Contents Index

passage near the pole

The Northwest Passage, and (to a lesser extent because less practicable) the Northeast Passage, were major objects of exploration in the later eighteenth century, renewed after peace returned to Europe in 1815 with the strong backing of the British government as seemingly being crucial to Britain's domination of the seas and to the commerce that held together the Empire. As with other scientific aspects of Mary Shelley's novel, this ambition of Walton's has a large cultural and political resonance.