‘How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe …?’: Frankenstein, Walton and the Monster

Erle, S. (2018) ‘How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe …?’: Frankenstein, Walton and the Monster. The AnaChronisT (New Series), 18. pp. 144-167. ISSN 2063-126X

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This essay reiterates the importance of Captain Robert Walton in Shelley’s novel. Walton is the addressee of Frankenstein’s story and drawing attention to his presence helps with unravelling the complexity of the creation scene. The focus is on physiognomical creation, i.e. not only on Frankenstein’s body-making but also his aesthetic response to both the immobile and animated body. Though the Creature’s physical ugliness may be a matter of degree, Frankenstein contradicts himself in his description of its effects. He also appears to have expected that animation would not substantially have interfered with the anticipated reality of the animated Creature. But it does. Shelley, it has been argued, revised Adam Smith’s ideas about sympathy, suggesting that – if a person inspires terror compensatory sympathy can be achieved through narrative. Is Walton able to handle the monster because he knows it? The essay discusses the dynamic between the visual and the auditory in Frankenstein to argue that Shelley responds to Johann Caspar Lavater’s Essays on Physiognomy (1789-98).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 Eötvös Loránd University. Published in a themed issue of The AnaChronisT entitled Disbelief in Romanticism. This is the final version of a paper accepted for publication in The AnaChronisT. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Divisions: School of Humanities
Depositing User: Dr Sibylle Erle
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2018 07:44
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2019 14:20
URI: https://bgro.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/276

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