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2.21 - Gothic Imperialism at the Fin de siècle

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2020

Catherine Spooner
Affiliation:
Lancaster University
Dale Townshend
Affiliation:
Manchester Metropolitan University
Angela Wright
Affiliation:
University of Sheffield
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Summary

This chapter explores how the Gothic in the late nineteenth century can be related to the different imperial contexts of India, Egypt and America. It argues that it is important to acknowledge the specificity of different colonialisms in order to situate the Gothic of the period and to understand its political complexity. The ghost stories of Rudyard Kipling, for example, challenge many of the colonial contexts that they ostensibly work within; in turn, Kipling’s ambivalent account of India reflects a politically conflicted view of British colonialism. Colonial ambivalence is also clear in the context of Britain’s seemingly illegitimate occupation of Egypt during the period. A number of mummy stories by Grant Allen, Eva M. Henry, Arthur Conan Doyle and Kate and Hesketh Prichard, which explore this specific colonial context, are discussed. The chapter concludes with an account of Bram Stoker’s change in attitude towards America as the country becomes increasingly cast as a colonial threat in Dracula (1897) and The Lady of the Shroud (1909).

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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