Radical coterie and the idea of sole survival in St Leon, Frankenstein and Watchmen
in Alan Moore and the Gothic Tradition
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This chapter proposes that Watchmen can be viewed as belonging to a tradition of Gothic that had its first flourishing as a result of the optimistic, egalitarian philosophical theories of the 1790s. By examining Gothic novels that engage with the moral questions of that era, it shows that Watchmen is an heir to what has been called 'the philosophical Gothic' in a strain of British radical fiction. The chapter considers it in relation to William Godwin's St Leon and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Both conceptions of the select group, as cabal and as coterie, are applicable to the discussion of Watchmen in relation to St Leon and Frankenstein. St Leon, Victor Frankenstein and Watchmen's Adrian Veidt all experience careers that have their beginnings in sociable coterie, their middles in solitary ambition and their ends in sole survival, although at the conclusion of Watchmen Veidt has yet to realise this.


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