How does M. Waldman react when he hears the names of Agrippa and Paracelsus?

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MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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M. Waldman is the kinder, gentler of Victor's professors. Where Krempe is described as gruff and condescending, Waldman aims to guide Victor towards modern chemistry by establishing the ancient authors as the foundation of study. Victor remarks that Waldman "smiled" at the names of the ancient writers, but "without the contempt" with which Krempe dismissed Victor's interests. Waldman tells Victor:

These were men to whose indefatigable zeal modern philosophers were indebted for most of the foundations of their knowledge. They had left to us, as an easier task, to give new names and arrange in connected classifications the facts which they in a great degree had been the instruments of bringing to light. The labours of men of genius, however erroneously directed, scarcely ever fail in ultimately turning to the solid advantage of mankind.

This little speech may have had a profound effect on Victor.
He often justifies his exploits in creating his monster by touting the contributions he may make to science and life in general. So, the idea that "erroneously directed" tasks may still influence the course of knowledge seems to have impacted Victor's thinking.

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beccstar | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

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He heard with attention the little narration concerning my studies, and smiled at the names of Cornelius Agrippa and Paracelsus, but without the contempt that M. Krempe had exhibited. He said, that "these were men to whose indefatigable zeal modern philosophers were indebted for most of the foundations of their knowledge. They had left to us, as an easier task, to give new names, and arrange in connected classifications, the facts which they in a great degree had been the instruments of bringing to light. The labours of men of genius, however erroneously directed, scarcely ever fail in ultimately turning to the solid advantage of mankind.

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