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Frankensteinand Hermetism

ChiekoTANAKA

Frankenstein; oag the Modern PTometheus is Mary Wollstenecraft


Sheiiey's
most fermidablenovel, where Victor Frankenstein'simagina-
tion achieved the unusual creation of the creature and in the end, this
ereation ironicaliy
caused the catastrophe of Victer himselfand the name-
less creature. CrosbieSmith says that this story is voyage of discovery
"a

that imaginatively explored the mysterious and dark side of Nature and
man, especially in reiatiofi to an individual's questforgod-likepower and
knowledgethrough natural philosophy."i Although hisquestforpower
and know}edge collapsed, the needs of Victor'simagination caused him to
create a new myth of the modern Prometheus.What liesbehindVictor's
imagination? And by what forceare hisambitions drivento catastrophe?
In inquiringintothese questions,I argue that hermetism2exists at the
root of Victor's imaginationand there isa linkbetween Frankenstein and

hermetism,which is deep}y related to alchemy and magic.


Frankenstein'sscience has beendiscussed in terms of modern science,
alchemical science, and occultCulturalstudies on Frankenstein,
science.

which widely includethe studies of ltssciefice, developedrapidly in


the 1990's.3 JayMacpherson, David Kettere4Peter VOrmon, and John
A. Du,ssingerexamine Victor's inclination towards the anciefit natural
philosophy-aichemyand magic. Howeveg they do not investigatethe
root idea of alchemy and magic, that is,the philosophy of hermetism. It
should be noted that Mary Shelley contributed the biography of Marsilio
Ficinoto the CabinetCyclopaediaand Hermes Tirismegistus ismentioned
inthis biography4I will examine manifestatlons of hermetism ifithe text
of Frankenstein and investigatethis novei's kinship with hermetism,the
source of which isthe Hermetica.

[27]

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The Hermetica is the collection of works written under the name


of }-Iermes Tlismegistusin Egypt from the third century Bc to the third
century AD. Tke themes of the Hermetica are various, such as philoso-

phM theologM astrologs natural philosophM alchemM magic, and so on.


Walter Scott and Andr6-JeanFestugiere divided the H'ermetica intotwo
main categories: hermetismand
"popular"
or
"learned" "philosophical"

hermetism (Broek 487).The Asdepins and the Corpbls Hermeticum are


the most important of the philosophicaiHermetica.Accordingto Frances
Yates, of Hermetica] contai,n popular Greek philosophy of
"[the
works

the period, a mixture of Platonismand Stoicism, combined with some

Jewishand probably some PersianiRfiuences."5


The Cotpus Hermeticum became known in the West in the forms
of MarsilioFicino's Latintranslation of itsGreek manuscript. The Her-
metica and the divine name of Hermes Trismegistus had a greatinfluence
upon European culture. The first version of the Corpus Hermeticum in

English was published by ]ohnEverardin l650.6Hetmetism had much


influence upon JohnDee and Edmund Spencerin the sixteenth century
and Robert Fludd and Ralph Cudworth in the seventeenth century. As
Antoine Faivre remarks, the celebrated authors in the seventeenth cen-
tury such as RichardBurton, Sir Browne, SirWalterRaleigh,
'I'homas

and

JohnMiltonrefer to hermeticideasintheir works.7 liealso indicatesthat


a number of authors of pre-Romanticand Romantic literature in England
and theUnited Stateswere indirectly influenced by hermetism (Faivre
'Ikveson
540>. Ernest Lee pointsout the great infiuenceef hermetisfn
Romanticism. He says that the hermetist tradition, ideasabout
"in
upen

the universe remained consrant" and that


C`[flinally
they led to what we

know as romanticism."S

As Peter Vermon indicates, VictorFrankenstein has a distinct inclina-


tion towards ancieRt Ratural philoscphy-alchemyand magic.9 Victor
indulgeshimselfin reading the works of CorRellusAgrippa,Paracelsus,
and AlbertusMagnus early in hisyouth. But laterhisinclination drifts
from ancient natural philosophy to modern natural philosophM and he
writhes in confiict between
"the "a
ancient" science and modern system

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Frankensteinand Hermetism 29

of science."iO VUhy did the ancient philosophy attract Victor?])C(ecan find


here:
The untaught peasantbeheldthe elements around him, and was acquainted
with their practical uses. The most learned philosopher knew little more.

