catastrophe

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NOTES

catastrophe

The powerful wrench to the language here replicates the effect of Victor's awaking from his dreams into a new and alien perspective on his obsession. There is a faint resonance of the "disaster" that Margaret Saville is recorded in the novel's first sentence (I:L1:1) as foreseeing for Walton's expedition. The stark word would have borne another kind of resonance in Mary Shelley's culture: Buffon'sNatural History gave wide currency to a catastrophic theory of creation, and Victor's adolescent delight in that account (at least as it is recounted in the first edition of the novel—see I:1:25) would thus seem to have left an indelible, ironic imprint on him.