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"Forms of Some Intenser Life": Genre and Imperialism at the Turn of the Century

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Title: "Forms of Some Intenser Life": Genre and Imperialism at the Turn of the Century
Author(s): Jernigan, Brandon
Director of Research: Valente, Joseph
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Valente, Joseph
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Esty, Jed; Goodlad, Lauren; Hansen, Jim
Department / Program: English
Discipline: English
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Imperialism Genre Novel Insurgency Weird Fiction Conrad, Joseph Wells, H. G. Stoker, Bram Blackwood, Algernon
Abstract: My dissertation establishes a critical dialogue between two distinct phenomena at the turn of the twentieth century: first, the exponential growth and mercurial nature of novelistic genres and, secondly, the emergence of modern global consciousness. Experimentations with genre, I argue, allowed writers to develop new narrative forms capable of representing an increasingly global, interdependent, and actively anti- imperialist world. Thus, this project specifically addresses late-nineteenth- and early- twentieth-century fiction that participates in or combines multiple genres, including Joseph Conrad’s The Nigger of the “Narcissus” and The Inheritors (with Ford Madox Ford), H. G. Wells’s Tono-Bungay, Bram Stoker’s The Snake’s Pass, and Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows.” This concentration of generic discontinuities not only demonstrates genre’s formal instability but also its inability to function as a symbolic solution to the real socio-economic contradictions of empire. While these texts reflect the stress-fractures of expanding imperial sovereignty, they can hardly be read as outright critiques of imperial rule. Instead, they operate dialectically. They are unstable yet flexible. Though discontinuous texts thwart generic expectations, they also offer systems of flexibility that express and potentially manage imperial crises.
Issue Date: 2011-01-14
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/18242
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Brandon Jernigan
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-01-14
Date Deposited: December 2
 

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