Afterword: Pathological Projection and the Nazi Nightmare
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This study has attempted to illustrate how, in the pages of British Gothic literature, ‘the English turned to Jewish questions to answer English ones’ (Shapiro, Shakespeare: 1). To this end, it has traced the transformation of the largely benevolent Wandering Jew of legend into a dreaded-yet-desired and ultimately ethnically unidentified vampire figure in various British Gothic works published over the course of a century. It has delineated how anti-Semitic stereotypes involving the Blood Libel, secret societies, and the Cabala were progressively grafted onto that legendary figure in various reformulations of the Jewish Question in order to engage with shifting debates about British national identity. That these spectropoetics, as I have termed them, became manifest in the British Gothic novel, a literary form which emerged at the end of the eighteenth century, was significant: this genre betrayed conscious and unconscious desires and anxieties about national issues (Punter, Literature: 62) during ‘one of the most formative periods in the making of the modern world and … the forging of British identity’ (Colley, Britons: 7).
KeywordsSecret Society Jewish Question Racial Purity Ritual Murder Unconscious Desire
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