Affordable Access

Access to the full text

Desiring Walls: Fantasies of Containment and Reimagined British Pasts

Authors
  • Boll, Julia
Type
Published Article
Journal
Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
Jun 27, 2022
Volume
70
Issue
2
Pages
175–187
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/zaa-2022-2061
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

In Sarah Moss’s Ghost Wall (2018), an archaeology class pitches camp near Hadrian’s Wall, where they are joined by a local family in an experimental re-enactment of Iron Age Britain. The novel explores nostalgic nationalism, fantasies of nativism and racial supremacy, and the wish for containment and boundaries in a contemporary world perceived as having lost its cultural core. Following Wendy Brown’s suggestion to read the desire to erect border walls as the symptom of a hysterical obsession with ‘the alien,’ this essay focuses on the construction of borders as ritual spectacles aimed at securing deeply gendered fantasies of innocence, regulation, and containment, and how this aligns with contemporary British national and cultural nostalgia. It will also explore the thematic connections and differences between Moss’s critical probing of reimagined old ways of life and the yearning for a wistful version of bygone Britishness perceptible in recent British nature and travel writings.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times