He had partially unveiled the faceof Nature, butherimmortal lineaments


were still a wonder and a mystery. He might dissect,anatomise, and give
names; but,not to speak of a finalcause, causes in their secondary and
tertiary gradeswere utterly unknown to him. . . .

But here were books,and herewere men [Agrippa, Paracelsus,and Al-


bertusMagnus] who had penetrated deeperand knew more. I took their
word forall that they averred, and I becametheir disciple.ii

Victortries to the faceof Nature" and pursues


"unveil "nature
to
her hidingplaces" (F49). He remarks on hisquest: was
"It
the secrets of
heavenand earth that I desiredto learn; . . . my enquiries were directed to
the metaphysical, og inits highest sense, the physicalsecrets of the world"

(Fl831 37).He pursues final "a


cause," which exists behindnature. Frank-
enstein is set in the eighteenth centurM the age of reason. Accordingto
Smith,natural philosophers in that age assumed that nature had a special
ordeg and they investigated the principles of itsordeL Any theological or
metaphysical questsforsecret and final causes of nature were assigned to
ancient natural philosophers.Mary Shelleydepicts her central figureas a
creative artist and a magician-philosopher with a Romantic temperament,
rather than as an eighteenth-century Enlightenment philosopher(Smith
41).Victor finds "that

passion, which afterwards ruled [his] destiny"arise


riveg fromignobleand almost forgotten and it
"like
a mountain sources"
becomes "the
torrent which, in itscourse, has swept away all [his] hopes
and joys" (F32>.Victor's Romantic passionsfornatural philosophyoften
overcome hisreason. His enthusiastic pursuitfor nature's hiddenpower
reflects the Romantic imagination.The imaginative search formystery is
set against rational investigations of the modern natural philosopher.In
the 1831 edition, modern natural philosophy iscriticized more than in
the 18t8 edition, forRomanticism influenced Mary Shelley's attitude to
scientific empiricism duringthose years.Romantic ethos sharpened her
perspectiveof nature: one of the fruits Romanticism borein the 1831
edition.i2 She expresses a definite shift from lateeighteenth-century En-
lightenment philosophy to Romanticism in terms of nature.

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For Victog the finalcause cannot be presented by a modem phi-


losopherbut by such philosophers as Agrippa, Paracelsus,and Albertus
Magnus. These philosophersare all deeplyconcerned with alchemy and
magic, and furthermore
they are all under the influenceof hermetism.
As Tuveson indicates,
one of the mottoes of the hermetists
is "Follow

nature." It means "one


should constantly try to extend one's obl'ective
('fuveson
32).Tuveson C`the
understanding of the greatcosmos" says that
more we know about the order of nature, itslaws and itssecrets, the
more closely we approach the divineBeing whose manifestation physi-
cal phenomena are" (Tiuveson
32). For "the
cosmos isthe image of the
divine"
(Tuveson
66).
In hermetism that exists, both in the material
"everything
and the
spiritual world, is fundamentallyone, becauseit derivesfrom the One,
God" (Broek 559). Hermes says in the first chapter of the Asclepi"sthat
"all
things are one, and the One isall things ... all things were in the
Creatorbeforehe created them all."i3 Hermetism is way of moral and "a

spiritual progressthat leadsto an ever better understanding of the world

we livein and to knowledge of, and even union with, the transcendent
God who isitsfinal cause" (Broek 562). In the context of hermetismthe
ultimate cause of the universe is the One, God. Accordingto Urs Leo
Grantenbein,Paracelsus thought that behind all things existed some-
thing likeeternal ideas, Although he observed a frameworkof
"astra."

