- Dec 2019
Shelley’s Poems.—“On Mutability.”
In the Thomas copy, a note at the foot of the page attributes these lines as "Shelley's Poems. -- "On Mutability." The citation does not appear in the 1831 edition.
And the contortions that ever and anon conpulsvulsed & deformed his un-human features.
This addition to the Thomas copy associates the creature with the "un-human," an early indication of revisions in 1831 that will make the Creature more monstrous and less compellingly human than he had been in the 1818 original.
What could induce me to talk thus incoherently of the dreadful subject that I dared not explain?—In truth, it was insanity, not of the understanding but of the heart, which produced a state of recklesscaused me always to think of one thing, of one sentiment, and that thus there would at times escape to my lips, as a half stifled groansigh may; though else unseen & unheard, just moves the flame that surrounds the marty at the stake. But though he sigh, he will not recant, & though I, more weak, gave vent to my pent up thoughts in words such as these, yet I shrunk unalterably from any thing that should reveal the existence of my enemy.
This addition in the Thomas Copy is one of several indications that Mary is rethinking Victor's extreme emotional states as a form of madness, despite his denial to his father that "I am not mad." By distinguishing a madness "of the heart" rather than the mind, Victor confides in the reader a belief that he is verging on madness that will be more elaborate in the 1831 revision and does not appear so pronounced in the 1818 version. This addition in the Thomas Copy does not specifically carry over to 1831 but it does seem to suggest she was already thinking of him in terms of madness by 1823.
a disease that I regretted the more because I had hitherto enjoyed most excellent health, and had always boasted of the firmness of my nerves.my voice became broken, my trembling hands almost refused to accomplish their task; I became as timid as a love-sick girl, and alternate tremor and passionate ardour took the place of wholesome sensation and regulated ambition.
This revision in the Thomas Copy adds a vivid account of Victor's symptoms as they seem to drain him of masculinity and make him quiver "as a love-sick girl." In 1831 Shelley rewrote this passage again without the gendered simile.
and endeavoured to reason with me on the folly of giving way to immoderate grief.At first he suspected some latent cause for my affliction, but when I assured him that the late events were the causes of my dejection, he called to his aid philosophy and reason, while he endeavoured to restore me to a calmer state of mind.
Here as in earlier versions, the Thomas Copy stresses that the father uses his "reason" to comfort Victor and restore him to calm. But this element of the father's counsel would disappear in the 1831 edition, which no longer refers to him speaking philosophically.
This letter ought to be re-written
In the Thomas copy, a note at the bottom of the page stipulates: "This letter ought to be re-written". The first three paragraphs and the final paragraph were to be substantively rewritten in the 1831 edition.
and this makes us all very wretched, as much so nearly as after the death of your dear mother.and this suspicion fills us with anguish. I perceive that your father conceals attempts to conceal his fears from me; but cheerfulness has flown from our little circle, only to be restored by a certain assuranance that there is no foundation for our anxiety. At one time
This revision in the Thomas Copy removes a reference in Elizabeth's letter to the father's anguish over his wife's death, and instead it elaborates on his worry for Victor's emotional health. In a more fully rewritten version in the 1831 edition, Elizabeth no longer refers to Victor's mother or father.
If there were ever to be another edition of this book, I should re-write these two first chapters. The incidents are tame and ill-arranged—the language sometimes childish.—They are unworthy of the rest of the w booknarration.
In the Thomas Copy, Mary's marginal note outlines her dissatisfaction with the opening chapters of the 1818 edition. Indeed, these chapters would be heavily augmented and revised for the 1831, presumably in accordance with Shelley's observations here.
