Insect Politics in Richard Marsh’s The Beetle

  • Elizabeth EffingerEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)


Although Richard Marsh’s The Beetle has been read as an example of imperial or trance Gothic or as representative of imperial anxiety over the waning of the empire and growing influence of the East, a close examination of the title character, a reprehensible figure whose actions are sometimes portrayed in erotic terms, allows the novel to be read as a political statement. The Beetle’s behavior represents a counterpolitics that violates existing institutions and structures, while also reflecting late nineteenth-century anxieties over the encroachment of the inhuman on the human. Through its multiple forms and identities, most particularly the figurative connections that Marsh invites between insect and woman, the Bettle demonstrates the horrifying results when the politically marginalized exact their vengeance.


Marsh, Richard The Beetle Beetle Insect Prosopopoeial Biopolitics Ontology Entomology 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada

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