Date Thesis Awarded

5-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

English

Advisor

Deborah Denenholz Morse

Committee Members

Kim Wheatley

Simon Joyce

Leisa Meyer

Abstract

This thesis examines how architectures (both literal and metaphorical) in Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) serve to mediate or express homoerotic desire in late-Victorian London. Through an examination of the novel's urban setting, its formal structures, and Stevenson's own architectural history, the thesis tracks an emergence in the fin de siècle of the homosexual as an identity category in an iconic literary work that predates the Oscar Wilde trials (1895). The novel's queer coterie of professional men and Dr. Jekyll's carefully structured home are explored as failed strategies to contain Edward Hyde's visible and often violent homosexuality, and Stevenson is situated within a queer artistic milieu through analysis of John Singer Sargent's Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife (1885). Additionally, Jekyll and Hyde is considered within its historical contexts of the Labouchère Amendment, Victorian dandyism, and degeneration theory. Ultimately, the thesis offers a more hopeful reading of the novel as it relates to the formation of queer identities in the late Victorian Era.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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