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In That Line of Darkness: The Shadow of Dracula and the Great War, Robert A. Douglas explores the tradition of Gothic novels, most notably Bram Stoker's Dracula, Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, peering through the lens of these extraordinary works to see more clearly the class, race and gender tensions in late nineteenth-century Britain. Drawing upon Gothic conventions-the demonization of the other, the use of doubling and the uncanny, psychic vampirism and the compulsion for blood "purity" or national "purifi cation"-Douglas draws connections between Dracula and Jack the Ripper, between Robert Baden- Powell and Oscar Wilde, and between Dracula and an electrifying piece of investigative journalism about underage girls lured into prostitution. That Line of Darkness is divided into four parts. The first three focus on the fin-de-siècle, culminating in Part Four, an illumination of the Great War and its aftermath through the prism of these Gothic conventions. Our understanding of war fantasies, national propaganda, the ghastly conditions in the trenches, the often barbaric treatment of emotionally damaged soldiers and the power of spiritualism is enriched as Douglas examines each through Gothic filters. That Line of Darkness has been praised as making a valuable contribution to historical insight into the furious emotions that were generated by peacetime controversies and the threads that connected them to the Great War.
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