Date of Award


Document Type

M.A. Essay

First Advisor

Colleen Boggs

Second Advisor

Lucas Hollister


The 19th century witnessed intensifying marine ecological disruptions by colonial, industrial, and imperial activities. Meanwhile, current scholarship acknowledges the significance of the 19th century in tracing the emergence of the “Anthropocene” – a loose shorthand for ecological damages that are planetary in scale. This thesis aims to analyze how gothic imagination of the marine space unravels the linkages between the two temporally intersecting phenomena. Drawing on ocean studies, ecocriticism, new materialism, and gothic studies, I theorize what I call “Anthropocene marine Gothic discourse” to understand how 19th-century Anglo-American writers attend to the marine space to grapple with planetary ecological concerns that resonate with current theories about Anthropocene anxiety. Through the case studies of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket” (1838), Herman Melville’s “The Encantadas” (1854), and William Hope Hodgson’s “The Voice in the Night” (1907),I argue that these writers repurpose traditional marine gothic tropes to incorporate both the representations of gothic marine ecologies and the evocation of a specific type of Anthropocene horror. In so doing, their works recognize the marine space as a crucial site documenting the multidimensional human-environmental relationalities beyond the presumed human/nature binary, taking into account the planetary entanglements of beings involving different temporospatial scales. Moreover, by capturing how such entanglements speak to the extensive marine ecological disruptions, their imagination of a unified “Anthropocene marine Gothic discourse,” whether consciously or not, challenges the colonial, industrial, and imperial logics of treating the more-than-human marked by resource extraction and the manipulation of the nonhuman world.

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