• LiminAnimal: The Monster in Late Victorian Gothic Fiction

    Author(s):
    Mario Ortiz-Robles (see profile)
    Date:
    2015
    Group(s):
    CLCS Romantic and 19th-Century, GS Prose Fiction, Late-Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century English Literature, Prospective Forum: TC Animal Studies
    Subject(s):
    British literature, Literary theory, Literature and science
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    19th Century, animal studies, dehumanization, gothic literature, performativity
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6SS4Q
    Abstract:
    The animal characteristics of the monster in late Victorian gothic fiction make visible the biopolitical rationalisation of life in modern societies. Key moments in Bram Sto- ker’s Dracula and R.L. Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde provide evidence for the animality of late Victorian gothic monsters. In an extended reading of Richard Marsh’s 1897 novel The Beetle, this essay shows how the liminality of the monster in late Victorian gothic fiction is rhetorically articulated as a figural aberration that can only be reabsorbed into the dominant discourse by the use of animal imagery. In the face of ever more sophisticated calculations concerning populations in the nineteenth century, Victorians’ increased awareness of humans’ animality as Darwin’s theory of evolution became culturally assimilated allowed this transformation to be encoded as a biological mutation. The monster’s status as a limi- nal creature that occupies an indeterminate zone between human and animal draws attention to biopower’s dividing practices, which create social categories, such as race, that come to be understood as biological classifications.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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