Morgan, Megan Joy Stoner
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This thesis examines the effects of the technology of mobility, specifically the railway, on personal identity and the human body in British literature of the nineteenth century. Examining three popular works from the nineteenth century, Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, Ellen Wood’s East Lynne, and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, I trace the development of anxieties over the relationship between man and machine, from the omnipresent nervous panic present in Collins’s work to the nonchalant archness present in Wilde’s. I suggest that these works are used to negotiate and control the complex and often disturbing matrix of bodies, identities, and the railway present in Victorian British consciousness.