ChristianphilosophB magic, alchemy and theology cannot be separated


in Paracelsus' worldview. He held magic to be a method of making use

of the secrets or fundamentallawsof nature.i4 As Claire Fanger remarks,


Albertus Magnus, a German philosopher and theologian, was devoted
to the study of the natural science and Aristotelian philosophy.He refers
to alchemB alchemical operations and magic in hisworks, and Hermes
Trrismegistus is frequently cited.i5 Agrippa especially fascinates Victor;
Victorfindsa volume of the works of CorneliusAgrippaat the inn in the
bathsnear Thonon and reads itenthusiastically. Clearlythe philosophy of
Agrippa becomes to be one of the factorswhich triggers hisruin, which
he mentions after hisconversation with hisfather (F33).
AfterwardVictorapplies himself to alchemical pursuits: entered
`CI

with greatestdiligence
the into the search of the philosopher'sstone and
(F34).But heputs a highvalue on the elixir of liferather
the elixir of life"
than on the philosopher'sstone, becausethe forrner isthe operation of Iife

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Frankensteinand Hermetism 31

itself
while the latter ismerely forgainingwealth, Thus this fascination
leadsto the ambition forcreation, that is,the operation of life itself.
In Ingolstadt, Victor is severely criticized by M. Krempe becauseof
hisstudy of alchemy But Victoris still attracted to the grand views of
alchemical philosophythough he realizes itsinefficiency inthe real world.
AlthoughVictor "had
a contempt forthe uses of modern natural philoso-
phB" he boundlessgrandeurfor
"was
required to exchange chimeras of

realities of little
worth" (F41).For Victorto be an inquirer
of modern sci-

ence isto abandon hisown imaginaryworld and return to the real world.
S. H. Vasbinderargues Victorconverts from alchemical
that science to
modern science at this point.i6 But I disagree with hisargument because
Vlisbinderputs more emphasis on the mere superficial proceedings after
this incident rather than the dilemma of whether Victorshould rely on his
own imaginary world or abandon it.We should note that Victor writhed
under the dilemma,and he depreciates the value of realities with certainty
As IUveson pointsout, ancient
"[the
alchemists'] purpose was to perfect,
to make actual, the wholeness which is possible for the human mind"
(TUveson 256). In alchemical pursuit,Victo4who cannot be satisfied with
the real world, tries to re-form and operate the laws and phenornenon
on the earth, and to be free fromthe limitations of the real world. C. G.

Jungsays that lifeisthe realization of a whole


"every
of a self" and he . . .

quotes the old alchemists' dictumthat the most natural and perfectwork
isto generateitsIike.i7 Victor's
purpose isto perfectthe wholeness of his
own self and to create hisown like.

II

After he meets M. VValdman, and is instructedby him in the glorious


achievements in modern science, Victor sets out to study chemistrM

physiologM and days and nights of incredible


anatomy.
"After
labourand
fatigue, I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and lifes naM
more, I becamemyself capable of bestowinganimation upon lifeless mat-
ter" (F47).Though itappears that Victorcould have cleared the mystery
of life,he remarks, this discovery
"[b]ut
was so greatand overwhelming,
that all the steps by which I had been progressivelyledto itwere obliter-
ated, and I beheldonly the result" (F 47). The details are not givenby
Mary Shelleyas Mario Praz criticizes.i8 Victorwas, rathe4 "animated

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(F46) and "to


with an almost supernatural enthusiasm" was able arrive

at once at the summit of [his]


desires"<F47).The procedure of pain-
fullabourafter setting out to create lifeisaccompanied with
"a
passing
trance" (F50), so these experiences are rather mystic and transcendent.
FinallBVictor's
ambition isdeclared
as an ardent aspiration forgod-like
power.
A new species weuld blessme as itscreator and source; many happy and
excellent natures would owe their beingto me. No fathercould claim the
gratitude of his child so completely as I should deservetheir's. Pursuing
these reflections, I thought, that ifI could bestow animation upon lifeless
matte4 I might in process of time (although I now found it impossible)
renew lifewhere death had apparently devotedthe body to corruption.

(F49)
The ambition to create
"[a]
new species" which
"
would blessme as its
creator and source" means the desire
to be a god. IrvingH. Buchen con-
cludes that Mary Shelley
"provided
the model forthose who inthe future
would aspire to be fledging
gods."i9A similar expression of this aspiration
can be found in the passage on the greatnessof man in the Asclepius.

Man is a marvel then, Asclepiusihonourand reverence to such a being!


