June 2011, Encompass Editions released my first book, That Line of Darkness: The Shadow of Dracula and the Great War, the first of two volumes. I take as my starting point Gothic novels, most notably Bram Stoker's Dracula, Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray to explore the class, race and gender tensions in late nineteenth century Britain.
Drawing upon Gothic conventions—the demonization of the other, the use of the uncanny, psychic vampirism and the compulsion of blood purity or national purification—I draw connections between Dracula and Jack the Ripper, Robert Baden-Powell and Oscar Wilde, and among other linkages, the similarities between Dracula and an electrifying piece of journalism about underage girls lured into prostitution. Whereas, the first three sections of the book focus on the fin-de-siècle, Part Four illuminates the Great War and its aftermath through the prism of these Gothic conventions.Our understanding of war fantasies, national propaganda, the ghastly conditions of the trenches, the often barbaric treatment of emotionally-damaged soldiers and the power of spiritualism is enriched by examining them through Gothic filters. In sum, an exploration of the Gothic can be a valuable tool for offering fresh historical insights into the heated emotions generated by peace time controversies and the threads that connect them to the war.
|Picture of Dorian Gray
|The Island of Dr. Moreau
|Arthur Conan Doyle and wife at seance for their son