In Indonesia, the Tambora Volcano eruption in 1815 is considered the biggest volcanic event in the last 200 years. This explosion apparently gave birth to two literary classics. We can say that the phrase “Geography is destiny” is an interesting addition to this event.
The Tambora volcano eruption in 1815 had a direct impact on the development of horror literature. Frankenstein and the first vampire story (dracula’s ancestor) were inspired by this explosion and written in the same house. This explosion was so effective that besides the development of literature; it pushed states to administrative rule, ended the Napoleonic wars, and ignited some inventions such as bicycles.
What kind of processes did the tambora explosion trigger horror literature? Let’s explain briefly over the stories I gave the name above.
In 1815, on the Tambora volcano in Indonesia, the most violent eruption of all time humanity has ever seen takes place. Temperatures around the world drop due to ash covering the atmosphere. Europe has been in the Napoleonic Wars for the last 12 years. The devastation of both the Tambora disaster and the protracted war leads to famine across the world, especially in Europe; but the Napoleonic wars end 2 months after the eruption.
Napoleon loses his famous battle of waterloo due to extreme rain and ground conditions turned from mud to swamp. Europe receives an unprecedented amount of rain that year. This is because the tambora ashes cause a kind of short circuit in the ionosphere layer where the clouds are formed and trigger the rains. The tambora volcano, which killed 100,000 people, ironically gave the world a kind of “make love not war” message. For tambora, who ended the war, it is next to contribute to world horror literature.
The summer of the year after the tambora explosion is like a winter
Snowfalls occur in June and July. The summer season of 1816 goes down in history as the “year without a summer”. Crops do not grow, potato famine begins in Ireland. In Ireland and England, all summer passes with uninterrupted rains. After the famine, typhus epidemic begins. Close to a hundred thousand people die. The deaths of animals used in transportation, like horses, reach such a point that in 1817 the first pedalless bicycle was invented by Karl Drais von Sauerbronn to pull loads. One of the darkest periods in Europe is experienced.
May this happen, Lord Byron, the famous author of the time, invites a few English friends to his house in Geneva.
These invitees are Mary Shelley and her half sister, John William Polidori, a doctor who has been writing hobby stories with Percy Shelley, then married to another woman. they accept the invitation. Like everywhere else, the air is freezing in Geneva, there is no summer air. they are condemned to stay in the house and over time the guests begin to get bored. Lord Byron searches for a remedy, and soon he has an idea. Suggests guests to write a horror story in accordance with gloomy days. this idea attracts the attention of the guests and they compete to write a good horror story.
This is such a competition that two cult horror stories emerge from that house in Geneva. Mary shelley, starting with the understanding that “the reader should not dare to look at her environment, her blood should freeze in her veins and her heart should beat rapidly”, inspired by the summerless years they are in; writes a monster coming out of the ice, “frankenstein”. polydori, on the other hand, is inspired by the invisible sun and creates a creature that cannot live in sunlight. writes the first published vampire story “the vampyre”, the precursor of the dracula. Thus these two fears are revealed by a boredom activity in the summer of 1816. Soon these stories brought horror literature to success.