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Mirroring masculinity Violence in the Victorian double

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Description: In late-Victorian literature, the double proliferated in response to concerns with identity in an increasingly fluid urban dynamic. In this paper, I focus on anxieties regarding masculine identity by showing how the double in Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray represents middle and upper-class men as hypocritical and unable to moderate their aggressive impulses to their society's repressive standards. I argue that the double in these texts exposes inner conflict as a stage for cultural anxieties that would otherwise be hidden or contained by normalizing ideology, amplifying the reflexivity of self and culture by drawing attention to the self as represented in art and discourse, constructed on a discursive level. Utilizing self-reflexive modes of discourse, such as the mode of the gaze, these texts operate to deconstruct masculinity, at the same time they offer portraits of man as essentially brutish and violent.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work