Essays in Romanticism

The “grim Unreality”: Mary Shelley’s Extinction Narrative in The Last Man

Essays in Romanticism (2017), 24, (2), 163–178.

Abstract

This article examines parallels between Mary Shelley’s 1826 novel The Last Man and Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution (1859) to show how Shelley anticipates many of Darwin’s central claims about nature, species, and extinction. Using an Animal Studies lens, the article explores the significance of the goat in the novel’s introduction and Shelley’s use of insects to form critiques of human exceptionalism that remain vitally relevant in the face of current environmental crises.

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Author details

Mondello, Kaitlin