What is it about?

This paper reads Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, through the lens of three themes in Spinoza’s philosophy. First, the bondage of the passions; second, the importance of the imitation of affects as grounding sociability; and, finally, the problematic relationship between human normative life and the rest of nature, posed by Spinoza’s immanent ontology. Like Spinoza’s exemplars in the Ethics and in the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, Shelley’s presentation of the modern Prometheus is intended to provide her readers with a vivid salutary lesson: hubris and narcissism engender disastrous forms of sociability. In contrast, the ars vivendi of the wise person centres on strength of character (fortitudo) which consists in achieving a balance between the care of one’s self (animositas) and the care of others (generositas).

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Why is it important?

Shows influence of Spinoza on Mary Shelley

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This page is a summary of: Frankenstein, Spinoza, and exemplarity, Textual Practice, February 2019, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/0950236x.2019.1581681.
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