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The "Nightmare" of Collecting Egyptian Antiquities in Late-Victorian Gothic Fiction

  • Author / Creator
    Dyrda, Leigh
  • This dissertation examines a selection of Gothic fiction published in Britain between roughly 1880 and 1910 that portrays the collection of Egyptian antiquities. Using the methodologies of new historicism, Gothic literary criticism, and critical museum studies, I argue that these late-Victorian representations of collecting Egyptian objects dramatize displaced cultural anxiety about the Empire during the phase of New Imperialism. The mummies and antiquities in these texts are threatening, supernaturally live, and dangerous; I read their violence against British collectors and museums as a strategy of negotiating late-century imperial anxiety about the longevity of Britain’s Empire and the strength of “Britishness” as represented through Gothic house-museums, knowledge production, immunity to foreign “contagion,” and sexual dominance and “purity.” Ultimately, I suggest, these texts together demonstrate an intense fictional expression of Victorian cultural disenchantment.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2012-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R31D22
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Department of English and Film Studies
  • Specialization
    • Victorian Literature
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Sinnema, Peter (English and Film Studies)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Bruhm, Steven (Western University)
    • Burch, Robert (Philosophy)
    • Binhammer, Katherine (English and Film Studies)
    • Simpson, Mark (English and Film Studies)