Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2020


Although much has been written about the Beatles' celebration of Victorian culture on the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, little scholarship, if any, has focused on the White Album’s relationship to the late Victorian period. This paper examines the White Album through the lens of what Victorian studies scholar Stephen Arata has called “fictions of loss,” a body of late Victorian texts depicting intertwined processes of “national, biological, [and] aesthetic” decline. Through examining songs like "Helter Skelter" and "Revolution Number 9," I argue that the White Album deserves consideration alongside Dracula and She as a “fiction of loss,” revealing the degree to which a sense of “irretrievable decline” returned to haunt Britain in the late Sixties. If Sgt. Pepper consciously invoked Victorian nostalgia, the White Album evokes Victorian fears unconsciously, responding to their resurgence in the Beatles’ time.


This work was originally published in Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, available at


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