Contents Index

Frankenstein's Vegetarian Monster

Carol J. Adams

Chapter 6 of The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory (New York, Continuum, 1990), 108-119.

{108} Is it so heinous an offence against society, to respect in other animals that principal of life which they have received, no less than man himself, at the hand of Nature? O, mother of every living thing! O, thou eternal fountain of beneficence; shall I then be persecuted as a monster, for having listened to thy sacred voice?

--John Oswald, The Cry of Nature, 1791

Frankenstein's Monster was a vegetarian. This chapter, in analyzing the meaning of the diet adopted by a Creature composed of dismembered parts, will demonstrate the benefits of re-membering rather than dismembering vegetarian tradition. Just as The Shooting Party draws upon vegetarian ideas and an individual of Edwardian England, the time in which it is set, so Frankenstein was indebted to the vegetarian climate of its day. Therefore this chapter places the theme of vegetarianism within both the vegetarian history of the Romantic period and the implicit feminism of this notable book. In its association of feminism, Romantic radicalism, and vegetarianism, Mary Shelley's book bears the vegetarian word.

For a work that has received an unusual amount of critical attention over the past twenty years, in which almost every aspect of the novel has been closely scrutinized, it is remarkable that the Creature's vegetarianism has remained outside the sphere of commentary. The late James Rieger saw "Frankenstein as an imaginative ecotype, endlessly adaptable to unmixable seas of thought."1 By exploring the Creature's vegetarianism and providing a literary, historical, and feminist framework for understanding {109} it, this chapter offers a few more waves of interpretation to the swelling waters.

The Creature's vegetarianism not only confirms its inherent, original benevolence,2 but conveys Mary Shelley's precise rendering of themes articulated by a group of her contemporaries whom I call "Romantic vegetarians." The references that are central to Shelley's novel and to Romantic writers in general -- the writings of Ovid, Plutarch, Milton, and Rousseau -- are all united by positive vegetarian associations. The myths of Adam and Eve and Prometheus, clearly evoked in the novel, were interpreted in a vegetarian framework during the Romantic period as being about the introduction of meat eating. Mary Shelley's husband, Percy, was among the group of vegetarians who formulated this interpretation.

Of the numerous areas of exploration that have attracted literary critics, many overlap with the project of recovering the vegetarian meaning in this novel: the novel's narrative strategy; literary, historical, and biographical aspects of the novel; and the novel's feminist/gender issues. In the succeeding sections I consider these three areas and interpret the theme of vegetarianism as it is embedded in each.

Closed Circles and Vegetarian Consciousness

The moral universe is not just a system of concentric circles, in which inner claims must always prevail over outer ones. . . . The model of concentric circles dividing us from them remains, however, very influential. One of its most popular forms is the idea that concern for them beyond a certain limit -- and in particular concern for animals -- is not serious because it is a matter of emotion.

-- Mary Midgley, Animals and Why They Matter3

The Creature includes animals within its moral codes, but is thwarted and deeply frustrated when seeking to be included within the moral codes of humanity. It learns that regardless of its own inclusive moral standards, the human circle is drawn in such a way that both it and the other animals are excluded from it.

The Creature's vegetarianism is revealed in the innermost of three concentric circles that structure the novel. The outermost circle consists of the letters of Robert Walton while journeying through the Arctic to his sister Margaret Saville in England. Walton's ship is traveling farther and farther from human society as the story unfolds; but as the story ends, Walton has agreed to return to the folds of civilization. His reversal occurs {110} after Victor Frankenstein, the Being's creator, is brought half-alive onto Walton's ship. Bent on avenging the deaths of his wife, his friend, and his brother by destroying the Creature, Victor has followed it to the Arctic. His tale to Walton of his movement away from the human circle -- through his lone scientific experiments that culminated in the creation of this Being and his subsequent solitary pursuit of the Creature -- is situated in the novel as the mediating narrative between Walton's tale of wanderlust and the Creature's woeful story of parental desertion, isolation, and rejection by humans. The inner circle is the Creature's orphan tale of how it gained knowledge and survival skills, and of what precipitated the murder of Victor's little brother. Again and again it tells of being violently refused admittance to human society. At the conclusion of this narrative it proposes the creation of a companion so that it need no longer seek inclusion in the human circle; it will be content with companionship in its restricted inner circle.

