"Chasing After Monsters with a Butterfly Net:" The Victorian Approach to Vampires in Stoker's Dracula

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Keith Hinkleman Helsabeck (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Annette Van

Abstract: Written and set in the last years of the nineteenth century, Dracula wrestles with a loss of confidence in how the Victorian British deal with their problems. It challenges the certainty that domesticity, dedication, faith, and science will make right all wrongs. The novel's protagonists bring all of the Victorians' methods to bear against Count Dracula: science, weapons, medicine, rationality, temperance. However, even as they take his life, in many ways they fall short of resolving the problems he poses. They kill him by resorting to methods that abrogate the progress of the nineteenth century, and even in death, they know almost nothing about his kind, leaving him as a symbol of all their fears, of the dark unknown that lies just beyond the borders of the civilized world. This thesis examines the challenges that Dracula poses to late nineteenth century British confidence in Victorian methods and values. I explain how Stoker uses scientific reasoning, documentation, travel, magic and the occult, and sexuality to confront Victorian norms and progress. I show how the novel raises a mirror up to the age, to show its reflection, or lack thereof.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
Victorian Dracula Technology Confidence Science Document
Stoker, Bram, $d 1847-1912. $t Dracula.
Dracula, Count (Fictitious character)
Horror tales, English $x History and criticism.

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