Chapter

Mary Shelley: Blind Fathers and the Magnetic Globe: <i>Frankenstein</i> with <i>Valperga</i> and <i>The Last Man</i>

Edward Larrissy

in The Blind and Blindness in Literature of the Romantic Period

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780748632817
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651696 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748632817.003.0008
Mary Shelley: Blind Fathers and the Magnetic Globe: Frankenstein with Valperga and The Last Man

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This chapter focuses on the figure of the blind man in the works of Mary Shelley, noting that while the blind man is not central to her works, it is still relevant enough. In Frankenstein, the blind man serves as the only person who cannot react with prejudice to the hideousness of the creature. In Valperga, the blind man causes his daughter to read to him and thus gain learning, while in The Last Man, readers encounter a blind old man who is oblivious to the fate of humanity. The chapter also shows how the literal blindness of these old men brings the figurative blindness of the other characters into sharper relief and opens up a wide range of meanings.

Keywords: blind man; Mary Shelley; Frankenstein; Valperga; Last Man; literal blindness; figurative blindness

Chapter.  7125 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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