When my father became a husband and a parent, he found his time so occupied by the duties of his new situation, that heAs my father’s age encreased he became more attached to the quiet of a domestic life, and he gradually
This revised description of Victor's father in the Thomas Copy softens his character, and grounds him within a space of domestic affection that would be further emphasized in revisions to the 1831 edition of the text.
and then he sits by himself, and tries to overcome all that is sullen or unsocial in his humour. These paroxysms pass from him like a cloud from before the sun, though his dejection never leaves him.Which veils his countenance like deep night—he neither speaks or notices anything around him, but sitting on a gun will gaze on the sea and I have sometimes observed his dark eyelash wet with a tear which falls silently silently in the deep. This unobtrusive sorrow excites in me the most painful interest, and he will at times reward my sympathy by throwing aside this veil of mortal woe, and then his ardent looks, his deep toned voice and powerful eloquence entrance me with delight.
This substantial revision in the Thomas Copy removes a description of Victor's bouts of depression onboard the ship as "sullen" "unsocial" and as "paroxysms" that come on and pass away quickly. In its place Shelley writes a sentimental passage depicting Victor's mood as "unobtrusive sorrow" and a "veil of mortal woe." Elements of this revision survived in the longer addition to the 1831 version, such as Victor's tears.
To V. Frankenstein.
The 1818 edition's address-line to Victor is removed in the Thomas Copy and does not appear in the 1831 edition.
had a refined mind; he had no desire to be idle, and was well pleased to become his father’s partner, but he believed that a man might be a very good trader, and yet possess a cultivated understanding.loved poetry and his mind was filled with the imagery and sublime sentiments of the masters of that art. A poet himself, he turned with y disgust from the details of ordinary life. His own soul mind was all the possession that he prized, beautiful & majestic thoughts the only wealth he coveted—daring as the eagle and as free, common laws could not be applied to him; and while you gazed on him you felt his soul’s spark was more divine—more truly stolen from Apollo’s sacred fire, than the glimmering ember that animates other men.
This lengthy revision in the Thomas Copy removes the original description of Clerval as a relatively ordinary tradesman with an interest in poetry and the arts, and transforms him instead into a figure of tremendous romantic flair and verve.
Where before he was described as "a good trader" with a "refined mind," Victor's recollection of him is now charged with profuse admiration, casting Clerval as "daring as the eagle and as free," "his soul's spark was more divine--more truly stolen from Apollo's sacred fire". He is a poet by nature, not a trader, and we now see him resisting his father's attempt to channel his abilities into narrow pursuits of profit. In the 1831 this revision is enlarged to put Clerval's passionate interests even more decisively in opposition to his father's wishes.
stiffhard gales, and the breakingcarrying away
Shelley's change from "breaking of a mast" in the 1818 edition to "carrying away of a mast" in the Thomas Copy was to be modified further in 1831: "the springing of a leak" replaces any reference to the mast.
My father was pleased, and Elizabeth overjoyed. “My dear cousin,” said she, “you see what happiness you diffuse when you are happy; do not relapse again!”The affectionate smile with which Elizabeth welcomed my altered mood excited me to greater exertion; and I felt as I spoke long forgotten sensations of pleasure arise in my mind. I knew that this state of being would only be temporary, that gloom and misery was near at hand, but this knowledge only acted as a stimulant, and gave added a tingling sensation of fear, while the blood danced along my veins—my eyes sparkled and my limbs even trembled beneath the influence of unaccustomed emotion.
Shelley's revision in the Thomas Copy turns the emphasis of this passage toward Victor's emotions and no longer refers to his father's response to him. When this part of the novel is more extensively revised in 1831, Victor is traveling without family and makes this journey with only his guides as company.
