Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program


First Advisor

Aviva Briefel


This project examines Victorian England through the analysis of three Victorian gothic novels: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) and The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903/1912), and Richard Marsh’s The Beetle (1897). The end of the nineteenth century and the final years of the Victorian era brought with them fears and uncertainties about England’s role in the world and its future, fears that the Victorian gothic sought to grapple with, but inevitably failed to contain. In examining this genre, I draw on “Undisciplining Victorian Studies” (Chatterjee et al, 2020), which calls for the field of Victorian studies to center racial theory. As such, I foreground race and whiteness in these novels, in conjunction with animality, empire, and sexuality, all of which were crucial tools in the imperial gothic’s project of constructing the monstrous Other. The British empire relied on the establishment of a physical and moral boundary between itself and the colonized Other, in order to justify its imperialism and maintain its own perceived superiority. Yet, ultimately, this project demonstrates that the boundaries between the self and the Other, between morality and monstrosity, and between mainland England and its empire, were dangerously porous.