My hideous progeny: Mary Shelly, William Godwin, and the father-daughter relationship
William Godwin's influence on Mary Shelley pervades her novels, especially in the figure of the father. Her first two novels, Frankenstein and Mathilda, are both energized by the question of father-daughter incest. In Frankenstein, the spurned, abandoned monster can be viewed as a figure for a child made loathsome by the father's incestuous desire. Mary Shelley uses Frankenstein to chart the way a daughter can vent her rage on the figure of the father and eventually gain control over him. Mathilda focuses more directly than Frankenstein on the question of father-daughter incest; it is remarkable for its vivid portrayal of the ambivalent emotions of incest victims.
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The Biography of a Relationship
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