Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Jill Rappoport


Sensation fiction, as a genre, offers a field to explore the ways in which ideologies of masculinity are negotiated, contested, and enforced. The Victorian man has no respite from social surveillance; the public is always watching, always evaluating the performance. As these sensation fiction novels build on each other, a portrait of male claustrophobia in response to unceasing surveillance is revealed. The pressure this constant scrutiny puts on Victorian men is immense and sensation novels derive many thrilling plot twists from the dramatic lengths men to which men must go to protect themselves from this gaze. These habits persist even when the actions of the men are relatively innocent or disconnected from the secrets they keep. These patterns of concealment and displacement craft a protective distance from society, but fundamentally isolate the men involved. Rather than effortlessly assuming patriarchal authority, male characters act in desperate ways to maintain their position and their manliness, highlighting the fractures and contradictions inherent in Victorian gender ideology. These strategies of concealment mirror the division between the private and public spheres and England and the colonies, exhibiting a foundational pattern of concealment in Victorian society.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)