tides is to walk in health and happiness...
BYRON:Oh good God, not Rousseau under another name - 'We are the children of a benevolent Nature...'
POLIDORI:If my lord will indulge me a moment: Dr. Mesmer shows that each person generates his or her own animal magnetism - the force of attraction and repulsion - from the median point of our bodies.
SHELLEY:Exactly. Plato teaches in the 'Symposium' that the guiding force of nature is Love. Science calls it electricity, magnetism: the energy of the universe, of heaven and earth, of Life itself - it is Divine Love. And that is what Mesmer means too - animal magnetism is Love.
BYRON:Sounds more like sex to me, Shiloh. A force of attraction and repulsion emanating from our midriffs?
CLAIRE:That's what de Sade says: we are driven by sex. [Lightning and thunder]
BYRON:Look at the lightning, Shiloh. Your pure universal energy. Look at the raw ferocity of its power. You tell me that's Love?
CLAIRE:When lightning strikes, the heavens fuck the earth as fiercely as a man fucks a woman!
BYRON:Claire's right, Shiloh. That's where the quest for the Sublime leads.
SHELLEY:But sex is the physical manifestation of Love!
BYRON:Even that old bore Burke realised that the most intense of all Sublime feelings is not Love but Terror...
CLAIRE:And Pain.
BYRON:But he was too British to realise what that meant.
MARY:And what does it mean?
CLAIRE:It means that Terror and Pain are the height of the Sublime - because they amplify sex beyond mere orgasm - beyond imagination!
MARY:The sleep of reason truly brings forth monsters.
BYRON:If it's the Sublime you're after - its into the realms of Terror and Pain we must go. Are you game, Shiloh?
CLAIRE:We know the Tempestuous Loveliness of Terror well, don't we, Shiloh? Many's the night he's petrified Mary and I half to death with his tales and phantasms! Shelley sees ghosts, you know. And I have fits!
BYRON:Fits of sublime ecstasy, eh? Excellent. Then let us seize the opportunity of this magnificent night to scale the heights of the Sublime!
MARY:Or plunge the depths? [BYRON picks up a book]
BYRON:I bought this the other day. 'Phantasmogoriana', German tales of Terror. A classic of its kind. Pure Gothic. The ancestral ghost who haunts the generations, blighting his descendents with a cursed kiss. The man who clasps his bride only to find he is holding a putrefying corpse... [SHELLEY looks into the shadows and starts in horror]
SHELLEY:It was as if a dead and a living body had been haled together in loathsome and horrid communion...
SHELLEY:Harriet - I saw her - there - just now - she was - rotting...
MARY:My God, Albé, stop it - leave us alone!
BYRON:It is too late to stop - the séance has begun and no-one can leave the circle. In each one of us our most horrific fantasy is collecting, like a pearl around a grain of sand. What do we need of these yarns? [BYRON throws the book aside] Our own nightmares are infinitely more potent. Yes, let us create our own stories to terrify the world - to prove that, in their way, the astrologers were right! You, Mary, I know will not disappoint.
MARY:Why are you doing this? Shelley's Sublime soars to the heavens - exalted - illuminated. Yours...
CLAIRE:Plunges the delirious darkness of Hell!
MARY:Terror and pain!
SHELLEY:No, not pain. There your philosophy is wrong, Albé. The Sublime uplifts us - takes us beyond. Pain merely degrades.
BYRON:Have you ever inflicted gratuitous pain, Shiloh?
SHELLEY:No, of course not. Never!
BYRON:Then let me tell you - the pleasure of causing pain is Sublime. The lash of the whip; the vampire's bite!
SHELLEY:Sublime for you perhaps. But what of your victim? No- one delights in receiving pain.
MARY[looking at CLAIRE]: I think you may be wrong there, Bysshe... My God, how far are you prepared to go?
CLAIRE:All the way! Further! To the limits! Beyond!