In a ringing, emotional speech the Creature enunciates its dietary principles and those that its companion will follow when they accept self-imposed exile to South America. Vegetarianism is one way that the Creature announces its difference and separation from its creator by emphasizing its more inclusive moral code. In its explanation of its vegetarianism, the Creature restores the absent referent: "My food is not that of man; I do not destroy the lamb and the kid, to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment. My companion will be of the same nature as myself, and will be content with the same fare. We shall make our bed of dried leaves; the sun will shine on us as on man, and will ripen our food. The picture I present to you is peaceful and human."4 The Creature's vegetarianism serves to make it a more sympathetic being, one who considers how it exploits others. By including animals within its moral circle the Creature provides an emblem for what it hoped for and needed -- but failed to receive -- from human society.

Through its structural existence as the innermost of three concentric narratives, the Creature's story reinforces the Creature's position in society; it must be self-contained because no one will interact with it. The Creature's litany of rejections by human beings -- Victor's rejection of it once it comes to life; villagers fleeing from it; the attack on it after saving a young person's life; the DeLacey's rebuff of its approach -- holds up a clue as to what truly embodies the common center of all three tales: Human beings see themselves as their own center, into whose moral fabric neither gigantic beings nor animals are allowed.

The structure reiterates the theme. The Creature must overcome concentricity to be heard, to achieve social intercourse and be assimilated into human society. In this drive to overcome the self-enclosed concentric {111] circles of the novel and of society, the Creature also challenges the concentric circles that philosopher Mary Midgley sees as separating humans from animals. The Creature's inclusion of animals in its moral code symbolizes the idea that it seeks to achieve in human intercourse, breaking through the concentric circles of us and them.

Bearing the Romantic Vegetarian Word

It was not until after the age of Rousseau . . . that vegetarianism began to assert itself as a system, a reasoned plea for the disuse of flesh-food. In this sense it is a new ethical principle.

--Henry Salt, The Humanities of Diet, 19145

Literary critics identify in Frankenstein a distillation of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's life and learning, an interweaving of biography and bibliography. Through her father, William Godwin, Mary Shelley met many notable vegetarians, such as John Frank Newton, author of The Return to Nature; or, A Defence of the Vegetable Regimen, Joseph Ritson, his publisher Sir Richard Phillips, and, of course, Percy Shelley, who had authored A Vindication of Natural Diet and the visionary and vegetarian Queen Mab.6

Romantic radicalism provided the context for the vegetarianism to which Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was exposed while growing up. As historian James Turner comments, "Radical politics and other unorthodox notions went hand-in-glove with their vegetarianism."7 Historian Keith Thomas agrees, "In the 1790s vegetarianism had markedly radical overtones."8 Turner observes that of all the "novel manifestations of sympathy for animals" that began to appear at this time, "the most profoundly subversive of conventional values was vegetarianism."9 A clergyman who upbraided Thomas Jefferson Hogg for becoming a vegetarian demonstrated the way in which this subversive reform was greeted: "But this new system of eating vegetables . . . has hung on your Mother as a sort of indication that your determination was to deviate from all the old established ways of the world."10

Romantic vegetarians sought to expand the human-centered moral circle that excluded animals from serious consideration. To them, killing animals was murder, brutalizing those who undertook it and those who benefited from it. They argued that once meat eating had redefined humanity's moral relationship with animals, the floodgates of immorality were opened, and what resulted was the immoral, degenerate world in {112} which they and their contemporaries lived. Joseph Ritson thought that human slavery might be traced to meat eating while Percy Shelley suggested that a vegetarian populace would never have "lent their brutal suffrage to the proscription-list of Robespierre."11 They argued that including animals within the circle of moral consideration was urgently required.12

