Constructing Nationhood Through Literature: Italy, Britain, and The Woman in White

Open Access
Pennoni, Michelle Catherine
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Lisa Ruth Sternlieb, Thesis Supervisor
  • Lisa Ruth Sternlieb, Honors Advisor
  • Janet Wynne Lyon, Faculty Reader
  • Literature
  • Collins
  • Nationalism
Nineteenth century Europe witnessed the collapse of an old order, which in turn spurred the development of new ideas, means of communications, and consequently new nations. Given its creative potential, the novel played a crucial role in developing these new, imagined communities. This thesis will looks closely at the correlation between the “nation” and the elements of the “novel” through an analysis of Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White and its commentary on the Italian Risorgimento. Part of a British, literary trend that focused upon the Italian struggle, Collins’ work is evidence that the nation making process is every-occurring, as to define another nation is to refine one’s own.