The following is an extract from Frankenstein. What does the "habits" in "returned to my old habits" mean? It does not seem to refer to habits like drinking, staying up late, etc. If it refers to something else, how would you express the idea in current English?

Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil, as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave, or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay? My limbs now tremble, and my eyes swim with the remembrance; but then a resistless, and almost frantic, impulse, urged me forward; I seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit. It was indeed but a passing trance, that only made me feel with renewed acuteness so soon as, the unnatural stimulus ceasing to operate, I had returned to my old habits.


In this case, "habits" is probably using the definition of "a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior". Once this trance that led to him creating the Creature had passed, he returned to his normal way of life, and he was acutely aware of what it was that he had been doing, now making his limbs tremble and eyes swim as he thinks back on it.

If you wanted a slightly more colloquial interpretation:
".... I had returned to my usual routine."

  • Could it refer to his usual state of mind? – Apollyon Jul 1 '20 at 12:12
  • That is possible. But usually "habits" refers to thinks that you do. – Sean Duggan Jul 1 '20 at 12:16
  • The M-W dictionary has the following sense for "habit": the prevailing disposition or character of a person's thoughts and feelings : mental makeup – Apollyon Jul 1 '20 at 12:25
  • Fair enough. I could see that interpretation as well. – Sean Duggan Jul 1 '20 at 12:28

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