Contents Index

Frankenstein and the Miltonic Creation of Evil

David Soyka

Extrapolation, 33:2 (Summer 1992), 166-77

[{166}]The arrogant mad scientist whose creation turns against him is a standard science fiction subject, if not cliché, that Isaac Asimov somewhat derisively termed "the Frankenstein Complex" (I, Robot 106)1. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is regarded as the genesis of science fiction because it speculates on the consequences of a scientific experiment gone amok. While we tend to think of this as a twentieth-century phenomenon framed in the context of the post-Hiroshima nuclear genie irrevocably let out of the lamp, Shelley, nearly three centuries ago, was echoing her mother's sentiment that "Nature, or to speak with strict propriety, God, has made all things right; but man has sought him out many inventions to mar the work" (Wollstonecraft 113). This notion can in turn be traced to Jean-Jacques Rousseau's opening lines in Emile, "Everything is good as leaves the hands of the Author of things; everything degenerates in the hands of man. . . . He turns everything upside clown; he disfigures everything; he loves deformity, monsters" (37).

However, while it is certainly a major dimension of the work, it would be mistaken to view Frankenstein just as a parable of humanity's foolishness in tampering with Nature without due regard for the potential consequences. In contrast to her mother's Rousseauistic view that mankind is the source of troubles in the world, Mary Shelley also aims at a higher target. As William Walling points out, Victor Frankenstein is portrayed as "a version of the 'Creator' -- of God Himself" (59). Victor is, however, a considerably flawed creator whose irresponsibility and short sightedness produce a creature who can't help but become evil. In casting her novel with the Miltonic theme of the created's rejection of the creator, and the earthly havoc this rejection causes, Shelley suggests through her characterization of Victor Frankenstein that it is God's hubris {167} and subsequent lack of interest in His Creation that lays the groundwork for human wickedness.

Evil in Frankenstein is grounded in the concept of creation: Victor Frankenstein's dual metamorphic role is as both God the Creator and Satan the destroyer of God's creation. His Monster fills the multiple roles of fallen Adam and Satan avenging the God who cast him out, as well as Job-like victim of circumstances beyond individual control. Finally, Mary Shelley, as the creator of a novel about the creation of evil, is possibly commenting upon her own creation (her mother having died giving birth to Mary) as well as ill-fated creations of her own (one of her daughters died soon after birth; Percy Bysshe Shelley's first wife, Harriet, drowned herself after he left her for Mary; and more tragedies follow after the novel is first published).

The source for the creation of evil is aptly summarized in the novel's subtitle, "The Modern Prometheus." In Greek mythology, Prometheus is the creator and protector of mankind, and is perhaps best known for stealing fire from the gods to give to humans, a "crime" for which Zeus punishes him with eternal torment. As Anne Mellor notes, Mary Shelley was familiar with the Prometheus myth after having read Ovid's Metamorphoses in 1815 (71). Moreover, the Romantic poets latched onto the figure of Prometheus as noble rebel and suffering savior of mankind not only in their poetry, but their image of themselves as poets/creators. Mary Shelley's most intimate link to these self-styled Prometheans was, of course, with her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, author of Prometheus Unbound, who not only serves as a model for Victor Frankenstein but was also heavily involved in editing the novel's first edition.2

Beyond these obvious associations between Frankenstein and Promethean mythology, however, it is important to consider the significance of the name itself. Prometheus means "forethought," and forethought is decidedly lacking throughout the novel. Victor Frankenstein is seemingly oblivious to the moral implications of creating the Monster, the possible repercussions of abandoning his creature immediately after "birth," or the meaning of the Monster's warning that "I shall be with you on your wedding night."

The modern Prometheus, then, is the unthinking creator who fails, whether intentionally or unconsciously, to be responsible for his creation, thereby creating evil. But the responsibilities of creation go beyond issues related to modern science and technology, or even, to accept another reading of the novel, modern man's psychological conflicts. The underlying theme is rooted in Miltonic questions about the first creation. If God is the creator of all things, why did He create evil to ruin his creation? And if, despite being the prime source of all things, the creator is somehow excused from creating evil, why does He continue to allow {168} evil to be inflicted upon His creation? Does God truly play dice with the universe? And if he does, is He totally shed of any responsibility when the dice come up "snake eyes"? Certainly Victor Frankenstein's plays a poor game of dice. An examination of Shelley's portrayal of Victor's character and motivations reveals her thoughts about this Miltonic dilemma.

