Picturing “Female Followers of Mahomet” as “Veiled Maids”: Muslim Women and the Victim/Seductress Binary in Frankenstein and “Alastor”

Sauleha Kamal, University of Cambridge


This paper focuses on the portrayal of the East, and especially of Muslim women, in two texts from the Romantic period that travel across various countries in their narratives: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818) and Percy Shelley’s “Alastor: Or, the Spirit of Solitude” (1816). It compares the victim/seductress binary as it relates to the Muslim women in these texts. Cognizant of an Orientalist pre-history, this paper argues that the representations of Muslim women in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Percy Shelley’s “Alastor" reflect what it terms the “victim/seductress binary” whereby Muslim women are ascribed to either the victim or seductress role.


Orient; Woman; East; binary

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