Brian DeMars

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

English Language and Literature

Committee Member

Abby Coykendall, Ph.D, Chair

Committee Member

Elisabeth Däumer, Ph.D


The gothic novel’s emergence as a dominant genre in the 19th century is illustrative of a shift in popular ideology taking place in Western Europe during this period. Competing viewpoints, particularly between opposing classes, directly reflect the uncertainties, anxieties, and aspirations of a continent undergoing a significant transition. Because the gothic draws upon the tension between contending attitudes—spiritualism and secularism, realism and romanticism, nationalism and imperialism, and aristocratic and bourgeois—it exposes how ideology embedded in these concepts either adds to or detracts from the greater good of the community.

The technique of doubling is utilized to locate divergent ideologies and to demonstrate the complexity of reconciling them. The preferential treatment of middle-class values in the gothic helped shift mainstream conceptions of morality. In combination with contemporary critical theory, through the treatment of doubles, this thesis aims to address how the gothic influenced shifts in social and cultural trends.