Man takes on him the attributes of a god, as though he were himself a god.
. . . He islinkedto the gods, inasmuch as there isin him a divinity akin to
theirs....He has access to all; he descendsto the depth of the sea by the
keennessof histhoughts and heaven isnot foundtoo high forhim, for he
measures itby hissagacits as though itwere within hisreach. (H 295)

Hermes teaches has the attributes of a god and he


Asclepius
that man

himself islikea god. Man isgreat becauseman has no"s, though not
all men have this. This appreciation of the greatness of man is one of
the characteristics of the Asclepius.Hermes continues to appreciate man's

ability:
"[O]f
all beingsthat have soul, man isthe only one whose fac-
ulty of cognition is,by this giftof mind, so strengthened, elevated, and

exalted, that he can attain to knowledge of the truth concerning God"


(H 297).Just
as man's
"faculty
of cognition" ispraised by Hermes in
the Asctepius,so the very ability of grasping the secret of the universe
is praised by VictoL In hermetism of the truth concerning
"knowledge

God" isthe ultimate object of cognition. Victoraffirms man's intensepas-


sion forknowledge:

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and Hermetism 33

No one can conceive the variety of feel,ings which boreme onwards, like
a hurricane,in the first
enthusiasm of success. Lifeand deathappeared to
me idealbounds,which I should first
breakthrough, and pour a torrent of
intoour darkworld. (F49>
light

He to the knowledgeof the secrets of life


aspires and deathso inrensely
and he believes that he can a torrent of light
intoour dark world."
"pour

This imp!icitttust in the know!edge of humanity corresponds to the ap-


plause forthe knewledge of man in the following passagein the Ascge-
pius:
"With
hisquickwit he penetratesthe elements; air cannot blindhis
mental vision with itsthickest darkness;dense earth impede his cannot

works the deepest


water cannot blurhisdownward gaze" <H 29S-97).
Furthermore, Hermes app}ands Rot enly man's knowledgebut also
man's creativitM which we see manifest inVictor- "A
new species would
blessme itscreator and source."
as This aspiration can be found in the
and isdistinctly
Asclepius, exemplified inthe fo11owingpassage:

[H]owgreatisthe power and might of man. . . .


[EIven
as God isthe maker
of the gods of heaven,so man isthe fashioner
of the gods who dwellin
temples and havemen fortheir neighbours.
are content to Thus rnan not
oRly receives the light of dlvine but giyesit also; he Rot only makes
life,
hisway upward to God, bgthe even fashions gods....MaRkind isever
mindful of itsown parentageand the source whence ithas sprung, and
steadfastly in following
persists God's example; and consequentlM justas
the Father and master made the gods of heaven eternal, that they might
sesemble him who made them, eveR so do meR alse fashieR their gods in
the iikeness
of their ewn aspect. (H 339)
We notice that Hermes teaches the light
"[t]hus
man not only receives of

divinelife, but givesitalso. . . ." Victorstruggles to create a new species


in the likeness of hisown aspect, that is,a simulacra of a human being.

Victor's creation of a human beingis similar to the making of gods in


the passage above and the very impulseof the creation of lifeshould be
argued in a hermetic
context of the
tradition.
Sinceancient times, the creation of Iife hasbeenthe aspiratiQn of "the

wisest men," as Victorcounts himself (F47--48).Two examples inmythol-


ogy ,related to this theme are the legendsof Prometheus and Pygmalion.
As BurtonR. Pollinexamines in his "Philosophical
and Literary
Sources
of Fmnkenstein,"Zg one of the materials is probablythe Premetheus myth

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in Ovid'sMetamorphoses.2i Mary Shelleymentions havingread Ovid in


her journal in 1815,22 and it seems that Ovid had attracted her deeply.
But in the myth of Prometheus, itisnot a man buta god who generatesa
human being.In Franfeenstein, a human beingischaracterized as creating
a creature that resembles him.Pollinpoints out that Mary Shelleyread
Pygmalionet Galate'e; ou La Statueanime'e depuis vingt-quatre he"resby
Mme de Genlis, and that this play would have stimulated Mary Shelley's
memories of Ovid (Pollin 100). In Ovid'smyth of Pygmalion,Pygmal-
ion carves an ivorystatue in order to have an idealwoman forhislove,
not becausehe pursues hisown
"a
ambition to procreate new species"
likeVictor(Ovid81-85). In these respects, we can finda drivingforce
towards the creation of life that is more similar in the Asclepiusthan in
these myths. The extent to which Victor's creation of life isdeeplyrelated
with hermetism cannot be overestimated, though there is a difference
between man's fashioning of gods'statues in the Asclepiusand Victor's
creation of a new species inFrankenstein.

