Publication Date

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


English and Comparative Literature


Katherine D. Harris


Hybridity, Imperial Gothic, Imperialism, Language, Postcolonial, Reverse Colonialism

Subject Areas

British and Irish literature; Language


By the last two decades of the nineteenth century, Great Britain led the European contest for imperial dominion and successfully extended its influence throughout Africa, the Americas, South East Asia, and the Pacific. National pride in the world's leading empire, however, was laced with an increasing anxiety regarding the unbridled frontier and the hybridization of Englishness and the socio-ethnic and cultural Other. H. Rider Haggard's She, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Richard Marsh's The Beetle, three Imperial Gothic novels, personify the monstrosity of hybridity in antagonists who embody multiple races and cultures. Moreover, as representatives of various ancient empires, these characters reveal the fragile nature of imperial power that is anchored in the conception of human and cultural evolution.

Hybridity works to disrupt the fragile web of power structures that maintain imperial dominance and create a fissure in the construct of Britain's national identity. Yet, the novels ultimately contain the invasion narrative by circulating power back to the English characters through the hybrid, polyglot, and metamorphosing English language by which the enemy is disoriented and re-rendered as Other. Using New Historicist and Postcolonial theories, this work examines the aporia of linguistic hybridity used to overcome the threat of racial and cultural hybridity as it is treated in Haggard, Stoker, and Marsh's novels.