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Flashcards in Mary Shelley Deck (7):
1

The 1818 edition of Frankenstein is closer to the historical contexts than the 1831 revision. Name three types of historical context and give examples

1. Biographical (the recent death of Mry Shelley's first baby and her dissatisfactions with Percy Shelley's Romantic ideology).
2. Political (her observations of the aftermath of the French Revolution in 1814-16).
3. Scientific (the experiments with galvanic electricity in the first decade of the 19th century).

2

By 1831, Mary Shelley's philosophical views had changed radically, primarily as a result of the

pessimism generated by the deaths of Clara, William, and Percy Shelley, and by her severely straitened economic circumstances. These convinced MS that human events are decided not by personal choice or free will but by an indifferent destiny or fate.

3

By 1831, Mary Shelley's philosophical views had changed radically, primarily as a result of the pessimism generated by the deaths of Clara, William, and Percy Shelley, and by her severely straitened economic circumstances. These convinced MS that

human events are decided not by personal choice or free will but by an indifferent destiny or fate.

4

Name some of the beliefs Mary Shelley had when she wrote the first edition of Frankenstein, which she had rejected by the time of the 1831 edition.

That nature is a nurturing and benevolent life force that punishes only those who transgress against its sacred rights; that Victor is morally responsible for his acts, that the Creature is potentially good but driven to evil by social and parental neglect; that a family like the De Laceys that loves all its children equally offers the best hope for human happiness; and that human egotism causes the greatest suffering in the world.

5

In the later edition of Frankenstein Victor's sin is not merely his refusal to love his Creature but

his decision to make him in the first place

6

By coming to construe nature in the 1831 edition as only Waldman and Frankenstein had done in the first edition, as a mighty and amoral machine, Mary Shelley significantly

decreased the critical distance between herself and her protagonist.

7

In the "Author's Introduction" added to the novel in 1831, Mary Shelley presents herself as she now represents Frankenstein, as

a victim of destiny. She is "compelled" to write; her imagination "unbidden" possessed and guided her.