Most of the Romantic vegetarians were sympathetic Republicans; they saw the French Revolution as one of the toeholds into reforming the world, eliminating meat eating was another. John Oswald, whose The Cry of Nature; or, An Appeal to Mercy and to Justice, on Behalf of the Persecuted Animals (1791) was the first British book of this time to champion vegetarianism, lost his life in France in 1793 fighting for the Jacobins at the battle of Pont-de-Cé.13 Ritson visited Paris in 1791, adopted the new Republican calendar and liked to be called "Citizen Ritson." Richard Phillips, publisher for both Ritson and Godwin, and founder of the Monthly Magazine supported the Republican cause.

Unlike many animal reform campaigns of the time, which directed their energy to controlling the abuses of animals occassioned by the sports of the lower classes such as bear or bull baiting, vegetarians went after the jugular of the upperclass -- meat eating and blood sports. As Percy Shelley vehemently framed the argument: "It is only the wealthy that can, to any great degree, even now, indulge the unnatural craving for dead flesh."14

The ideas to which Mary Shelley and the Romantic vegetarians gravitate tantalizingly overlap: each rewrote the myths of the Fall (especially Genesis 3) and the myth of Prometheus. Each ponders the nature of evil and visions of utopia. In the Creature's narrative, Mary Shelley allies herself with Romantic vegetarians who uncoded all tales of the primeval fall with the interpretation that they were implicitly about the introduction of meat eating. She precisely situates the vegetarian position concerning these two myths in the Creature's narrative. The two preeminent myths that frame her Frankenstein, the myth of Prometheus and the story of Adam and Eve, had both been assimilated into the Romantic vegetarian position and interpreted from a vegetarian viewpoint by Joseph Ritson, John Frank Newton, and Percy Shelley.

The Vegetarian Garden of Eden and the Fall

It was commonly presumed that the Garden of Eden was vegetarian.15 Proof of the vegetarian nature of the Garden of Eden was said to be found in Genesis 1:29: "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." ("Meat" at the time of the King James Version of the Bible meant food.) {113} Seventeenth-century poet Katherine Philips said of the Golden Age, "On roots, not beasts, they fed."16 In a phrase which Joseph Ritson would quote, Alexander Pope wrote that in Eden,
Man walk'd with beast, joint tenant of the shade;
The same his table, and the same his bed;
No murder cloath'd him, and no murder fed.17
Milton in book 5 of Paradise Lost describes Eve preparing "For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please / True appetite."18.

The Romantic vegetarians heartily accepted the notion of the meatless Garden of Eden. They infused their peculiar interpretation in their consideration of Genesis 3. They transformed the myth by locating meat eating as the cause of the Fall. For instance John Frank Newton's The Return to Nature, or Defence of Vegetable Regimen posits that the two trees in the Garden of Eden represent "the two kinds of foods which Adam and Eve had before them in Paradise, viz. the vegetables and the animals."19 The penalty for eating from the wrong tree was the death that Adam and Eve had been warned would befall them. But it was not immediate death; rather it was premature, diseased death caused by eating the wrong foods, i.e., meat.

Approaching the Fall from this interpretation deflects attention from the role of Eve as temptress, and removes the patriarchal obsession with the feminine as the cause of the evil of the world. Because of the vegetarian attention given to the (male) role of butchers, and the presumed manliness of meat eating, the evil that fills the world after the fall is generalized, if not masculinized. In support of Gilbert and Gubar's suggestion that Eve is all parts of the story of Frankenstein -- especially the Creature20 -- the Creature, unlike Adam, but like Eve in Milton's depiction, must prepare its own dinner of "savoury fruits." And when the Creature envisions its companion, it does not posit food preparation as her role though she will share its fare.

