This article connects Mary Shelley’s depiction of a complex spiritual malaise in Frankenstein (1818) with Bahá’u’lláh’s definition in the Kitáb-i-Íqán of the oppression experienced at the end of a reigning spiritual dispensation by the soul who seeks God but does not know where to look. The article examines the spiritual oppression of both the over-ambitious Victor Frankenstein, who strives for godlike power, and of his self denigrating creature, whose sense of monstrous difference prevents him from finding his place in the world, the article also explores the influence of Shelley’s novel on two well-known contemporary critics, Jacques Derrida and Julia Kristeva, whose theories enact contemporary versions of the spiritual responses of Victor and his creature. Finally, the article uses the above analyses to cast a fresh light on the new emphasis on the feminine and maternal qualities of the Manifestation in the Bahá’í Revelation.
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Copyright © 1999 Phyllis Sternberg Perrakis