Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Virtue of SympathyMagic, Philosophy, and Literature in Seventeenth-Century England$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Seth Lobis

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300192032

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300192032.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use (for details see www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 25 September 2018

Hawthorne’s Digby and Mary Shelley’s Milton

Hawthorne’s Digby and Mary Shelley’s Milton

(p.313) Coda: Hawthorne’s Digby and Mary Shelley’s Milton
Virtue of Sympathy

Seth Lobis

Yale University Press

The Coda extends a key argument of the book—that older natural and natural-magical traditions of sympathy continued to overlap and interact with moral traditions—into the nineteenth century. It shows that Mary Shelley and Nathaniel Hawthorne engaged energetically with earlier representations of sympathy and in particular with those of John Milton and Sir Kenelm Digby. In Frankenstein, Shelley recalls and refers to Milton’s account of sympathy in Paradise Lost as a creaturely phenomenon. She suggests that an occult sympathy exists between Victor Frankenstein and his creature, even as both characters struggle to find true compassion and companionship in society. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne casts Roger Chillingworth as a Digbeian man of science and develops an analogous occult sympathy between his other two principal characters, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale. The scarlet letter localizes the power of sympathy, and the novel as a whole turns on a magical idea of action at a distance. The Coda’s two readings demonstrate that novelistic sympathy is not merely a moral matter between characters or between authors and readers but also a complex negotiation between the natural and the moral and between past and present; the magic of sympathy endured.

Keywords:   Mary Shelley, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Frankenstein, The Scarlet Letter, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Sir Kenelm Digby, Sympathy, Novel

Yale Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.