The Myth of Prometheus

Both Mary Shelley and the Romantic vegetarians weave another myth of the Fall into their writings: the myth of Prometheus who stole fire, was chained to Mount Caucasus, and faced the daily agony of having his liver devoured by a vulture, only to have it grow back each night. Besides the standard Romantic view of Prometheus as a rebel against tyranny, Mary Shelley knew of an additional interpretation of the myth. For Romantic vegetarians, the story of Prometheus's discovery of fire is the story of the inception of meat eating. They accepted Pliny's claim in Natural History {114} that "Prometheus first taught the use of animal food (Primus bovem occidit Prometheus)."21 Without cooking, meat would not be palatable. According to them, cooking also masks the horrors of a corpse and makes meat eating psychologically and aesthetically acceptable. Percy Shelley provides the Romantic vegetarian interpretation of this myth: "Prometheus (who represents the human race) effected some great change in the condition of his nature, and applied fire to culinary purposes; thus inventing an expedient for screening from his disgust the horrors of the shambles. From this moment his vitals were devoured by the vulture of disease."22

It is notable how the Creature in a tale subtitled The Modern Prometheus handles its introduction to fire and meat. Finding a fire left by some wandering beggars, it discovers that "some of the offals that the travellers had left had been roasted, and tasted much more savoury than the berries I gathered from the trees." From this, it does not adopt meat eating, but rather learns how to cook vegetable food. "I tried, therefore, to dress my food in the same manner, placing it on the live embers. I found that the berries were spoiled by this operation, and the nuts and roots much improved." The offals figure meat eating; the Creature rejects this Promethean gift.

The Golden Age and the Natural Diet

Descriptions of what the Creature eats reveal Mary Shelley's indebtedness to vegetarian meals described by Ovid and Rousseau. In this, her book bears the vegetarian word through allusion to previous words about vegetarianism. The Golden Age described in book 1 of Ovid's Metamorphoses is a time prior to the erection of dwelling places, a time of contentment with acorns and berries, a time when animals were not excluded from the human circle by meat eating:
Content with Food, which Nature freely bred,
On Wildings, and on Strawberries they fed;
Cornels and Bramble-berries gave the rest,
And falling Acorns furnisht out a Feast.23
After the Creature announces its vegetarianism to Victor, it promises that once Victor fashions a companion, the two shall retreat to South America, and there live faultless lives. Ovid appears to be the source for the precise wording of Shelley's vegetarian-pacifist vision the Creature presents to Victor, in particular, the use of "acorns and berries" -- quoted earlier -- as the source of nourishment. The Creature enters into a fallen world in {115} which it is rejected and seeks to establish a new Golden Age in which harmony through vegetarianism reigns.

The Creature also bears the vegetarian word of Rousseau in his descriptions of food. From the Discourse on Inequality, when he first suggested that one of the links in the chains that kept humankind in bondage was an unnatural diet, through Emile and La Nouvelle Heloise, vegetarianism is Rousseau's ideal diet.24 Emile, Sophie, and Julie were all vegetarians. Mary Shelley precisely renders Rousseau's ideal diet in the Creature's narrative. Rousseau rhapsodized in The Confessions, "I do not know of better fare than a rustic meal. With milk, eggs, herbs, cheese, brown bread and passable wine one can always be sure to please me."25 Once forced to leave the Promethean fire behind because of scarcity of food, the Creature's next encounter with food is a paraphrase of Rousseau's favorite meal in rustic surroundings: "I greedily devoured the remnants of the shepherd's breakfast, which consisted of bread, cheese, milk, and wine; the latter, however, I did not like."26 (Wine was tabooed by Romantic vegetarians as well as meat.) In a village, the Creature again responds with pleasure to the ideal foods Rousseau identified: "The vegetables in the gardens, the milk and cheese that I saw placed at the windows of some of the cottages, allured my appetite."