No youth could have passed more happily than mine. My parents were indulgent, and my companions amiable. Our studies were never forced; and by some means we always had an end placed in view, which excited us to ardour in the prosecution of them. It was by this method, and not by emulation, that we were urged to application. Elizabeth was not incited to apply herself to drawing, that her companions might not outstrip her; but through the desire of pleasing her aunt, by the representation of some favourite scene done by her own hand. We learned Latin and English, that we might read the writings in those languages; and so far from study being made odious to us through punishment, we loved application, and our amusements would have been the labours of other children. Perhaps we did not read so many books, or learn languages so quickly, as those who are disciplined according to the ordinary methods; but what we learned was impressed the more deeply on our memories.badWith what delight do I even now remember the details of our domestic circle, and the happy years of my childhood. Joy attended on my steps—and the ardent affection that attached me to my excellent parents, my beloved Elizabeth, and Henry, the brother of my soul, has given almost a religious and sacred feeling to the recollections of a period passed beneath their eyes, and in their society.
This revision is one of the most important in the Thomas Copy, indicating how Mary had begun rethinking the novel in substance as early as 1823. From the 1818 edition she eliminates a detailed, careful account of how Victor and Elizabeth were educated by their Enlightenment parents. The first version had made a special point of indicating how this family education was not inculcated by punishments, but presented to the children as an adventure in knowledge, as well as preparing Victor for the kind of rigorous study he would later undertake in the modern sciences. Instead of this pedagogical detail, Mary generalizes about Victor's happy childhood and replaces the details of education with the idea of a "religious and sacred feeling" that is inimical to the secular education described in 1818. While the cancelled text remains absent his section is expanded further in the 1831 edition.
Our father looks so sorrowful: this dreadful event seems to have revived in his mind his grief on the death of Mamma. Poor Elizabeth also is quite inconsolable.”the sense of our misfortune is yet unalleviated; the silence of our father is uninterrupted, and there is something more distressing than tears in his unaltered sadness—while poor Elizabeth, seeking solitude and for ever weeping, already begins to feel the effects of incessant grief—for her colour is gone, and her eyes are hollow & lustreless
This revision in the Thomas Copy removes another reference to the death of Victor's mother. Here it is replaced with a more evocative description of Elizabeth's grief. As it does elsewhere, the Thomas Copy identifies a place needing revision, but the 1823 changes are usually not carried over into the 1831.In this case, the father's grief is emphasized both here and in 1831 despite different language used in each text.
- 1831 edition
- add citation
- Percy Shelley
- domestic affections
the inv1_045fant Elizabeth, the only child of his deceased siste
As Victor's cousin, Elizabeth will also play other family roles as "sister," substitute "mother," and finally "wife." In 1831 Mary Shelley changed Elizabeth's role into that of a foundling, unrelated to Victor by blood. Some modern critics believe this 1831 change avoids the possibility of incest in the 1818 novel and makes the later novel more conservative in implication. For the first arguments of this kind, see Ellen Moers, "Female Gothic: The Monster's Mother," The New York Review of Books, 21, no. 4 (March 21, 1974) and "Female Gothic: Monsters, Goblins, and Freaks," The New York Review of Books, 21, no. 5 (April 4, 1974).
Two years after this event Caroline became his wife
In the 1831 edition, the next eight paragraphs were to be heavily revised and important family relationships altered.
Scarlet fever is a disease caused by a streptococcus infection, most common among children and young adults. Until the discovery of penicillin in the early 20th Century, it was frequently fatal. Also compare the 1831 edition, in which Elizabeth's condition is more "severe."
A country suburb of Geneva, Belrive means "beautiful shore" and was the location of the Villa Diodati, the house the Shelleys rented a house in the summer of 1816. During that summer the couple spent with Lord Byron, Mary's stepsister Claire Clairmont, and John Polidori, Mary first drafted the present novel. See her vivid account of creating the novel in the "Introduction" to the 1831 edition on this site.
Sir Thomas Gower, 2nd Baronet (c. 1605–1672) twice served as the High Sheriff of Yorkshire and supported the Royalist cause during the Civil War. In his 1823 edition of Shelley's novel, her father William Godwin changed "Gower" to "Goring," the name of another Royalist leader in the Civil War, and the 1823 change is retained in the 1831 revision of the novel.
Sir Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was a natural philosopher and is widely considered one of the most prominent figures of the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution.