Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences




For my thesis, I intend to focus on elements of Greek idealism in Mary Shelley’s Valperga, Frankenstein, and The Last Man. I will define “classicism” and seek to understand the ideals of the ancients that are concerned with the assertion of a masculine identity and fear the interference of the female voice in the quest for that assertion. I will show how Mary Shelley’s revisionist history undermines the classical ideals of masculinity in the search for the lost feminine. I will use Shelley’s two plays, Proserpine and Midas to support my claim that Shelley is interested in revisionist history of ancient mythology and ideals. Looking at Shelley as both a historic, Gothic, and Romantic novelist, I will examine how Shelley uses popular generic traditions to fight against the dominant ideology, turning the conventions of those traditions on their heads in order to make weighty feminist claims that are reminiscent of the works of her mother Mary Wollstonecraft. I will also examine Shelley’s insecurities in her pursuits and how those insecurities are reflected in her writings.

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