Diet for a Small Planet

Another instance in which the Creature's views of a fallen world intersect with that of the Romantic vegetarians is its observation that cows need food. It remarks about one cow owned by a poor family that she "gave very little [milk] during the winter, when its masters could scarcely procure food to support it." Its reference to the demands that one cow puts on food resources echoes the modern ecological vegetarian position popularized in Frances Moore Lappé's Diet for a Small Planet. Lappé argues that the land used to feed livestock would be better devoted to feeding humans.

This was a longstanding vegetarian issue and its first traces appear in Plato's Republic when Socrates tells Glaucon that meat production necessitates large amounts of pasture. Resultingly, it will require cutting "off a slice of our neighbours' territory; and if they too are not content with necessaries, but give themselves up to getting unlimited wealth, they will want a slice of ours." Thus Socrates pronounces, "So the next thing will be, Glaucon, that we shall be at war."27 In 1785, William Paley's The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy raised the economic and agricultural issues associated with meat eating: "A piece of ground capable of supplying animal food sufficient for the subsistence of ten persons {116} would sustain, at least, the double of that number with grain, roots and milk."28 Richard Phillips's 1811 vegetarian article argues: "The forty-seven millions of acres in England and Wales would maintain in abundance as many human inhabitants if they lived wholly on grain, fruits and vegetables; but they sustain only twelve millions scantily while animal food is made the basis of human subsistence."29 Percy Shelley's essay culminates this position: claiming that with vegetarianism "the monopolizing eater of animal flesh would no longer destroy his constitution by devouring an acre at a meal. . . . The most fertile districts of the habitable globe are now actually cultivated by men for animals, at a delay and waste of aliment absolutely incapable of calculation."30

The Slaughterhouse as Source for the Creature's Body

The Creature is "born" into a fallen world; but the Creature was also "born" of this fallen world -- as the Romantic vegetarians viewed it -- in that it is made, in part, of items from a slaughterhouse. Unlike many Gothic tales in which a customary raid on the graveyard is obligatory, Victor Frankenstein, in constructing his Creature, makes forays to the slaughterhouse as well: "The dissecting room and the slaughter-house furnished many of my materials." How was it that Mary Shelley extended grave robbing to invading the slaughterhouse? Her familiarity with the ideas of Romantic vegetarianism may have influenced her. The slaughterhouse was one of the consequences of the fall from vegetarianism, and Romantic vegetarians could not avoid considering it, even if, like John Oswald, they deliberately took long detours to avoid passing slaughterhouses and butcher shops. Sir Richard Phillips traced his vegetarianism to his experience at twelve years of age, when he "was struck with such horror in accidentally seeing the barbarities of a London slaughter-house that since that hour he has never eaten anything but vegetables."31

The Anatomically Correct Vegetarian

That Victor goes to slaughterhouses not only incorporates into the novel the anathema with which vegetarians beheld it, but suggestively implies the Creature was herbivorous. Since it is only herbivorous animals who are consumed by humans, the remnants gathered by Victor from the slaughterhouse would have been parts from herbivorous bodies. Thus, at least a portion of the Creature was anatomically vegetarian. Romantic vegetarians held that humans did not have a carnivorous body; ill health consequently resulted from meat eating. In what would become a standard vegetarian argument, Rousseau discussed the physiological disposition of the body to a vegetable diet. Like herbivorous animals, humans {117} had flat teeth. The intestines, as well, did not resemble those of carnivorous animals. By positing the Creature's creation in part from the slaughterhouse, Mary Shelley circumvents the anatomical argument that vegetarians of this time found compelling and their critics ludicrous.

When the novel's vegetarianism is considered separate from its vegetarian context it is shorn of the literary allusions it carries and its adherence to the novel's project of echoing earlier texts goes undetected. In Frankenstein we find a Creature seeking to reestablish the Golden Age of a vegetarian diet with roots and berries; a Creature who eats Rousseau's ideal meal; a Being who, like the animals eaten for meat, finds itself excluded from the moral circle of humanity.