III

Next,letus consider the process of Victor'screation. At first


he beginshis
work as ifhe were an advocate formechanical materialism. Victorbegins
this attempt by performing experiments, which seem to be controlled by
reason on the surface, but prove to be horribleand cursed, driven by the
dark side of human passion,until the process assumes characteristics of
Gothic novels. A hermetic undertakes his cursed operation
"god"
in a
chamber which lookslikea cell foralchemical experiments. Here isthe
moment of the creature's animation.

Itwas on dreary night of Novembeg


2 that I beheldthe accomplishment
of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected
the instruments of life
around me, that I might infusea spark of beinginto
the lifeless
thing that layat my feet. Itwas already one in the morning; the
rain
pattereddismally against the panes,and my candle was nearly burnt
out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull
yellow eye of the creature open; itbreathed hard,and a convulsive motion
agitated itslimbs.(F52)

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Mary Shelleyavoids the details


of the process of animation. The idea of
"a
spark of being"isto appear again in the scene where Victorconfronts
the creature. He exclaims inthe scene,
"Wretched
devil!you reproach me

with your creation; I may extinguish the spark which


come on then, that
I so negligently bestowed" (F94>.Lateg the creature is severely rejected
by Felix, Safie, and Agatha because of his deformed appearance. The
creature says to Victog cursed creator! Why didI live?VCihM in
"Cursed,

that instant,did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so
bestowed?" (F132) of being"is a crucial
"A
wantonly spark reference

forthe destinies of bothVictorand the creature. Itcan be considered as


the galvanism mentioned by Mary Shelleyin the introduction of the 1831
edition. Marilyn Butlerexamines this issue, contrasting JohnAlbernethy's
vitalism and WilliamLawrence's argument against it.23
V7hat then can we findin the crux of the matter on the animation of
life?
Tb answer this question,letus return to the early youth of Victon

The raising of ghosts or devilswas a promise liberally accorded by my


favourite authors, the fulfilment of which I most eagerly sought; and if
my incantationswere always unsuccessful, I attributed the failure rather to
my own inexperience and mistake, than to a want of skill or fidelity
in my
(F34)
instructors.

Invocation in terms of magic is a subtle and significant thread in this


novel. Pondering the creation of life
in the lightof magic, we can see

clearly Victor's aspirations for magical invocation. One of his "favour-

iteauthors" isAgrippa,who offers lists of means forinvocationsin his


work ('lilates 153).In Philosopherand the Magus" Eugenio Garin
"The

remarks that
"Agrippa
contrasted the Aristotle'sphilosophy
`pestilential'

of nature with his own view of magic (the magic of Ficinoand Pico)as
the culmination of a movement to constitute an active science of nature
and an operative knowledge.. . Magic was ."24
practicalaspect
"the
of

the science of nature" (Garin


138>. In short, Victor sought not only for
knowledge but also for action: he sought out secrets of
"the `natural'

magic to gain dominion over the physicalworld" (Garin151). Indicat-


ingthat "Victor's
aspirations are still under the influenceof the world of

alchemy and magic,"25 and that


"the
description
of the moment of ani-
mation suggests something that isthe very opposite of natural-a magical

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and amazing occurrence . . ." (Rowen175),Norma Rowen remarks that


"the
sense of man's capacity to perform marvels and miracles . . . informs
hisambitions" (Rowen174-75). I believethat these ambitions to
"per-

form marvels and miracles" to animate matter have their roots in the
hermeticcreation of gods, since the same ambitions are clearly seen inthe
followingpassage in the Asclepi"s:

What have said about man isalready marvellous, but most marvellous
we
of all is that he has beenable to discover the nature of the gods and to
reproduce it.Our firstancestors invented the art of making gods.They
mingled a virtue, drawn from material nature, to the substance of the stat-
ues, and
"since
they could not actually create souls, after havingevoked the
souls of demons or angels, they introducedthese intotheir idolsby holy
anddivinerites, so that the idolshad the power of doinggood and evil
[sic]."26
(Yates 39)

