Thomas SchmidUniversity of Texas, El Paso

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Addiction and Isolation in Frankenstein
A Case of Terminal Uniqueness
in Gothic Studies
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Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein reflects both Romantic critiques of autonomy, as they have been recently defined by Nancy Yousef, and discourses of isolation and addiction as they appear in key texts by Samuel Coleridge and Charles Lamb. For Coleridge and Lamb, addiction leads to what current specialists often call ‘terminal uniqueness’, a feeling of isolation both incommunicable to others and incapable of being heard by a non-addicted audience. In its own portrayals of isolation, Frankenstein may be seen to intersect with these larger discourses of isolation, chemical dependence, and what Anya Taylor calls ‘the empty self ’ of Romantic addiction.

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