secret stores of knowledge
This language resonates beyond the fictional world of this novel and links
in complex ways with the concerns of Percy Bysshe Shelley, who likewise
focuses on this theme in "Alastor"
(lines 20-23, 75-82, and 116-28), where both the narrator
and the Poet whose story he tells are obsessed with uncovering secret
lore; in the "Hymn to Intellectual
Beauty," stanza 5, where
Shelley recounts his own youthful investment in the supernatural; and in
"Mont Blanc," esp. ll. 139-41, where the mountain itself
is represented as holding secrets the poet would penetrate. "Alastor" was
published in March of 1816,
and the other two poems were written that summer. In addition, the theme
is continually sounded in The Revolt
of Islam, the long narrative poem he composed while Mary Shelley
was simultaneously writing Frankenstein: (see esp. Canto II, sts.
11-12, 20; Canto IV, sts. 3, 6-8, 12). There Shelley gives a strong
political tilt to the notion of suppressed knowledge.