the progress of European colonisation
Scholars have debated how to construe this addition to the 1831 text of
the novel. Given Clerval's seeming representation as a Shelleyan ideal,
his desire to attach himself to the imperialist designs of Europe upon
Asia would appear to have Mary Shelley's endorsement. And it should be
said that this early in the growth of the British empire -- long before
the Afghan Wars (1839-42) and the Indian Mutiny (1857-59) -- when the
liberal-minded Sir William Bentinck was Governor-General (1828-35), the
British saw their influence in the Indian subcontinent as morally benign.
Still, the extent to which the imperial "native" is debased within this
system has its corollary in the rejection of the Creature by Europeans
wherever he encounters them. Likewise, earlier imperial projects are
roundly condemned elsewhere in the novel: for instance, by Victor and by the Creature himself in his reaction to the
reading of Volney's Ruins of Empires.