Promethean Individualism In Frankenstein

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Exigence: Bill Hughes’ “‘A devout but nearly silent listener’: dialogue, sociability, and Promethean individualism in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818)” is part of an academic conversation analyzing many late Romantic period poets and authors, such as Mary and Percy Shelley. Essentially, Hughes’ article is a continuation of Marilyn Butler’s work, which argues that “the second wave of Romantic poets, such as Byron, Keats, and Percy Shelley, pursued a neoclassical critical rationalism that retained the spirit of Enlightenment radicalism” (Hughes 1). To put it in Hughes’ own words, “[my] article argues that Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, Frankenstein, continues that dialogism” (Hughes 2). Furthermore, Hughes analyzes the work of several other prominent…show more content…
At the end of his article, the Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies states, “Bill Hughes has a doctorate in English Literature from the University of Sheffield” and “[Hughes] has also published on Richard Hoggart, intertextuality and the Semantic Web, and contemporary paranormal romance” (22). Moreover, “[Hughes] is on the editorial board of the journal Monstrum” (22). The journal Monstrum is “an academic journal which specialises in monsters and the monstrous” (Monstrum: A New Journal). Therefore, being on the editorial board of another academic journal lends Hughes even more credibility than he has. Furthermore, the journal which his article is written is peer-reviewed and is cited by other authors, as well as his article is displayed on academic search pages, all of which mean that the journal his article is written in gives Hughes even more credibility. Essentially, Hughes is an extremely credible…show more content…
To start, Hughes’ thesis is “Shelley uses the ambiguous Romantic avatar of Prometheus to dramatise uneasy tensions between Enlightenment ideas of progress and sociability” (Hughes 2). Furthermore, at the start of his work, Hughes states, “The Romantic period has often been characterised as marking a shift towards the inward and individual” but later states “many writers in the Romantic period cultivated a sociability that was, in some ways, a continuation of the public rationality of the [Enlightenment]” (Hughes 1). Essentially, Hughes is stating that although the Romantic period emphasized the individual, some Romantic authors such as Mary Shelley express, through their work, problems with an individualistic society. Hughes states, “the creature... is also an index of liberating potential of dark, shapeless matter transformed through marvellous human knowledge and imagination, yet constrained by an oppressive, asocial individualism” (21). These quotes connect to me research as I am currently trying to determine how Shelley constructs human nature through her novel Frankenstein. Currently, my research has consistently coincided with both Butler’s and Hughes’ argument. There are many points in the novel which seem to display individualism as a negative quality. For instance, Shelley displays Frankenstein’s blatant

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