In Frankenstein, how does Victor find out about Cornelius Agrippa?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Victor Frankenstein, the protagonist of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, comes to find a book written by Cornelius Agrippa when on holiday with his family in Thonon (a town in the south-eastern part of France). Forced indoors by inclement weather, Victor finds the works of Agrippa on the bookshelf at the inn the family is staying at. Intrigued by science, Victor read the book and spoke to his father about his enjoyment of the man. Alphonse, Victor's father, was not as excited about Agrippa. Since its completion, Agrippa's findings had been found to be "entirely exploded," given the ancient nature of Agrippa's works. Victor's, instead of putting the author down, "first care was to procure the whole works of this author."

Below is a link for Enotes' page on Agrippa.

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thetall | (Level 3) Educator

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In the beginning of the chapter (II) where Victor first encountered Cornelius Agrippa, he described his association with Elizabeth and his personal disposition to pursuing knowledge. Victor was fueled by the need to decipher the world which according to him was a secret. He was curious to understand the deeper meaning of his environment and life in general. Further, Victor introduced Henry Clerval, who would later be killed by Victor’s creation. Victor goes to describe their close friendship. Victor affirmed that his pursuit of knowledge was skewed towards understanding the metaphysical. In this regard, he stated how he ended up pursuing natural philosophy, and how that particular pursuit was the beginning of his woes.

When he was thirteen, Victor and his family visited the baths near Thonon. They were confined to the inn because of bad weather, and it was while staying at the inn that he came across works by Cornelius Agrippa. This started him off on his journey through science and mysticism associated with natural philosophy as studied by the likes of Cornelius.

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