Deciphering Muted Meanings

We did transcription, copied out set passages in this arching, long-looped hand. I wrote out, over and over, with a calm satisfaction: "I should like to live among the leaves and heather like the birds, to wear a dress of feathers, and to eat berries." This sentence seemed to me to possess an utter and invulnerable completeness.

--Denise Riley, "Waiting"32

The Creature embodies both vegetarian and feminist meaning. While the women in Frankenstein enact Mary Shelley's subversion of sentimentalism by fulfilling feminine roles and dying as a result, and the men represent inflexible masculine roles, it is the New Being who represents the complete critique of the present order which Shelley attempted. The nameless Creature, who Gilbert and Gubar see as seeking for a maternal principle in the midst of a world of fathers, resolutely condemns the food of the fathers as well as their mores; in this sense its vegetarianism carries feminist as well as pacifist overtones. Those who overtly reviled the meat diet of that day failed to see that they were covertly criticizing a masculine symbol. The maternal principle would be present in the Creature's vegetarian paradise; indeed, the maternal principle is the missing aspect of Romantic vegetarianism.

Recalling the exclusions enforced by the outer narratives upon the Creature's inner circle, we find a paradigm for interpreting not only the Creature's vegetarianism but one of the feminist aspects of the novel. Embedded within the Creature's story is yet another story, that of the DeLacey family. Within that family story, we find the story of Safie's independent mother. It is in fact "the structurally central element of the {118} narrative."33 Safie had been taught by her mother "to aspire to higher powers of intellect, and an independence of spirit, forbidden to the female followers of Mahomet."34 Marc Rubenstein observes that Safie's mother "is surely a cartoon, distorted but recognizable, of the author's mother, Mary Wollstonecraft."35 In fact, on the second page of the introduction to A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Wollstonecraft comments of women in her own country that "in the true style of Mahometanism, they are treated as a kind of subordinate beings, and not as a part of the human species."36

Women's anger at confinement and their vision for independence are themselves confined in this novel within numerous layers of concentric circles that represent a society that excludes these issues. Though located at the center of the book, the issues there represented -- central to both Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter -- have been closed off by the dominant world order. Among other things Frankenstein became a cathartic vehicle for a woman suppressing great anger at being made subordinate.

The Creature's vegetarian proclamation is a cipher in the text; though it has been treated in the sense of being without meaning, it is rather a key to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's feelings about discourse and the cipherlike role -- that is, the nonentity role -- permitted to women by male discourse. As Shelley's mother proved, women were excluded from the closed circle of patriarchy. In describing the events that led up to the conception of Frankenstein in the 1831 edition, Mary Shelley creates an image of herself as cipher by portraying herself as outside the circle of discourse of the men in her party: She casts herself in the role of faithful listener. "Many and long were the conversations between Lord Byron and Shelley, to which I was a devout but nearly silent listener."37 During the time that Frankenstein was conceived, Byron and Percy Shelley's many companionable hours were achieved at the exclusion of Mary. Marcia Tillotson, who examines this exclusion, and suggests that the Creature's rage mirrors Mary Shelley's own rage over being excluded, queries:

The question I cannot answer is whether Shelley was fully aware of what she was doing: did she deliberately use the monster's self-defense to protest against men's behavior toward women, or did she merely make the monster speak for her without knowing herself that the source of his rage was her own?38
The Creature's situation matches that of many women characters for whom tragedy "springs from the fact that consciousness must outpace the possibilities of action, that perception must pace within an iron cage."39 Yet the Creature's style of speaking differs greatly from the characteristic {119} forms of speech attributed to women. It is not hesitant, self-effacing, tentative, weak, polite, restrained. Its speech is not characterized by hedges, maybes, perhaps, possibly, if you please.40 The Creature does not avoid confrontation. It is excited, impassioned speech, but clear, unambiguous, direct. It demands, it entreats, it implores, it commands, it prophesies. The Creature is a powerful speaker, it transgresses conversations mightily and fearlessly. It embodies patterns of speech that would have been foreign to many women of that time. Yet like feminists, its speech was muted by the dominant social order; as is vegetarianism. Vegetarianism, like feminism, is excluded from the patriarchal circle, just as Mary Shelley experienced herself as being excluded from the male circle of artists of which she saw herself a part.

