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Invasions and Inversions: Representations of Otherness in the Writings of Bram Stoker

NEWMAN, ROSALIND (2018) Invasions and Inversions: Representations of Otherness in the Writings of Bram Stoker. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Bram Stoker has long been defined by a single text: Dracula. The elements that drove this unparalleled success – foremost among them a perverse interest in ‘otherness’ – frequently manifest in Stoker’s other works, however. Building on the exemplary writings of Stokerian scholars such as William Hughes and David Glover, this study aims to expand its literary horizons, providing a comprehensive look at depictions of otherness across the author’s entire literary canon.
This study finds its focal point in the twin faces of invasion and inversion. Within these terms are encapsulated many meanings: the balance of what is ‘out there’ and what is ‘in here,’ of what is trying to get out and what is trying to get in, of that which is on the surface and that which resides beneath. This thesis draws on all manner of Stoker’s work – novels, short stories, and non-fiction work – to map the author’s perception of otherness. And although the study may be anchored by region, the ‘representations of otherness’ extend far beyond geographical concerns: the ‘foreignness’ that so unsettles Stoker is far-reaching, often being tied up in wider questions of gendered, religious, or sexual otherness.
This thesis forges a connection between a preoccupation with otherness and the author’s own complex national identity, identifying a distinct literary persona created as a form of camouflage. Stoker’s hegemonic performance allows him to engage with questions of otherness from a place of assumed safety, ostensibly identifying as a member of a perceived elite – yet it is doomed to remain incomplete. At heart, Stoker knows the divisions he propagates to be false constructs; after all, he has manipulated them himself in the creation of his authorial persona. For Stoker the true horror exists in his interior: not what is ‘out there’ trying to get in, but what is ‘in here’ trying to get out.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Bram Stoker; otherness; alterity; hegemony; national identity; 'Dracula'; 'The Jewel of Seven Stars'; 'The Lair of the White Worm'; 'The Snake's Pass'; 'A Glimpse of America'; 'The Mystery of the Sea'; 'The Lady of the Shroud'
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:12 Sep 2018 15:27

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