Here Egyptian priestscontrive to findthe method of givinglife


to inani-
mate matteg that is,
the making of
"the
moving statues made byDaedalus,
the speaking Mercurius" (Yates
statues of 165).The very ability of mak-
ingthese statues isinciudedby Hermes in the human privileges, as well as
the ability to contemplate the heavenlyand apprehend the divine.I return
now to Agrippa, who exhibits a striking similarity to the Asclepius:

But who can give a soul to an image, or make a stone to live,or mettal

[metal],
or wood, or wax? and who can raise out of stones children unto

Abraham? Certainly this Arcanum dothnot enter intoan Artist of a stiffe


necki neither can he givethose things which haththem not. No body hath
them but he who doth(the Elementsbeingrestrained, nature beingover-
come, the Heavens beingover-powered) transcend the progressof Angels,
and comes to the very Archetype27itself, of which beingthen made a coop-
erator may do all things, as we shall speak afterwards.28

Here, itisvery clear that hermetism infiltrates this passage.The crucial


subject of how we can give a soul to animate lifelessmatter isdiscussed
here.Seekingfor spark of being,"Agrippa remarks that man who can
"a

reach God, and operate as God does,can make miracles and magic. By
Agrippa, too, man isprivilegedto create life as ifhe were a god.He uses
the Asclepius as an authority on hismagical philosophy.Agrippaobserves
"Mercurius
7'>'ismegistus writes, that an image rightly made of certain

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proper things, appropriated to any one certain angel, will presentlybe


animated by that angel" 112).Besides,
(Agrippa he mentions Hermes's
teaching on the
greatnessof man:
"[W]hence
Hermes saith, O Asclepius!
Man is a great miracle, an animal to be honouredand adored: for he
passeth intothe nature of God, whereby he becomesGod (Agrippa . . ."

627).These quotations from the Asclepiusshow so evident a connection


betweenAgrippa and hermetism that we can assert that Victor'saspi-
ration is under the influenceof hermetism.Agrippa isa philosopher to
whom Victor has committed himself,
and there isa reflection of Agrippa's

philosophyupon Victor's mind. Thus we can findechoes of hermetismin


Victor's aspirations.

Let us examine a furtherrelationship between Victor'screation and


hermetism.In hisearly youth Victor indulged in the imaginative world of

Agrippa and hiscompanB then tried to produce the elixir of life,


and then

strived to manipulate a principleof life.Thistransition, fromindulgingin


mere speculation to performing scientific experiments and magical mira-
cles, should be viewed in terms of the operation of the will. Yates says,
"[The
ancient Greeks]didnot to operate. They regarded
want operations

as baseand mechanical, a degeneration


fromthe only occupation worthy
of the dignityof man, pure rational and philosophicalspeculation. . . .

real function
[T]he of Renaissancemagus
the . . . isthat he changed the

will. Itwas now dignified


and important forman to operate; itwas also

religious and not contrary to the will of God that man . . . should exert

hispowers" (YZites 174-75).In the midst of the shifts from theoreti-


`[the

cal to the practical" in the historyof thought, Renaissance magic played


an important role in about fundamentalchanges in the human
"bringing

outlook" (Ylites 174).Ylites places an emphasis on the Renaissance ma-

gus, since he embodies man's capacity to operate hisown will. Through


magic he triesto change the world and manipulate itssystem. This at-
titude was triggered by the philosophy of Hermetica, and Yates cleverly
calls this emotional drivingforcethe impulse" ('Iiates 175).
"Hermetic

When we view the changes in Victor's attitude from


"the
theoretical to
the practical"in terms of the human will, we can see that they are paral-
lelto the shifts of the human attitude towards the will in key historical
phases.As Hermetic impulse" droveman
"the
apply knowledge to "to

produce operations" (Ybtes 174) inmagic, science, and religiositM so this


impulseforcesVictorto aspire to create lifeand to realize hisdesignby

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directing
hisown will towards the world, that is,through magical and
scientific operation.
"[Hermes]
remained the same in essence throughout. Each appear-