It may be that the compressed form of the Creature's vegetarian statement causes it to be elided from our collective memory. Since vegetarianism is not a part of the dominant culture, it is more likely, however, that the vegetarian revelations, terse as they are, are silenced because we have no framework into which we can assimilate them, just as the feminist meaning at the center of this novel failed to be analyzed extensively for more than a hundred years. The Creature's futile hopes for admittance to the human circle reflect the position of that time's vegetarianism and feminism; they confront a world whose circles, so tightly drawn, refuse them admittance, dividing us from them.


Epigraph: John Oswald, The Cry of Nature; or, An Appeal to Mercy and to Justice, on Behalf of the Persecuted Animals (London, 1791), p. 44.

1. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus The 1818 Text, ed. James Rieger (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1974, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1982), "Preface," p. x. Though I have chosen the 1818 version rather than the 1831 revision, according to Rieger's collation of the texts of 1818 and 1831 in Appendix B, Shelley left the inner circle of the Monster's narrative, where its vegetarianism is revealed, the least tampered section of the emended novel.

2. Like other feminist critics who have identified Frankenstein's Creature as female and thus avoid the use of the masculine pronoun, l will use "it" to refer to the Creature. See for instance U. C. Knoepflmacher "Thoughts on the Aggression Of Daughters": "the Monster -- purposely not called a 'he' in this discussion -- initially displays feminine qualities" and "beneath the contorted visage of Frankenstein's creature lurks a timorous yet determined female face." The Endurance of Frankenstein, ed. George Levine and U. C. Knoepflmacher (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1979), pp. 106, 112.

3. Mary Midgley, Animals and Why They Matter (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1984), pp. 22, 32.

4. Shelley, p. 142.

5 Henry Salt, The Humanities of Diet: Some Reasonings and Rhymings (Manchester: The Vegetarian Society, 1914).

6 John Frank Newton, The Return to Nature; or, A Defence of the Vegetable Regimen (London, 1811). Godwin may have known John Oswald as well, author of The Cry of Nature; or an Appeal to Mercy and to Justice, on Behalf of the Persecuted Animals (1791). Godwin was the acting editor for The Political Herald, and Review for which Oswald wrote. However, according to David Erdman, "Not only were the contributors' names omitted or disguised by pseudonyms, as was the general custom; apparently the major contributors were also kept unacquainted with each other." Commerce des lumières: John Oswald and the British in Paris, 1790 - 1793 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1986), p. 37. Erdman continues, "we must suppose that Oswald at this time was developing some acquaintances in publishing circles; possibly he and Godwin had met early on" (p. 42). For instance, Oswald and Mary Wollstonecraft shared the same publisher, Joseph Johnson.

7. James Turner, Reckoning with the Beast: Animals, Pain, and Humanity in the Victorian Mind (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980), p. 19.

8. Keith Thomas, Man and the Natural World: A History of the Modern Sensibility (New York: Pantheon Books, 1983), p. 296.

9. Turner, p. 17.

10. Cited in Kenneth Neill Cameron, The Young Shelley: Genesis of a Radical (New York: Macmillan, 1950; Octagon Books, 1973), p. 378.

11. Joseph Ritson, An Essay on Abstinence from Animal Food as a Moral Duty (London: Phillips, 1802), p. 89. Percy Shelley, A Vindication of Natural Diet, in The Complete Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Volume 6, Prose, ed. Roger Ingpen and Walter E. Peck, (New York; Gordian Press, 1965), p. 11, (hereinafter called Vindication).

