George Grinnell explores “the relationship between Aesthetic representations of the nation’s well-being and the corporeal nature of sickness” as part of a larger study of how Britain perceived and documented the spread of diseases that crossed the national and geographical boundaries of the British Empire primarily through the lenses of hypochondria. Throughout the course of his analysis, Grinnell examines textual examples of individual and national well-being in tandem with their biographical/historical influences. Ultimately, Grinnell comes to the conclusion that “The Last Man recognizes that the representation of disease is the risk upon which a critical politics of health are founded: in the end, well-being cannot be divorced from the body any more than the presence of the body can be imagined without abstraction.” (119)
Grinnell, George. "Phantom Memory: Nation and the Absent Body of Idealism in Mary Shelley's The Last Man." The Age of Hypochondria n.v n.n (2010): 85-119. Web.