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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Intertextuality within Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Structures and Stabilizes Language Countering Male Romantic-Era Writers’ Subjectification of the World

  • Author(s): Setoda, Kayleigh
  • Advisor(s): Sanchez, Juan
  • et al.

Critics have constantly engaged in the topic of how male Romantic-era writers’ views of language influenced their writing, in particular their subjective and arbitrary descriptions and illustrations of the world to create new meanings of objects, thoughts and ideas. Yet, despite the numerous critiques on male writers, there is a lack of research and examination of women Romantic-era writers’ reflections on and responses to the male writers’ views of language and how the male writers’ views of language influence their writing. In particular, Mary Shelley is one such writer that subjects the male writers’ beliefs of language to critique in her novelFrankenstein.This essay argues that inFrankenstein,Mary’s use of intertexuality combats the subjective view of language found in the male writers’ works because the intertextual moments within literature expands the engagement and understanding of language beyond the dimensions of personal and subjective views. The interweaving of and references to Percy Shelley’s works, the Bible and Milton’sParadise Lostin her writing, I claim, structures and stabilizes language in order to reveal a larger context of the meaning of words that reinforce a universal understanding of a correlation between words, objects and definitions.

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