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Robert Louis Stevenson : identity and ideology in the late Victorian British Empire

Stevenson, Phillip (2011) Robert Louis Stevenson : identity and ideology in the late Victorian British Empire. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94675) (KAR id:94675)

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This thesis examines Robert Louis Stevenson's engagement with issues of cultural identity across a wide range of his writings, published as well as unpublished: romance narratives, historical novels, essays, letters, memoirs, neo-Gothic short stories, and Pacific travel writing and fiction. Beginning with a close examination of Stevenson's representation and interrogation of Scottish identities in domestic and British imperial contexts it expands outwards to show how Stevenson engaged with issues of identity within the late Victorian British Empire. This study challenges the compartmentalisation of Stevensonian criticism, and offers a detailed and holistic reading of his body of work, contextualising it within the social and ideological climate of the late Victorian era. It explores issues of cross-cultural contact and processes of negotiation and hybridisation, drawing upon colonial discourse and postcolonial theory. In addition it examines how Stevenson's own literary identity was formed, how Stevenson, coming from a position outside the prevailing stylistic 'schools' of Victorian literature, created, bulwarked, and argued his literary position, and how in so doing established a theoretical basis for the revival of Romance fiction. Further to that it explores the consistency of and changes to that identity over the course of his literary career and how Stevenson revisited, unsettled, and interrogated the themes and tropes of his own writing.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Edmond, Roderick S.
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94675
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2022 15:03 UTC
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2022 15:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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