Mary Shelley’s ‘Romantic Spinozism’

History of European Ideas:1-18 (forthcoming)

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Abstract
ABSTRACT Mary Shelley (1797–1851) developed a ‘Romantic Spinozism’ from 1817 to 1848. This was a deterministic worldview that adopted an ethical attitude of love toward the world as it is, must be, and will be. Resisting the psychological despair and political inertia of fatalism, her ‘Romantic Spinozism’ affirmed the forward-looking responsibility of people to love their neighbors and sustain the world, including future generations, even in the face of seeming apocalypse. This history of Shelley’s reception of Spinoza begins with the fragment of the otherwise lost translation of the Theologico-Political Treatise (1670) on which she collaborated. It extends through her journals, letters, poetry, and her second great work of speculative fiction after Frankenstein (1818): a post-apocalyptic novel set in the year 2100, The Last Man (1826). Through a creative synthesis of Spinoza with Plato, Cicero, Wollstonecraft, and Glasite Christianity, Shelley developed an anti- apocalyptic conception of love as apocatastasis: a cyclical restoration of an ethical attitude of stewardship toward the whole world and its necessity. Through this recovery of a vital chapter in the history of European ideas, Shelley emerges as a central figure in Spinozan philosophy, especially the ethics and political philosophy of love.
Keywords Mary Shelley  Spinoza  Love  Apocalypse  Apocatastasis
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DOI 10.1080/01916599.2019.1664802
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References found in this work BETA

Spinoza.Gilles Deleuze - 1970 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 32 (1):122-123.
Pythagoreanism.Carl Huffman - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Spinoza's Concept of Mind.Thomas Carson Mark - 1979 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 17 (4):401-416.

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