Contents Index

secret stores of knowledge

This language resonates beyond the fictional world of this novel and links in complex ways with the concerns of Percy Bysshe Shelley, who likewise focuses on this theme in "Alastor" (lines 20-23, 75-82, and 116-28), where both the narrator and the Poet whose story he tells are obsessed with uncovering secret lore; in the "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty," stanza 5, where Shelley recounts his own youthful investment in the supernatural; and in "Mont Blanc," esp. ll. 139-41, where the mountain itself is represented as holding secrets the poet would penetrate. "Alastor" was published in March of 1816, and the other two poems were written that summer. In addition, the theme is continually sounded in The Revolt of Islam, the long narrative poem he composed while Mary Shelley was simultaneously writing Frankenstein: (see esp. Canto II, sts. 11-12, 20; Canto IV, sts. 3, 6-8, 12). There Shelley gives a strong political tilt to the notion of suppressed knowledge.