Contents Index

you do not credit my narrative

Mary Shelley here achieves a fine balance herself between crediting and subverting the narrative. On the one hand, her readers (not to exclude Walton) have been at the mercy of this autobiographical account for the better course of the novel. Its "connectedness" is in great part what keeps them reading on. Yet there is the lingering hint of madness threading its way through the narrative and impinging on its claims to reliability. That Victor manages to convince Walton of its truth before the actual evidence appears is, in the face of the skepticism he arouses here, rather an achievement. But then, we might wish to remind ourselves that Walton is an habitué of adventure stories and was wont to believe the North Pole a "region of beauty and delight" (Letter 1.2).