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Submitted Literature

Dracula

By Bram Stoker

Review

Dracula is frequently seen as a text that plays into contemporary notions of criminality and degeneration theory as well as an expression of fin-de-siècle concerns regarding the fear of the infiltration of syphilis into the Victorian family home. It contains prominent depictions of the male ‘hysteric,’ primarily in Jonathan Harker who falls victim to this condition following his stay in Dracula’s castle and later, Van Helsing, the strong leader of the band of vigilantes who oppose Dracula, also suffers an attack of hysteria following Lucy’s death. So, while hysteria throughout this time period was considered to typically affect women and lower class men this feminised ‘madness’ is used as a means to illustrate the severity of the threat that is posed by Dracula.

 

 

Key Themes:

  • Hysteria

Significant Quotes / Pages

 

'The moment we were alone in the carriage he gave way to a regular fit of hysterics. He has  denied to me since that it was hysterics, and insisted that it was only his sense of humour asserting itself under very terrible conditions. He laughed till he cried, and I had to draw down the blinds lest anyone should see us and misjudge; and then he cried till he laughed again; and then laughed and cried together, just as a woman does. I tried to be stern with him, as one is to a woman under the circumstances; but it had no effect. Men and women are so different in manifestations of nervous strength or weakness!' (Stoker, 186)

 

'He is aided by gypsies, lunatics, women, and wolves—by all beings whose brains do not rule their actions in the “light” of rationality' (Stoker 234)

Reference: Bram, Stoker. 1897. Dracula. Penguin, 2003

Reviewer

Ms Joanne Ella Parsons
Date Review Submitted: Wednesday 7th April 2010