AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

The Gothic novel & the formation of a British national identity

by Katarina Myrsveen

Institution: University of Oslo
Year: 1000
Keywords: VDP::020
Record ID: 1279880
Full text PDF: https://www.duo.uio.no/handle/10852/25485



British national identity was in the process of being defined around the turn of the 19th century, and as the British Empire stretched over oceans and continents, the need to define an essential [ ] [national] character became more and more pressing. (Halberstam 1995: 16) Undesirable foreignness and undesirable versions of Britishness were therefore employed to define a British Identity. As a result, [n]on-nationals came to be increasingly identified by their alien natures and the concept of foreign became ever more closely associated with a kind of parasitical monstrosity, a non-reproductive sexuality, and an [ ] [anti-national] character. (Halberstam 1995: 16) The shaping and articulation of an ideal British identity is thus carried out by way of contrast and distancing, and the image of the ideal Briton is defined against that which it is not, whether the process involves political, religious, or ideological issues. In this thesis, my aim is to explore and understand how Gothic writers contributed to the shaping of a British national identity, and I have chosen three novels to assist me: The Monk (1796) by Matthew G. Lewis, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) by James Hogg and Dracula (1897) by Bram (Abraham) Stoker.