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Title: Writing the national self : Bram Stoker's Dracula and Anglo-Irish Gothic identities
Author: Horgan, Sarah
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis announces the special relationship that Bram Stoker's masterpiece Dracula has to its creator, taking as its focal point the startling textual reflection of Stoker's own hybridised national identity as Anglo-lrish emigré in his vampire Count. Using this paired relationship between author and antagonist as its base, it thereby proposes an original reading of the novel as a work of imaginative autobiography, as a fictional rendering of the realities of Stoker's own fragmented national existence in fin-de-siècle London, positioning Dracula as a novel that deeply engages with the complexity of its author's national identity and the place of this national self in his writing. By their very nature, discussions of nationality are articulated in the interaction between the individual and the community that constitutes the nation. Stoker's own lived experiences in London provide the immediate context for the exploration of such concerns in Dracula, but these are experiences shaped by his particular status as an Anglo-Irish writer in the metropolis. Dracula is therefore first positioned in this work as the product of a historical tradition of Anglo-Irish writing long invested in the complications of national affiliation, something that Chapters One and Two explore, interrogating in the process how the legacy of writers such as Maria Edgeworth, Charles Robert Maturin and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu forms the foundations of Stoker's work. Chapter Three considers in detail how it is Stoker's migrant status that serves as a keystone in this thesis' reading of Dracula by exploring the (Anglo-) Irish migrant experience in Victorian London. Chapter Four deals with the nineteenth-century literary vampire, and asks what such a motif might offer a writer like Stoker seeking to give authentic textual life to his sense of national displacement. Chapter Five reveals the centrality of ideas of writing the (national) self in external perceptions of Stoker and in Stoker's own non-fictional work. Finally, Chapter Six completes a reading of Dracula as imaginative autobiography, as a sustained literary engagement with conflicted national identity that proves illuminating of both Stoker and the class that shaped him and his most famous literary endeavour.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available