After years of scientific study and experimentation, Victor finally realizes his dream of creating life, only to desert the horrid result of his work until it conveniently walks away, although far from not being seen again. The events that follow are best characterized by Paul Sherwin in observing that "Mary Shelley might well have titled her novel One Catastrophe after Another" (138).

The cause of these catastrophes -- the various murders of Frankenstein's best friend and family members, as well as the Monster's own calamitous predicament -- depends on whether the reader accepts the Monster as a literally created being or as a double personality Frankenstein assumes to act out his destructive impulses. In arguing that Frankenstein and his monster are two sides of the same coin, Mary Thornburg asks,

And why did Mary Shelley, who painstakingly edited and corrected a number of times, before the 1831 edition was issued, choose to leave such apparent incongruities, especially those that might easily have been corrected, open to criticism of her readers -- if not to suggest that Victor and Monster were . . . actually one person who at different times exhibited two different modes of consciousness, who saw himself as two separate beings? (91)
Shelley certainly plants the psychological seeds of disturbance by having Victor dream his "kiss of death" with Elizabeth immediately after the Monster comes to life. And it is that very same Monster who murders Elizabeth (again, without any witness but Frankenstein), thereby resolving Victor's incestuous fears.3 Equally important to consider is that the Monster is never named, suggesting it is just another aspect of Victor. Indeed, as Muriel Spark points out, this leads to the "common mistake of naming the Monster 'Frankenstein'" (16). This mistake is a highly perceptive one, though, in recognizing the Monster as the evil reflection of the "good" Victor Frankenstein.

The persuasiveness of these arguments notwithstanding, I think it is misreading Shelley's intentions as well as the enduring power of her novel to rationalize away the Monster as a mere psychotic disturbance. To see the Monster in some sense as Victor's double, and that the evil he commits is Victor's evil, is crucial to comprehending the novel. Just as crucial is understanding the Monster as a separate being created by Frankenstein, and that Victor's personality is imparted to his creation in much the same way as God creates man in His own image. Certainly Shelley {169} provides us with enough evidence to support this interpretation, beginning with the epigraph from Paradise Lost:

Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay,
To mould me Man, did I solicit thee,
From darkness to promote me? (10.743-45)
That the Monster was, as Frankenstein claims, actually animated from lifeless matter seems supported by the way in which the novel is told, as a series of letters from the explorer Robert Walton recounting the rescued Frankenstein's tale. When Walton meets the Monster immediately after Frankenstein dies, any doubt Walton, or the reader, may have had about whether the creature actually existed would appear dispelled. Of course, the possibility exists that neither Frankenstein nor the Monster ever existed, and that this is Walton's own excuse to justify abandoning the quest of his polar expedition. Or, if we believe Frankenstein is real, it may be significant that the one independent verification of the Monster occurs only after Frankenstein has died. Shelley, as did all artists of the period, believed in dreams as a sort of alternative, a sometimes overlapping reality in which their "double" or "doppelgänger" participated. Indeed, in her own introduction to Frankenstein, Mary Shelley says the idea for the novel came from "the grim terrors of my waking dream" (xxv). It might follow, then, for the evil doppelgänger of a split personality to have an existence of its own upon the demise of the good half. But such explanations are a bit too pat, the kind of trick for which simplistic science fiction earned the genre its poor reputation. Why Frankenstein is upheld as a progenitor of science fiction, and hence due respectability, is precisely because of its literary richness. It is doubtful if Shelley went to all the trouble of creating the complex layers of Frankenstein simply to tag on a gimmicky ending.

Nor can it be argued that Frankenstein's Monster could never have existed, and must therefore be Victor's Mr. Hyde personality, because the scientific principles behind the Monster's creation are fantastically impossible. So it may appear from the vantage point of twentieth-century knowledge that Shelley's science is, as James Rieger describes it, "switched-on magic, souped-up alchemy" (xxvii). However, Percy Bysshe Shelley's preface to his wife's novel notes that "this fiction . . . has been supposed, by Dr. Darwin and some of the physiological writers of Germany, as not of impossible occurrence" (6). As Samuel Holmes Vasbinder points out, Shelley was familiar with experiments of her time in which corpses were convulsed with electric current, the same force that is used to animate the Monster, and Victor is portrayed as "educated in this scientific philosophy at a leading university" (84).4

{170} If, as Vasbinder persuasively argues, the Monster's portrayal is meant as an actual creature whose invention was at least theoretically supportable by scientific experiments conducted during Shelley's time, this raises certain difficulties about narrative logic. How is it, for example, that an eight-feet-tall, hideous Monster is able to ramble about Europe without ever being seen by anyone, at least by anyone who lives, other than Victor Frankenstein? For that matter, we have to wonder what Frankenstein was looking at for the two years he spent in his laboratory assembling this massive being, using body parts not as originally intended by the manufacturer, when all of a sudden one dreary November evening he finds himself repulsed by his handiwork?

We can still agree with Thornburg that Mary Shelley deliberately left such logical inconsistencies in the 1831 edition without reaching her conclusion that Frankenstein and the Monster must be the same entity. The existence of God, and particularly the Bible, in which His existence is supposedly proven, resounds with logical inconsistencies. That the Monster is known by his deeds, and not by his appearance, sounds fetchingly similar to arguments advanced not only for God, but the Devil. When the reader asks whether the Monster is real or not, Shelley is forcing consideration of the same issue of whether God is real or not. Whether or not we consider the Monster evil also depends on our conception of whether evil emanates from God, from Satan, or from ourselves.

Shelley suggests we and not our stars are to blame, but without quite letting God off the hook. It strikes us as incomprehensible that Frankenstein so readily abandons his creation after entertaining fantasies that a "new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father should claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs" (39). We might at first think of Adam and Eve's banishment from the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3, but this doesn't quite fit since God does not entirely abandon humanity to its own devices, as Frankenstein does the Monster. The analogy here is not to the Bible but to Milton's Paradise Lost depiction of God as disappointed in His creation of Satan. Instead of admonishing Satan, or somehow metaphysically remedying Satan's inclination towards pride, God casts Satan out forever from His domain. Similarly, Frankenstein's disappointment in his creation causes him to cast out the Monster, who he continually refers to thereafter as "fiend" or "devil." One reason why the reader can sympathize with Frankenstein's Monster as well as with Milton's Satan is that despite whatever evil they cause, they have been abandoned, seemingly without substantial cause, by their respective creators. In both cases, we have to ask, without necessarily receiving a satisfactory answer, how these two {171} expulsions can possibly take place without any consideration of what further complications may be caused. And, in both cases, the cast-out doesn't take his revenge directly upon the Creator, the cause of his predicament, but upon the innocent beings important to the Creator (Adam and Eve; Victor's close friend and relations).

Why an Omniscient Being would purposely create circumstances to create evil, but in such a way to allow apologists such as Milton to provide excuses for providential behavior, is a theological question that readers of Milton and apologists for Christianity argued over at least up to Shelley's time.5 That Victor Frankenstein, a rational man of science, would be so unthinking is not really as inexplicable. Even just up to Mary Shelley's time, the pages of history are more than filled with the follies of supposedly rational men. As Mellor points out, "Writing during the early years of Britain's industrial revolution and the age of Empire, Mary Shelley was aware of the damaging consequences of a scientific, objective, alienated view of both nature and human labor" (114). Moreover, as Donald M. Hassler observes, "The end of the eighteenth century also witnessed the diabolical transformation of progress into the terror of the French Revolution" (75).

By devoting a major portion of the novel to the Monster's self-education with the De Lacey family, Mary Shelley not only provides additional evidence for viewing the Monster as a distinct entity, but also offers nontheological reasons for the evil rooted in social structure and prejudices. It is here where the Monster's cruel education in human follies takes place:

I learned that the possessions most esteemed by your fellow-creatures were, high and unsullied descent united with riches. A man might be respected with only one of these acquisitions; but without either he was considered, except in very rare instances, as a vagabond and a slave, doomed to waste his powers for profits of the chosen few. And what was I? (115)
It is in this part of the novel where Mary Shelley most echoes her mother and namesake, Mary Wollstonecraft, in decrying social inequity. Compare the Monster's words quoted above with Wollstonecraft's complaint in Vindication of the Rights of Women:
For whilst rank and titles are held of the utmost importance, before which Genius "must hide its diminished head", it is, with few exceptions, very unfortunate for a nation when a man of abilities, without rank or property, pushes himself forward to notice. (92-93)
Consider what does happen to the Monster when he pushes himself forward to notice:
{172} Who can describe their horror and consternation on beholding me. Agatha fainted; and Safie, unable to attend to her friend, rushed out of the cottage. Felix darted forward, and with supernatural force tore me from his father, to whose knees I clung: in a transport of fury, he dashed me to the ground and struck me violently with a stick. (131)
The De Laceys' "horror and consternation" stems from the Monster's appearance, which the Monster himself is aware of as "a figure hideously deformed and loathsome" (115). Felix's response is all-too human in equating the grotesque, or even the merely different, with evil. This simplistic reasoning, based on visceral reaction grounded in social conditioning rather than logical consideration, overrides any need to determine the Monster's origins or motivations, just as much of history has been cluttered with conflicts based upon unfounded presumptions about surface appearances. Even regarding differences with the opposite sex, "Men, in general, seem to employ their reason to justify prejudices" (Wollstonecraft 92).

The Monster's rejection by the De Laceys, whom he has come to love from a distance, is fundamental to understanding how he becomes evil. Up until this point, the Monster has shown no natural proclivity towards evil. Indeed, his actions have been genuinely altruistic, having surreptitiously stocked the cottagers' wood pile and "performed those offices that I had seen done by Felix" (110). In return, the Monster has a place to live and conduct his self-education by observing the cottagers, for whom his affection increases as if he were an orphan finally finding a family to call his own.

Of course, the supplemental reading list Mary Shelley provides the Monster includes Paradise Lost, knowledge of which begins the Monster's expulsion from his own paradise, much as the intellectual discoveries of any maturing child bring the realization that life is much more complicated than the exclusive purpose of satisfying basic individual needs. The Monster's identification with Adam -- and, by extension, Victor Frankenstein's identification with God -- initiates the process by which their mutual fall takes place.

It is interesting to note that the Monster does not wreak vengeance upon the De Laceys who cruelly reject him, but upon his creator, who makes it impossible for the De Laceys to accept him. Estrangement from family, the basic social unit, figures throughout the novel as a condition that festers evil. The Monster turns to evil after being cast out from his "family." Frankenstein has caused evil, in part, because, "In his obsession, Frankenstein has cut himself off from his family and from the human community; in his reaction to that obsession, Frankenstein cuts himself off from his creation" (Levine 92). And after Frankenstein further refuses his God-like responsibility to the Monster by creating a {173} companion, the Monster makes Frankenstein's isolation from family quite literal with the murders of Clerval and Elizabeth, leading to another lonely obsessional quest, this time one of destruction rather than creation.

Paradoxically, it is Frankenstein's refusal to create again that compounds the original evil of creation. Rather than being heralded as the founder of a new species, Frankenstein now fears "that future ages might curse me as their pest, whose selfishness has not hesitated to buy its own peace at the price, perhaps, of the existence of the whole human race" (163). In other words, Frankenstein now sees himself as Satan rather than God. Such insight comes curiously late to Frankenstein. Indeed, his refusal to animate a companion, after being well on his way to completing the work, for fear of unleashing a plague of monsters upon the earth is yet another example of how Shelley portrays seeming rationality obscuring darker motivations. True, the Monster has shown his potential for evil in killing young William and implicating Justine to hang for the murder. Still, his request is not an unreasonable one. He has promised to "fly from the habitations of man" if provided with a companion, a family of his own comprised of his own kind, for "If I have no ties and affections, hatred and vice must be my portion; the love of another will destroy the cause of my crimes, and I shall become a thing of whose existence every one will be ignorant" (143). As a scientist presumably aware of basic biological principles, it is quite unbelievable that Frankenstein is really afraid the Monster and his companion will foster children. All he has to do is leave the uterus out of the mixing directions!

Here again, Frankenstein's lack of foresight, coupled with his male egocentrism, fails to anticipate the evil he lets loose by not owning up to his responsibility to alleviate his creation's loneliness, a reaction that would normally be instinctive in any good mother. This is the underlying reason why we need to see the Monster as an actual creature. As Mellor observes, "From a feminist viewpoint, Frankenstein is a book about what happens when a man tries to have a baby without a woman" (40); he fails to properly nurture the creature's emotional and moral development, and thereby the sins of the father are visited upon the son.

In terms of the Paradise Lost motif, the Monster is transformed from innocent Adam, a victim of other's actions (Eve's disobedience; the De Laceys' revulsion), to Satan avenging his predicament.6 One other Biblical character that might be considered outside of Paradise Lost, however, is Job, with whose loathsome appearance of "sore boils" the Monster shares in being singled out from mankind. It is also interesting to note that "modern writers have often compared Job to the Greek Prometheus, who challenged the reign of the Gods" (Gordis 227). Thus, {174} the Monster as a Job figure challenges his creator to be responsible for his creation.

The most striking similarity between the Monster and Job is the inexplicableness, to their understanding, of their respective plights, for which they come to curse their coming into the world. Both are innocents. And both are being tested, though there is no actual wager on the Monster's virtue. But while Job is being tested by supernatural forces, the Monster is being tested by cruelties inherent in society. Perhaps this is why the Monster fails his test and turns to evil. Job at least has God, however enigmatic, to turn to; the Monster has only a man pretending to be God as a last resource.

Robert Gordis might just as easily have been referring to the Monster's request of Frankenstein in writing that "Job wants only to find God, so that he may set forth his case without fear and receive an answer . . . God must surely know of his basic innocence" (96). The Monster is equally sure of his innocence, despite his crimes of passion, and throws himself at the mercy of his creator, only to be denied. Job, at least, is recompensed with greater possessions and wisdom for his misery, a comforting parable for those who ask to understand why they must suffer in the world. The Monster is condemned to suffer for the rest of his existence without hope of reward, a prospect faced by those who fail to find solace, or signs of its truth, in the parable. Once again, to reject the Monster's existence as simply psychological projection is to miss what Mary Shelley is saying about the ethical quandaries of creation.

Finally, in examining the notion of creating evil, it is ultimately necessary to examine Mary Shelley's own role as the creator of a novel about creation. Certainly, much can be said about how Mary's own life is weaved into the story line. The most notable parallel is that she was abandoned by her mother (though certainly not by willful irresponsibility; Mary Wollstonecraft died from complications in giving birth to Mary), a creator who, not incidentally, was publicly denounced as a monster for the "evil" of her unconventional lifestyle and advocacy of women's rights. Then there is the manifold guilt of possibly being the cause not only for her mother's death, but also for Percy Shelley's estranged wife's suicide by drowning and, more importantly, her own first failure at creation in the death of her baby daughter. "A week later, she dreamed two nights in a row about her dead daughter: 'Dream that my little baby came to life again; that it had only been cold, and that we rubbed it before the fire and it lived'" (Mellor 32). After the book is published, there follows the eerie tragic deaths of her son William, whose namesake in the novel is murdered by the Monster, and husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, poet advocate of the Prometheus myth whose scientific interests and pen name of Victor serve as the model for Frankenstein.

{175} Her relationship with Percy Shelley, and their extended family of lovers and friends, also must have played a part in her perception of destructive familial relationships. Mellor points to Percy Shelley's unresolved Oedipal complex compounded with an erotic attraction to his sister Elizabeth as the source for Frankenstein's death-wish dream, to be fulfilled in reality by the Monster, of his "situational" sister Elizabeth. Mary Shelley may have put more of herself in this plot than it might first seem. She might just as easily have named the character of Elizabeth after her own stepsister, Jane, whose affair with Percy may have made Mary wish her dead. Perhaps Mary got her imaginary revenge in another form, though. Jane, whose continual presence was a constant irritation to Mary, was also known as Claire, which could have been transformed into Victor Frankenstein's equally constant, but ill-fated, companion, Clerval.

Speculating about who might be whom makes for great fun, but I suspect the overruling influence of Mary's personality that shapes the novel is her overwhelming sense of loneliness. As Elizabeth Nitchie notes, "That this monstrous being could be imagined by a young girl is due partly to the fact that he is the symbol of her own loneliness" (17). Permanently separated from an uncaring creator, the Monster's loneliness summarizes humanity's alienation from both the natural and cosmic worlds.

Since Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein's Monster" has become such a commonplace expression, with a legion of authors indebted to her for inspiring their own imaginative works, it is easy to lose sight of the originality of Mary Shelley's invention. As Mellor points out, "All other creation myths . . . depend on female participation or some form of divine interpretation. . . . The idea of an entirely man-made monster is Mary Shelley's own" (38). The significance of this is best illustrated by Northrop Frye's observation that the "creation myth suggests planning and intelligence, and planning and intelligence suggest a creator who could have originally produced only a perfect or model world. . . . To account for the contrast between the model world that such a God must have made and the actual world that we find ourselves in now, a myth of human 'fall' must be added, an alienation myth which expresses the present human condition but does not attach it directly to the work of creation" (33; emphasis added).

