Contents Index

wondrous power

The "wondrous power" is magnetism. Mary Shelley, working within the accepted scientific discourse of her time, in this second paragraph of her novel, is carefully establishing a conceptual -- the term in her time would have been "philosophical" -- base for it in physics. The key is provided by Percy Bysshe Shelley's citation, in the opening sentence of the Preface, of Erasmus Darwin, a linkage to which the reader may turn for further elucidation of the scientific grounding of the novel.