Accès libre

The Last Man and ‘The First Woman’: Unmanly Images of Unhuman Nature in Mary Shelley’s Ecocriticism

   | 12 juin 2020
Perichoresis's Cover Image
De Corpore – ‘On the Body’ through the History of Idea, Views of the Body in Philosophy, Literature and Religion. Editor: Ramona Simuț
À propos de cet article


Mary Shelley in her writings relies on the romanticised notions of nature: in addition to its beauties, the sublime quality is highlighted in its overwhelming greatness. In her ecological fiction, The Last Man (1826), the dystopian view of man results in the presentation of the declining civilization and the catastrophic destruction of infested mankind. In the novel, all of the characters are associated with forces of culture and history. On the one hand, Mary Shelley, focussing on different human bonds, warns against the sickening discord and dissonance, the lack of harmony in the world, while, on the other hand, she calls for the respect of nature and natural order. The prophetic caring female characters ‘foresee’ the events but cannot help the beloved men to control their building and destroying powers. Mary Shelley expresses her unmanly view of nature and the author’s utopian hope seems to lie in ‘unhuman’ nature. While the epidemic, having been unleashed by the pests of patriarchal society and being accelerated by global warming, sweeps away humanity, Mother Nature flourishes and gains back her original ‘dwelling place’.

3 fois par an
Sujets de la revue:
Theology and Religion, General Topics and Biblical Reception