Dracula: The Vampire and Critics
Edited by Margaret L Carter, 1988
Themes of Racial Purity and the Terror over Race are in Dracula. There is the subtext Darwinian struggle of Global Politics in Dracula. Britain had imperial opposition during Stoker’s time. Psychological repression and sexual repression were part of Victorian Society.
Marx called for the redistribution of wealth.
Dracula is the Oedipal Father. The son is Van Helsing and his Army of Light. The mother figure is Mina and Lucy.
Dracula is the obsessive need to control the Unknown. Dracula is the Reverse of Colonization. He is all that is wild and primal.
Lucy Westerna is a symbol for the West.
Van Helsing most fears that the count will come to learn Western life, come to ultimately adopt a kind of scientific approach and learn he has the freedom of choice.
Blood is like Semen in the book. The Transfusion is like Intercourse. When Mina drinks blood from a thin cut on Dracula it is like putting her mouth on a vagina during menstruation.
Death is the orgasm. The phallic symbol is the stake.
Origins of Dracula and Vampires: There is a curse on Dracula or Vlad’s ruined Castle. People died going to visit it. See the book The Genesis of Dracula: A Revisit by Devendra P Varma, 1975.
Time of the Plague there were lots of premature burials. Corpses rose from burial carts. Vampire bats and rats with rabies Carpathian Mountains might have given victims the urge to bite other people and given them dementia.
There are vampire tales in Tibet and India. There are strange statues with sharp eye teeth. Sir Richard Burton’s Arabian Nights. Stoker knew Burton. There is a word for Vampire in Sanskrit.
Noel Thonley Stoker- was Bram Stoker’s son.
Arminius Vamberry was the model for Van Helsing. Wilkinson’s book in Whitby Library
Otherness: Harker fears that these sexual object in Dracula’s castle. They do have something in common with his chaste Victorian fiancée Mina. Men do not become hypersexual when turned into vampires it seems. The women were killed with stakes, while the men needed to be beheaded.
Dracula is a symbol for the “otherness.”
Vampire women are connected to fellatio. Women vampires are seen at night in the moonlight, which connects to menstrual blood.
Lombroso’s Criminal Man and Dracula: Criminals are born. Epileptic and have aquiline nose, massive eyebrows, pointed ears, prey on and murder women, have sharp white teeth and mustache. They have short clumsy fingers and rank breath.
Gender and Inversion in Dracula: Homosexuality. John Stuart Mill’s The Subject of Women is important. Lucy’s death is misogynistic. See Freud’s ideas of the Id and Ego. Little Quincy is born to Mina and Harker at the end to restore order.
The Narrative Methods in Dracula: The use of journals means we get everyone’s point of view except Count Dracula’s. We hear about his journey from Transylvania to England. The Greek legend of Demeter and Persephone is a subtext. They connect Dracula to the Underworld and his release from it. They Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Coleridge was influential, particularly Coleridge’s idea of Life-in-Death. The storm becomes a living thing like Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Sauron and Dracula by Gwyneth Hood: Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings has the evil character of Sauron. Both Sauron and Dracula represent Hell on Earth.
Stoker worked on the novel for 7 years. He did lots of research. There were lots of drafts. “Literature and the Second Self” mentioned Bronte. Dickens Great Expectations, Hawthorne House of the Seven Gables, Middle March by Sand also mentioned.
Bildungsroman: educational structure of a novel
Lucy and Mina’s relationship parallels The Lady in White—See also Camilla.