ance was taken from the cosmogony of the time; each was a transforma-

tion of a continuing body of


ideas"(Tiuveson 2S5).Tb conclude, I
root

think that the hermetictradition, whether directly or indirectly,is inher-


ited in Frankenstein.Driven by his enthusiasm for natural philosophM
Victor rushes to hisruin. His destinyissuggestive of the Romantic myth
of creation and destruction. VCJithhishermeticquest forknowledge and
powe4 hisapplause for man's creativitM and hisinclinationtowards al-
chemy and magic to transmute the world, Victorexemplifies the hermetic
imagination. We can say that Victor's impulse"<F33) that ruled "fatal

hislife isthe impulse"(Yates


"Hermetic
175).In Frankensteinwe can see
the essence of hermetism and hereitsroot ideasare embodied strikingly
amongst the various other appearances throughout the Romantic period.

(Graduate
Student of Tbkyo Metropolitan University)

This isa revised version ef the paper read at the 58th Kyushu EnglishLiterary
SocietyMeeting.

Notes
i Crosbie Smith, Natural Magic," Frankenstein,
"Frankenstein
andCrea-
tion and Monstrosity, ed. StephenBann (London: Reaktion,1994) 59.
2
In this papeg I use the term instead ef fol-
"hermetism" "hermeticism,"

lowing RoelofVan Den Broek,who uses the term to indicatethe


"hermetism"

specific religious worldview of the so-called philosophical Hermetica.Roelof


V2n Den Broek, Dictionary ofGnosis
"Hermetism,"
(tvNP2istern
Esotericism,ed.
Wouter J.Hanegraaff,vol. 2 (Leiden; Brill, 200S) 559.Hereafter cited as Broek.
3
Johanna M. Smith, Critical Historyof Frankenstein,"Frankenstein,ed.
`CA

Johanna M. Smith, 2nd ed. (Boston: Bedford, 2000) 247.


4
Mary ShelleB Ficine"1835, Mary SheUey'sLiteraryLivesand
"Marsiglio

Other IX?7itings, ed. Tilar J.Mazzeo, vol. 1 (London: Pickering,2002) 85.


S Frances Yhtes, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic [Ibeadition, 1964 (Lon-
don: Routledge, 2002) 3. Hereafter cited as Yates.
6 Hermes MercuriusTrismegistus, TZ7eDivine Pymander of Hermes MeF
curius Ti'ismegistus, in XVII Books, 7}'anslated FormerlyOut of the Arabic into
Greek,and thenceintoLatine,and Dutch, and Now Out of the Originatinto
Engtish;by Doctor [IohnJ Everard, London, 1650.

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Frankensteinand Hermetism 39

7 Antoine Faivre, LiteratureIV: Renaissance-Present,"Diction-


"Hermetic

ary ofGnosis Esotericism,ed. Wouter J.Hanegraaff, vol. 1 (Leiden:


clrNX7lestern
Brill, 2005) 538.Hereaftercited as Faivre.
8
ErnestLee the Avatarsof 7-1irice GreatHermes; An APPToach to
rlbveson,

Romanticism (London: Associated Ue 1982) 12. Hereafter cited as TUveson.


9
PeterVermon, Scienceand Electricity,"
"Frankenstein:
Etudes Anglaises
50.3 (1997): 271.
iO
Mary ShelleBFranfeenstein; on the Modern Promethe"s,the 1818 text, ed.

JamesRieger(Chicago: U of Chicago e 1982) 33. Hereaftercited as F.


ii
Mary ShelleMFrankenstein: oag the Modern Prometheus,the 1831 text, ed.
M. K. Joseph (Oxford: Oxford Ug 1998)40. Hereaftercited as Fl831.
gratefulto Professor ShoichiYamauchi forhisvaluabie com-
i2 I arn very

ments on the relationship between the 1831 edition and Romanticism.


