they sought the pleasant climate of Italy
Whether Mary Shelley, in framing
her revisions, intended to give her novel a geographical symmetry by
placing an Italian sojourn in the early part of Victor's narrative to
balance that of Safie and her father at its absolute center (2.6.4) can be only a matter of conjecture.
It is consistent, however, with the strong structural patterning of the
novel. By 1831, of course, she might simply have decided to translate her
own experience into the rewriting of the novel, for it was certainly the
case that she and Percy Bysshe
Shelley sought Italy in 1818, just months after the
publication of Frankenstein, ostensibly for reasons of health.
One consequence of the considerable emendation made to this first chapter
of Victor's narrative is to emphasize how well off his family is. To see
the sights of Italy is one thing; to make a leisurely tour of the country,
then extend the excursion to take in France and Germany, requires substantial means as
well as leisure. In the 1818 text the Frankensteins were respected
members of their community; by 1831 they have assumed the something of the
trappings of aristocracy.
- Critical Approaches: