Contents Index


The terms of Walton's education are provided in Letter 2.1, where he laments his neglect of systematic preparation in his youth. It will remain to be seen in the course of the novel whether Victor Frankenstein's more formal education served him better than did Walton's autodidacticism.

The question of self-education would have resonated strongly in the Shelley household. Mary Shelley did not attend school and was largely educated by her father, who in his early years had tried to read everything that was written and therefore was presumably qualified in the highest terms to direct his daughter's intellectual development. Though her husband attended the finest of preparatory schools, Syon House and Eton College, P. B. Shelley was expelled from Oxford in his second term at the university and thereafter amassed his considerable learning on his own. Mary, it should be stressed, embarked on a similar reading program as her husband and, if still only eighteen when she began Frankenstein was, by the standards of woman's education in her day, prodigiously learned.