In what could be considered a plausible prelude to the
inception of Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein, Fuseli; Or,
A Vindication Of The Modern Prometheus, is written
as an early nineteenth century epistolary Gothic novel
conveying the memoirs of Henry Fuseli, the Swiss
born poet, author, artist, historian, genius, Royal
Academician; and inventor of the most sublime
paintings of Northern European Art; The Nightmare,
Expertly researched, this factual and enchanting
historical fiction is relayed in conversation with Mary
Wollstonecraft, the first feminist author, during one
of the most transformative and politically volatile
periods in European history. It chronicles Fuseli's
utterly fascinating life and extensive circle comprised
of the most notable figures from the age of
enlightenment. Written entirely in the vernacular of its
time, Fuseli’s story begins in 1741 Zurich and takes
the reader on his expansive Grand Tour throughout
Europe as he pursues his passions and the arts; from
his self-directed study in Florence and Rome to his
later career as a painter in pre-Victorian London.
There he begins a love affair with Wollstonecraft, as
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I assure thy reader, as any adept student in the Art must agree, — the life of the Artist, Henry Fuseli,
ESQ. M.A.R.A., which the present work hereafter accounts, is indeed the same what the world
knows_him to have lived, or so at least it must be presumed —then, by the provenance of a mind
capable of fanciful reasoning —can it be apprehended as truth. But the skeptical mind will remain so
—beyond all evidential proof—as the latter has been made from the cast of a different nature than
It has been a most fortuitous circumstance —securing this manuscript, such as I have done, and
assembling the various relevant materials into the present work has been a blessing of some-what
sterner labour. Although, admittedly, I have had little hand in the general design as the preponderance
of these materials which included several hitherto unpublished letters had already_been copied
verbatim into the present manuscript, ostensibly by Fuseli himself, and I have done what I can to
preserve the intended arrangement. Although the manuscript itself is undated, based on the Author’s
apparent ignorance of the cessation of the Franco Napoleonic Wars, the Editor has determined its
likely completion some years previous to the Battle of Nations, at Leipzig; 1813.
The inclinations to reserve comment, such as I have felt, will no doubt stress the Public’s
approbation; but with regard to explanations and notes, which I have indicated [thusly] and also in
footnote, I have so done only by necessity for the apprehension of the common reader. As the
Author's_capacity of knowledge so surpasses my own, that by my ignorance, I could not possibly
cite,_nor at even a century's time discover, every authority from which his opinions may have
originated; thus,_I have also withheld my own feeble observations what would serve only to distract.
But if you are sympathetic to the fact that the Author’s capacity for languages is also perfectly
superior_to my own, I shall flatter myself to have provided some translations of the foreign tongue
which might_approach his original sentiments.
However, be it known that found within are candid descriptions of incidents and anecdotes of many
Artists and notable figures who, in small or large part, are known to this country, and whose
identities_I have chosen not to conceal so as to assist the reader in forming his own estimations of
these persons and what influence they and Fuseli have expended toward the progress of the Art.
Moreover, and perhaps more sedulously, incorporated throughout the text are apparently expressions
of conversation between Henry Fuseli [F] and Mrs. Mary Wollstonecraft [MW]; whose intimate
relationship has been well acknowledged before the public eye, but out of contemporaneous
propriety_has remained largely unpronounced, as this work will no doubt elucidate.
Therefore, I must acknowledge that by publishing these materials, such as I have done, I most
assuredly threaten the reputation of not only myself, but also others as well; as the Editor is presently
aware of one or more lives which may indeed be affected adversely, or at the least, very much
harassed by the contents herein. However, I nevertheless_have chosen to proceed with the present
volumes by which I hazard every good standing in decency because I believe the revelations of this
manuscript to be of the most vital necessity in order to bestow_a just and lasting legacy for the Artist,
Henry Fuseli, and the posterity to which he has now been twenty years committed.
LONDON, JUNE 13,1844. MAL
|A D V E R T I S E M E N T.
*THIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM AN ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT BY THE AUTHOR MICHAEL ALLEN
LOWE, COPYRIGHT 2018, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
he attempts to attain his legacy as the first Modern painter of his day. This novel contains astonishing revelations
that may deliver this brilliant and controversial artist to his rightful place as not merely a proto-Romantic painter,
but the progenitor of all modern western art, and the likely inspiration for Frankenstein.