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dc.contributor.advisorO'Hara, Daniel T.
dc.creatorRenye, Jeffrey Michael
dc.date.accessioned2020-11-02T14:46:51Z
dc.date.available2020-11-02T14:46:51Z
dc.date.issued2012
dc.identifier.other864885805
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/2230
dc.description.abstractFrom the late Victorian period to the early twentieth century, Arthur Machen's life and his writing provide what Deleuze and Guattari argue to be the value of the minor author: Contemporary historical streams combine in Machen's fiction and non-fiction. The concerns and anxieties in the writing reflect developments in their times, and exist amid the questions incited by positivist science, sexological studies, and the dissemination and popularity of Darwin's theories and the interpretations of Social Darwinism: What is the integrity of the human body, and what are the relevance and varieties of spiritual belief. The personal and the social issues of materiality and immateriality are present in the choice of Machen's themes and the manner in which he expresses them. More specifically, Machen's use of place and his interest in numinosity, which includes the negative numinous, are the twining forces where the local and the common, and the Ideal and the esoteric, meet. His interest in Western esotericism is important because of the Victorian occult revival and the ritual magic groups' role in the development of individual psychic explorations. Occultism and the formation of ritual magic groups are a response to deep-seated cultural concerns of industrialized, urban modernity. Within the esoteric traditions, the Gnostic outlook of a fractured creation corresponds to the cosmogony of a divided cosmos and the disjointed realities that are found in Machen's late-Victorian literary horror and supernatural fiction. The Gnostic microcosm, at the local level, and the mesocosm, at the intermediary position, are at a remove from the unified providence of the greater macrocosm. The content of the texts that I will analyze demonstrates Machen's interest in the divided self (with inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson), and those texts consider the subject of non-normative sexuality and its uncanny representations, natural and urban, as a horror that is attractive and abject--a source of fascination and a cause of disgust. The view that I state is that Machen wrote late-Victorian, post-Romantic Gothic literature that is not dependent upon either the cares of Decadence for artificiality or the disavowal of Gnosticism of the worth of mortal life and experiences in the material world. Machen's outlook is similar to Hermeticism, and like the Hermeticists he enjoyed many of the pleasures available in the world and in the narratives of ecstatic wonder that he found: the power of archetypal myth and local lore; good food and drink; travel between country and city; and close associations with friends and family, modest in number and rich in quality. The Great God Pan, The Three Impostors, or, The Transmutations, "The White People," and the autobiographies Far Off Things and Things Near and Far are the primary sources in my study. The enchantment of place and the potential and active horrors of the countryside and the city of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods inform Arthur Machen's life and his literary world. The influence of Machen's childhood in his native county of Gwent, in South Wales, and his adult residency in everywhere from low-rent to more-desirable areas of London feature prominently in two volumes of his fiction, which appeared in the influential Keynotes Series published by John Lane's Bodley Head Press in the 1890s: The Great God Pan and the Inmost Light (1894), and The Three Impostors, or, The Transmutations (1895). Those works of fiction indicate a major pattern in Machen's outlook and imagination. For instance, the The Great God Pan presents Machen's late-Victorian re-invention of Pan, the classical rustic Arcadian god of Greek mythology. The Pan demon--or sinister Pan--evidences an aspect of threatening vitalistic nature that appears at the indefinite center of sexual concealment. Male characters act in secrecy by necessity due to the Labouchère Amendment to the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885. Machen uses the more beneficent, affirming aspects of the Pan figure for the short story "The White People" (1899) in the long middle section titled The Green Book. However, threats to female adolescence and sexual sovereignty, and contending principles of female and male energies, unpredictably strike through the more sinister and in the more beneficent of Machen's tales, which include the prose poems of Ornaments in Jade. These factors sometime destroy life, and seldom conceive or sustain its creation. Yet the presence of esoteric concepts in those same narratives offers non-rational alternatives to the attainment of gnosis. The Three Impostors, the second of Machen's Keynotes volumes, with its plot of conspiracies and dark secrets not only suggests Machen's interest in the criminal underworld and involvement with the ritual magic groups of the late-nineteenth century, but also his caution about the dark attraction of that glamour and how those occult groups and leaders operated. The Horos case and trial of 1901 and the Charles Webster Leadbeater scandal of 1906 provide support for Machen's circumspection. However, as a skeptic of the occult in practice, but as a reader and writer who had a deep interest in the esoteric as a subject of study, Machen's literary writing presents a variety of tensions between belief in the idealism of spiritual realities and the necessity for clear and grounded reason in consideration of preternatural phenomena. The interest in the abnormal functioning of bodies, a convention of Gothic fiction, appears in Machen's work in correspondence to the status of Sexology and the proliferation of studies of human sexuality in the late Victorian period. Especially important is the concept of sexual inversion, a term for homosexuality that was popularized in the works of the scientific researchers Richard von Krafft-Ebing, in Psychopathia Sexualis (1886), and Havelock Ellis, in Sexual Inversion (co-authored by John Addington Symonds), which is the first volume of Ellis's series Studies in the Psychology of Sex (1897). The final chapters of Machen's The Great God Pan are set in 1888 in London, and there is a direct reference to the White Chapel murders (i.e., the Ripper crimes). Therefore, I analyze Machen's fiction for its gendered focus on abhuman qualities, abnormal behavior, and violence: the abhuman as understood by Kelly Hurley, and violence in London as a version of Walkowitz's London as City of Dreadful Delight. Another historical context exists because the year before Machen finished the first chapter, "The Experiment," the Cleveland Street affair and its scandal occurred and included a royal intervention from the Prince of Wales to halt any prosecutions (1889). In The Great God Pan, Helen Vaughan, who passes from salons in Mayfair to houses of assignation in Soho, represents a dynamic, unified force of being and becoming that draws from and revises the multiple but fractured personality of Stevenson's Jekyll. Likewise, The Green Book girl in the short fiction "The White People" experiences a communion of gnosis that separates her from the social life and conditions of her father, a lawyer, and his middle class world of the British Empire's materialist legal structures. The esoteric and otherworldly, and the physical and material, combine, fragment, and transcend in the local world and the greater cosmos imagined by Arthur Machen.
dc.format.extent332 pages
dc.language.isoeng
dc.publisherTemple University. Libraries
dc.relation.ispartofTheses and Dissertations
dc.rightsIN COPYRIGHT- This Rights Statement can be used for an Item that is in copyright. Using this statement implies that the organization making this Item available has determined that the Item is in copyright and either is the rights-holder, has obtained permission from the rights-holder(s) to make their Work(s) available, or makes the Item available under an exception or limitation to copyright (including Fair Use) that entitles it to make the Item available.
dc.rights.urihttp://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
dc.subjectLiterature
dc.subjectBritish and Irish Literature
dc.subjectHistory
dc.subjectAlchemy
dc.subjectArthur Machen
dc.subjectEsotericism
dc.subjectMagic
dc.subjectSexology
dc.subjectThe Great God Pan
dc.titlePanic on the British Borderlands: The Great God Pan, Victorian Sexuality, and Sacred Space in the Works of Arthur Machen
dc.typeText
dc.type.genreThesis/Dissertation
dc.contributor.committeememberBrivic, Sheldon
dc.contributor.committeememberCaserio, Robert L.
dc.contributor.committeememberFord, Talissa
dc.description.departmentEnglish
dc.relation.doihttp://dx.doi.org/10.34944/dspace/2212
dc.ada.noteFor Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation, including help with reading this content, please contact scholarshare@temple.edu
dc.description.degreePh.D.
refterms.dateFOA2020-11-02T14:46:51Z


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