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Labyrinths of DeceitCulture, Modernity and Identity in the Nineteenth Century$
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Richard J. Walker

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780853238492

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846315404

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.29) Introduction
Source:
Labyrinths of Deceit
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846315404.002

The status of the body and the nature of consciousness and identity emerged as important themes in nineteenth-century England as industrialisation gave rise to an increasingly mechanised way of life. This section explores the phenomenon of split personality in the nineteenth century as well as doubling and duality in Victorian literature. It analyses duality in the context of the fragmentation of identity, including its causes and symptoms, and how discussions of culture led to the emergence of self-division during the period. It also looks at degeneration theory and criminality before concluding with a discussion of three Gothic literary texts: James Hogg's The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824), Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), and Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891).

Keywords:   Robert Louis Stevenson, split personality, doubling, duality, identity, Oscar Wilde, self-division, degeneration theory, criminality, James Hogg

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