'Whimsical Miseries; Or, A Vindication Of The Modern
Prometheus,' is a nineteenth century epistolary Gothic novel
[Frankenstein] written as the memoirs of John Henry Fuseli,
a Swiss born Royal Academician; poet, author, historian,
genius, and inventor of the most sublime paintings of
Western European Art; 'The Nightmare,' most famously.
Lowe's darkly enchanting novel chronicles Fuseli's
fascinating life and his extensive circle comprised of many of
the most notable European figures from the eighteenth and
early nineteenth centuries; during one of the most
transformative, and politically volatile periods in European
history. As it is written entirely in mimicry of Fuseli's
unique manner of mind, and in the vernacular of his time,
the book reads as his authentic memoir, what begins in 1741
Zurich and takes the reader across Europe on a Grand Tour
which explores the Artist's early life and education to his
later career what establishes him at London as he attempts
to secure his legacy as the first Modern Painter of his day.
Expertly researched, this novel is dangerously factual
and contains astonishing revelations, the final of which, if it
indeed be true, will rewrite literary history and deliver this
complex and controversial Artist to a posterity of both fame
and infamy that is difficult to well imagine.
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 you or I.
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 somewhat sterner labour. —
Although, admittedly, I have had little hand in the general design as the preponderance of these materials had
been previously organized for publication, ostensibly by Fuseli himself, and I have not much contended this
plan. As such, you will find some of the text is owed to prior publications, as the Artist is at times repetitious
to previous concerns, which is significant, as I understand this was typical of Fuseli’s writing. By example, the
present work begins similarly to the Artist’s first publication: ‘Remarks on J.J. Rousseau;’ what has been lost,
but I trust you will pardon the various reiterations out of respect to the purpose of his scheme. Furthermore,
by my comparison, much of the chronology of events follows that of the posthumous biography: ‘The Life and
Times’ of the Artist, written by John Knowles, F.R.S. —a work long before the public eye, however, as the
present work has been written by Fuseli himself, various inaccuracies of previous anecdotes are herein rectified
and the other particulars analogous to those shared by Mr. Knowles are improved by the first-hand account,
what has been printed verbatim from a manuscript and several letters of the Artist’s own handwriting; and as I
have alluded, I have done what I can to preserve the Artist’s intended arrangement of these materials.
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, I have indicated only what wills to necessity for the apprehension of the
common reader. As Fuseli’s capacity of knowledge so surpasses my own, that by my ignorance, I could not
possibly cite, nor at a centuries time discover, every authority for which his opinions have originated; and thus,
I have also withheld my own feeble observations what would serve only to distract. But I flatter myself to have
provided translations of the foreign tongue to approach the sentiment of the Artist, whose capacity for
languages was also perfectly superior.
Additionally, throughout the work 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
here are expressions from the heretofore unpublished letters between Mrs. Mary Wollstonecraft and Fuseli;
whose intimate relationship has been well acknowledged, but out of propriety, has remained largely
unpronounced, as this work will no doubt elucidate.
It is clear to the Editor that the Artist, Fuseli, as will be revealed —has intended a purpose for these, his words,
what his pictures have thusly failed to communicate —the sensitivities of both Artist and Man. I have taken
the liberty to print the constituents of this volume without omission from the original texts; and by so doing, I
fail the natural wish of the Artist, as communicated in a correspondence which came into my possession with
the former, posthumous to his death in what he has explicitly proposed for only a single impression of his
manuscript to be struck, bound, and delivered directly to his person, for what must be presumed a gift to the
intended recipient from his own hands. As the Editor must conclude that it was by no design for any of these
materials to be presented to the Public; I must acknowledge that by publishing the present work, such as I
have done, I most assuredly threaten the reputation of not only myself, but those persons addressed; as the
Editor is aware of one or more that lives who may be effected adversely, or at the least, very much harassed by
the contents herein. However, as I cannot know whether or not the former plan was ever realized, I have
chosen to proceed with the present volume by which I hazard every standing to decency because I believe the
revelations of this manuscript to be of the most vital necessity to bestow a just and lasting legacy for the Artist,
Fuseli, and the posterity to which he has been now twenty years committed.
—I only ask that you judge me not more harshly than the he who I suppose to be for publishing this cruelty
that I now unleash upon the world.*
|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 2014, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED