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An open and capacious forehead

It would appear once more that Victor has read and inculcated the wisdom of one of his most celebrated countrymen in the eighteenth century, Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741-1801), whose Physiognomische Fragmente (1775-1778) -- translated into English in 1789-1798 as Essays on Physiognomy -- purported to show how character could be inferred from facial features and proportions. Here "open" carries moral connotations, indicative of the "frankness of disposition" with which this sentence ends. See 1.3.1 and note for an earlier instance where physiognomy appears to enter into his discourse.

Mary Shelley was aware that her own character had been predicted from her infant physiognomy by her father's close friend, the scientist William Nicholson. As his account emphasizes, she, too, possessed a "capacious forehead."