The Formation of Separatism in Shelley's The Last Man

A Struggle to Overcome the "Primitive" and Live in a World of the Abject

  • Mikayla Davis


In an analysis of Mary Shelley’s The Last Man, this essay focuses on the impact of the plague
on society's mentality and function. The plague, explained as a manifestation of the
“primitive” and the abject—based on the concepts of Douglas and Kristeva—leads to social
separatism, dystopia, and moral regression. Paired with analysis of language and the
character Adrian, the essay concludes that Shelley’s greatest warning is against the
objectifying of humanity as potential abjections.

How to Cite
Davis, M. (2019). The Formation of Separatism in Shelley’s The Last Man. Digital Literature Review, 6, 54-62. Retrieved from