Contents Index

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 (Letter 1) as foreseeing for Walton's expedition. The stark word would have borne another kind of resonance in Mary Shelley's culture: Buffon's Natural 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 -- see1.1.10) would thus seem to have left an indelible, ironic imprint on him.