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“’Vaulted Over by the Present’: Melancholy and Sovereignty in Mary Shelley’s The Last Man” by Jonathan Elmer

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Brief OverviewEdit

This article discusses how Mary Shelley approaches the problems of race, empire and historical melancholy to create a commentary on ‘the volatile isomorphism of imperium and the individual in the romantic politics we still inhabit.” (355). Jonathan Elmer argues that “The novel is less a critique of romanticism's commitment to the sovereign self than an attempt to follow the logic of that commitment to its conclusion: one has the sense of a woman gritting her teeth and seeing things through to the end (356). The examples of race, imperialism, sovereignty, and sovereignty are used to point out the inadequacy of romantic ideals.

Extended commentary can be found here.

Works Cited Edit

Elmer, Jonathan. "'Vaulted Over by the Present': Melancholy and Sovereignty in Mary Shelley's The Last Man". Novel 42.2 (2009): 355-359. Web.

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