Mary Shelley's unique literary achievement is that she creates a myth in which evil is not separate from creation, but is intertwinably fated with the act. Man creates evil because he lacks foresight to anticipate the outcomes of creation. Therefore, if God exists, and if evil has entered into God's Creation, then it must be through some similar shortcoming of God. This raises the question of whether a fallible God, if there is one at all, deserves to be worshipped. And, if not, wherein lies salvation?

{176} The novel's conclusion suggests that if there is any hope of salvation, it is through humanity's, not God's, doing. Frankenstein and his Monster have self-destructed, the latter, ironically, by fire, Prometheus's gift to humanity. Robert Walton, though not without regret, is persuaded to abandon his own Promethean quest in recognition of the potential harm he might inflict upon his fellow beings. Despite the shortcomings of God's Creation, Mary Shelley puts faith in humanity's ability to learn from its mistakes, that individual will and foresight allow for at least the chance that evil need not be inevitable. That as we enter the twenty-first century we continue to live with the Frankenstein Complex hints that this viewpoint may be overly optimistic.


1. Asimov's reaction to the Frankenstein Complex, that "As a person interested in science, I resented the purely Faustian interpretation of science" (Rest of the Robots xii) was the prohibition of the created turning against its creator promulgated in his Three Laws of Robotics.

2. See in particular Mellor (59-69, 219-24) for examples of how Percy Shelley edited, not always for the better, Mary's original text.

3. In the 1818 edition, Elizabeth is the orphan of Alphonse's sister. The 1831 edition eliminated this blood relationship to Victor by changing Elizabeth to an abandoned child of a Milanese nobleman. Even if the kinship were maintained, it was not unusual for first cousins to marry; what was unusual was that Elizabeth was raised in the same family, as if she were a sister to Victor. See Appendix B of the James Rieger edition of Frankenstein for a comparison of the 1818 and 1831 texts [1.1.3] (235).

4. See in particular chapter 6 of Vasbinder's Scientific Attitudes in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for the scientific underpinnings of Victor's experiments.

5. See the debates on Deism, especially in the early eighteenth century, as illustrated in John Locke's The Reasonableness of Christianity (1695).

6. Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar add to the Paradise Lost/Genesis analogy the suggestion that Frankenstein assumes Eve's role in having eaten from the forbidden tree of knowledge by learning the secrets of (pro)creation (232-34). The Monster also has Eve-like qualities in that "to a sexually anxious reader, Eve's body might, like Sin's, seem 'horrid' . . . a 'filthy' or obscene version of the human form divine" (240).

Works Cited

Asimov, Isaac. I, Robot. New York: Ballantine, 1987.

-----. The Rest of the Robots. New York: Doubleday, 1964.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Mary Shelley. New York: Chelsea House, 1985.

Frye, Northrop. Creation and Recreation. Toronto: U of Toronto, 1980.

Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic. New Haven: Yale UP, 1979.

Gordis, Robert. The Book of God and Man: A Study of Job. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1965.

Hassler, Donald M. "What the Machine Teaches: Walter Tevis's Mockingbird" The Mechanical God. Ed. Thomas P. Dunn and Richard D. Erlich. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1982.

Levine, George. "Frankenstein and the Tradition of Realism." Mary Shelley. Ed. Harold Bloom, 1985.

Locke, John. The Reasonableness of Christianity. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1958.

Mellor, Anne K. Mary Shelley. London: Methuen, 1988.

Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Ed. Merrit Y. Hughes. New York: Macmillan, 1962.

Nitchie, Elizabeth. Mary Shelley. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1953.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Emile: or On Education. Trans. Allan Bloom. New York: Basic Books, 1979.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, Or the Modern Prometheus: The 1818 Text. Ed. James Rieger. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1982.

Sherwin, Paul. "Frankenstein: Creation as Catastrophe." Mary Shelley. Ed. Harold Bloom, 1985.

Thornburg, Mary K. Patterson. The Monster in the Mirror: Gender and the Sentimental/Gothic Myth in Frankenstein. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1987.

Vasbinder, Samuel Holmes. Scientific Attitudes in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1984.

Walling, William A. "Victor Frankenstein's Dual Role." Mary Shelley. Ed. Harold Bloom, 1985.

Wollstonecraft, Mary. Vindication of the Rights of Woman. New York: Penguin, 1985.