12. John Oswald stated the viewpoint this way: "When he considers the natural bias of the human heart to the side of mercy, and observes on all hands the barbarous governments of Europe giving way to a better system of things, he is inclined to hope that the day is beginning to approach when the growing sentiment of peace and good-will towards men will also embrace, in a wide circle of benevolence, the lower orders of life." (p. ii.)

13. His most recent biographer calls him a "British military intellectual," commenting "the most sensational biographical oddity being his combining a military career with a Pythagorean diet." David Erdman, Commerce des lumières, p. 3.

14. Vindication, 13.

15. As Keith Thomas notes: "Vegetarianism was also encouraged by Christian teaching, for all theologians agreed that man had not originally been carnivorous." Man and the Natural World, p. 289.

16. Thomas, p. 289, in Minor Poets of the Caroline Period, ed. George Saintsbury (Oxford, 1968), i. 558.

17. See Ritson, p.55. Alexander Pope, Epistle III, "An Essay on Man," ll. 152-54, in Poetry and Prose of Alexander Pope, ed. Aubrey Williams (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1969), pp. 142-43.

18. Paradise Lost, Book 5, ll. 303-4, in John Milton: Complete Poems and Major Prose, ed. Merritt Y. Hughes (New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc., 1957), p. 309.

19. Newton, p. 5.

20. See Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), pp. 230, 234-46.

21. Quoted in Shelley, Vindication, p. 6 and cited as "Plin., Nat. Hist. lib. vii sect. 57."

22. Vindication, p. 6.

23. Ovid, Metamorphoses, ed. Sir Samuel Garth, trans. John Dryden (London, 1720), Book 1, p. 8.

24. Madeleine A. Simons, "Rousseau's Natural Diet," Romantic Review 45 (1 Feb. 1954), pp. 18-28.

25. From the Confessions, 1, 72, quoted in Simons, p. 25. Mary Shelley reread the Confessions while transcribing Frankenstein in October 1817.

26. Shelley, p. 101.

27. Plato, The Republic of Plato, trans. Francis MacDonald Cornford (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966), Part 2, 373, pp. 60-61.

28. William Paley, The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy (1785, New York and London: Garland Publishing Inc., 1978), p. 599.

29. Quoted in The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-Eating, ed. Howard Williams (London, 1883), p. 241. This observation first appeared in the Medical Journal for July 27, 1811.

30. Vindication, p. 13.

31. Williams, p. 243.

32. Denise Riley, "Waiting," in Truth, Dare or Promise: Girls Growing Up in the Fifties, ed. Liz Heron (London: Virago Press, 1985), p. 239.

33. David Ketterer, Frankenstein's Creation: The Book, the Monster and Human Reality (University of Victoria: English Literary Studies, 1979), p. 15.

34. Shelley, p. 119.

35. Marc A. Rubenstein, "'My Accursed Origin': The Search for the Mother in Frankenstein," Studies in Romanticism 15 (Spring, 1976), p. 169.

36. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, ed. Charles W. Hagelman Jr. (1792, New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1967), p. 32.

37. Shelley, p. 227, (Introduction to Third Edition).

38. Marcia Tillotson, "'A Forced Solitude': Mary Shelley and the Creation of Frankenstein's Monster," in The Female Gothic, ed. by Juliann E. Fleenor, (Montreal and London: Eden Press, 1983), p. 168.

39. Carolyn Heilbrun and Catharine Stimpson, "Theories of Feminist Criticism: A Dialogue," in Feminist Literary Criticism: Explorations in Theory, ed. Josephine Donovan (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1975), p. 68.

40. These have been described as strategies of negative politeness in Penelope Brown, "How and Why Are Women More Polite: Some Evidence from a Mayan Community,', in Women and Language in Literature and Society, ed. Sally McConnell-Ginet, Ruth Borker and Nelly Furman (New York: Praeger, 1980), p. 116.