i3
Hermes Trismegistus, Hermetica:the Ancient Greek and Latin SX77itings
which ContainReligiousor Philosophic [lleaching Ascribedto Hermes [l-beismegis-
tus, 1924,ed. and trans. Walter Scott(Boston: Shambhala, 1993) 289. Hereafter
cited as H. In this paper I use this Englishtext translated byWL Scottforthe main
text of the Hermetica. Considering the criticism of Scott's textual emendation
and textual insight by BrianR Copenhaver and Roelof VlinDen Broek, I collated
this Englishtext translated by WL Scottwith the Latintext in Scott's edition,
the French text edited by A. D. Nock and translated by A-J.Festugiere(Her-
mbs Trism6giste,Corpus Hermeticum, trans. Andre-JeanFestugiere, ed. Arthur
Darby Nock, 4 vols [Paris: Les BellesLettres,2002]), the English text translated
by BrianR Copenhaver (Hermes Tleismegistus, Hermetica, 1992, trans. Brian R
Copenhaver [Cambridge: Cambridge Ue 2000I)and the Japanese text translated
by SasaguAraiand Yu Shibata(Hermes Ttrismegistus,
T!,eCorpus Hermeticum,
trans. Sasagu Arai and YU Shibata[Ibkyo: Asahi Shuppansha, 1993]), which
doesnot treat the Asclepius, as well as the English text by E Yates(Frances Yates,
Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic 7>'adition, 1964 [London: Routledge, 2002]),
which contains a partof the Hermetica.
i4
Urs Leo Grantenbein, DictionaryofGnosis cb"IVestern
"Paracelsus,"
Eso-
tericism, ed. Wouter J.Hanegraaff,vol. 2 (Leiden: Brill,2005) 924-27.
iS CIaireFangeg Magnus," Dictionary ofGnosis
"Albertus
ts Ivaistern Eso-
tericism, ed. WouterJ, Hanegraaff,vol. 1 (Leiden: Brill,2005) 9-12.
i6
Samuel H. VasbindegScientific Attitudesin Mary Shelleyls Frankenstein,
1976 (Michigan: UMI, 1984) 60.
i7
Carl Gustav Jung, Psychologyand Alchemy, trans. R. E C. Hull,2nd ed.
(Princeton: PrincetonUP, 1993) 222-23.
i8
Mario Praz, Essay" 1968, TZ7reeGothic Novels,ed. Peyer
"Introductory

Fairclough (Harmondsworth: Penguin,1975) 25.

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40Chieko TANAKA

H. IrvingBuchen,"Frankenstein
i9
and the Alchemy of Creationand Evolu-
tion," T)heWordsworth Circle 8 (1977): 111.
20
Burton R. Pollin, LiterarySourcesof Frankenstein,"
"Philosophical
and

ComparativeLiterature xvii (1965): 102.Hereaftercited as Pollin.


2i Ovid, Metamorphoses II,trans. Frank Justus Milleg 3rd ed. (London:
Harvard Ue 1984) 102. Hereafter cited as Ovid.
22
Mary ShelleBtheJournalsofMary Shelley; 1814-1844, ed. R R. Feldman
and D. Scott-Kilvert (Baltimore: JohnsHopkins UR 1955) 73.
23
Marilyn Butleg "Frankenstein
and Radical Science"1993, Franfeenstein,
ed. J.PaulHunter (New Ybrk: Norton, 1996) 302-13.
24
Eugenio Garin, Philosopher and the Magus," RenaissanceCharac-
C`The

ters, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane,ed. Eugenio Garin (Chicago: U of Chicago U


1991) 146. Hereaftercited as Garin.
25
Norma Rowen, Making of Frankenstein'sMonster:Post-Golem,Pre-
"The

Rebot," Tllpe Stateof the Fantastic:Studiesin the T)beoryand Practice of Fantas-


tic Literatureand Film,ed. NicholasRuddick (London: Greenwood, 1992) 146.
Hereafter cited as Rowen.
Afterhavingcoliating the text by Scott with the French text by A. D. Nock
26
'lrlates,
and A-J.Festugiere and the Engtish text by E and the text in Latinin
Scott'sedition, I determinedto use herethe text translated by Yates. In this pas-
sage Scottclearly oversimplifies histranslation, which can be said an error in
translation.
27
According Suehiro Tlanemura,the "[a]rcherype" One" in
"the
to means
the context of Neoplatonism.SuehiroTlanemura, Parafeerus"suno Sekai(Tbkyo:
Seidosha,1976) 125.
28
Henry Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim,TZ?reeBooks of OccultPhiloso-
phy, 1651, trans. JamesFreake, ed. Donald Tlyson(St. Paul:Llewellyn,2005)
404. Hereafter cited as Agrippa.

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