Ragnok in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Revenge of the Hrimthursar

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In April 1815, a volcano on the Indonesian island of Tambora erupted, devastating that region and causing a major climate change: 1816 was known in across the Atlantic as the “year without a summer.” While many scholars have interpreted the notorious weather of that year as the catalyst for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, scholars are only beginning to examine the depth to which that weather penetrated her work. This paper explores the ways that Victor Frankenstein’s creature resembles a Norse weather monster, an Hrimthursar or a frost giant, and examines Shelley’s distinctive message about the trauma of “a year without a summer.”