This seminar will explore late nineteenth-century literary, journalistic, visual and (pseudo)-scientific representations of the metropolitan monster haunting the heart of the English nation, London, at the fin de siècle. For this purpose, we will be investigating the portrayal of this multifaceted figure in selected works of Late Victorian Urban Gothic, Scientific Romance and Detective Literature set either completely or partly in the English metropolis, such as works by Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson, H.G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle and L.T. Meade. We will place these literary texts in their wider historical and cultural context by examining the dominant discourses shaping society at the time as well as their expression in contemporary journalism, visual art, (pseudo)-scientific literature and advertisements. Key topics for class discussion will be the conflicting ways in which these texts engage with the established Victorian ideologies and social structures, with the reality of the fin de siècle atmosphere and late nineteenth-century urban life, and with contemporary attitudes to femininity/masculinity and gender relations against the backdrop of budding consumerism.
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