History of Medicine
Poor, Helpless, Miserable Wretch
Madness, or A Man Bound with Chains. Artist unknown. Photographic reproduction from an illustration from Sir Charles Bell (1774-1842), Essays on the Anatomy of Expression in Painting, 1806. National Library of Medicine Collection
But where were my friends and relations? No father had watched my infant days, no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses; or if they had, all my past life was now a blot, a blind vacancy in which I distinguished nothing. From my earliest remembrance I had been as I then was in height and proportion. I had never yet seen a being resembling me. . . . What was I?
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, 1818
Mary Shelley gave her monster feelings and intelligence. Fatherless and motherless, the monster struggles to find his place in human society, struggles with the most fundamental questions of identity and personal history. Alone, he learns to speak, to read, and to ponder "his accursed origins." All the while, he suffers from the loneliness of never seeing anyone resembling himself.