The Lost Book Review of Norman
Macrae‘s Highland Second-Sight (1909)
Paul S. McAlduff and John Edgar Browning
Bram Stoker was no stranger during his lifetime to spiritualistic endeavors or esoteric
fancies. The proof of this claim lies unquestionably across his fictions, which are
cratered with Gothicisms from the supernatural and mesmerism to dark atmospherics and
ambiances, as well as, or especially, second sight, which is to say visions of the future
or the present seen from afar. This occultic power comprises the topic of a newly
discovered book review by Stoker reproduced within this article and entitled The Second
Sight. This book review is significant in a few crucial ways, most especially because it
is so far the only book review Stoker is known to have published, adding a new
bibliographical chapter to his already diverse writing career. Of equal import, however,
is the circumstance of his reviewing a work of esoterica like Norman Macrae‘s Highland
Second-Sight, making this discovery in many ways a valorization of the scholarly work of
Catherine Wynne and others who have treated of Stoker‘s predilection in his writings for
This article attempts to understand the importance of Dracula and The Lady of the Shroud in relation to the Eastern Question, and in particular with reference to the controversy caused by the Treaty of Berlin (1878). Centring on Dracula‘s speech on his ethnic origins, the author shows how Stoker has manipulated his sources in order to present his protagonist as being more decidedly involved in wars with the Turks than he in fact was, and in doing so to justify Disraeli‘s pro-Austrian and pro-Turkish line at the Berlin Treaty. In this the influence of Stoker‘s Turcophile brother George makes itself known. During the Bosnia crisis these views change, but are nevertheless in keeping with the conservative and patriotic line.
Adapting a novel for the stage is no easy task, especially if the novel in question is as famous and omnipresent as Bram Stoker‘s Dracula. Seven years prior to Francis Ford Coppola‘s box office hit, the Scottish poet and playwright Liz Lochhead wrote a version of the vampire saga which not only successfully translates the technical complexities of Stoker‘s text into the difficult medium of the theatre, but also offers a careful reading and contemporary evaluation of the subversive potential of the novel. In her adaptation, the fundamental dilemma of subjectivity and otherness becomes visible and demonstrates why Stoker‘s creation keeps fascinating readers, film audiences and critics alike.
This article discusses the manner in which the vampire fiction of contemporary
Ukrainian author Halyna Pahutiak enters into a dialogue with the global vampire
discourse whose core or ‘cultural capital’ finds its origins largely in Bram
Stoker’s novel Dracula (1897). Through discussion of thematic,
stylistic, and structural similarities and differences between Pahutiak and
Stoker’s portrayals of the vampire myth, my paper sheds light on the conscious
mythmaking strategies that Pahutiak employs to return the vampire symbolically
from the West to Eastern Europe where it originated, and reassess the core
characteristics of the Dracula myth.
This essay examines The Lair of the White Worms cultural logic, its mobilization of that dense network of specific historical references - to mesmerism, physiognomy, alienism, degeneration, and theories of race - which underlies so much of Bram Stoker‘s output. It is argued that Stokers last novel can serve as a kind of summa for Stoker‘s entire oeuvre, casting a retrospective eye over precisely those ethnological concerns that had animated his writings from beginning to end. For, in Stoker‘s imaginary the monstrous is always inscribed within a topography of race that his novels at once challenge and confirm by bringing pressure to bear on the whole scientific project of a general anthropology at its most vulnerable point: the distinction between the human and the near-human, between the species form and its exceptions.
Criminal Female Sexuality in
Bram Stoker‘s Dracula
This essay considers how Bram Stoker‘s Dracula (1901) engages both contemporary medical
models and common-sense conceptions of female criminality and sexuality. From Dracula, the
figure of Lucy Westenra emerges as a quintessential femme fatale. Lucys neck bears the
characteristic marking of the vampire, but we never witness the bite; as a result,
ambiguity surrounds the causal relationship in the process of becoming a vampire. The
novel produces this ontological ambiguity to perpetuate and to exacerbate contemporary
views regarding the radical instability of female nature. Under this logic, Lucys
encounter with the vampire brings only latent impulses to the surface. Stokers narrative
exploits this physiological uncertainty to perpetuate the sensational terror that all
female sexuality is monstrous, threatening to render the British man a debased specimen of
his former glory. By tracking the various logical ellipses and rhetorical slippages which
give shape to Stokers female vampires, I demonstrate how Stokers novels enact the same
anxious rhetoric that likewise informs the portrait of female sexuality in
That colonialism has associations with eighteenth century humanism is not a controversial claim. The eighteenth century with its fascination with how the subject knows has a central place in Foucault‘s account of the rise of the human sciences in The Order of Things. More recently Leela Gandhi has explored how the virtual construction of subjectivity in the eighteenth century was closely associated with the conceptual formulation of humanity. In these humanist constructions the human became defined by its relation to the non-human in a process where ideas about racial difference were used to form the hierarchies in which subjects were racially located. For Foucault, in the eighteenth century, the subject becomes both an object of knowledge (one that is understood ‘scientifically‘) and a subject who knows one that is interpreted `metaphysically`). This apparently scientific reading of the ‘objective status‘ of the subject reflects on the construction of race as an indicator of Otherness. The wider claim made by Leela Gandhi is that this position has a vestigial presence in much of todays `science‘. It is this correlation between race and certain pseudo-scientific taxonomies relating to race which underpin, in the nineteenth century, those theories of degeneration that attempted to account for perceptions of imperial decline, and it is these ideas that influenced Stoker‘s writings. Most notably Dracula has received considerable critical attention on the novels reliance on a model of degeneracy that articulates contemporary anxieties relating to criminality and race; this common view of Dracula is one that associates the Other (the vampire) with theories of degeneracy. The novel is also, arguably self-consciously so, about knowledge. The oddly unheroic pursuit of the vampire hunters is apparent in their search through documentation in order to develop an explanatory theory for vampirism. It is this pursuit of knowledge which is also to be found in A,Glimpse of America (1886) and The Mystery of the Sea (1902). Knowledge as knowledge of the national and/or racial Other is the central issue to which Stoker keeps returning.
The existing canon of scholarship on Dracula asserts that the sexually aggressive
female vampires are representative of the New Woman, and thus are evidence of
Stoker’s conservative reaction to changing gender roles. In contrast, this
article offers a reinterpretation Dracula in the light of key writings of the
New Woman movement which sought to demonize the Victorian marriage market
because of its creation of a class of female parasites: idle middle-class woman
entirely dependent on fathers and husbands. A close reading of key sections of
the novel demonstrates that the female vampires are characterized as
traditionally subordinate Victorian housewives, in contrast to the positive
presentation of Mina Harker as a New Woman. This reading reveals a text that
argues that work for women is the only antidote to the degeneration inherent in
traditional womanhood, through which women are reduced to nothing more than
their biological functions.
Colonising Europe in Bram Stoker‘s The Lady of the Shroud
Postcolonial criticism is preoccupied for the most part with the implications and the cultural consequences of European interference in a vaguely delineated territory which could best be termed `the East‘. This statement, which might justifiably be regarded as being simplistic, provocative or even mischievous, must however be acknowledged as having some currency as a criticism of an occluded though still discernible impasse within an otherwise vibrant and progressive critical discourse. The postcolonial debate is, to borrow a phrase from Gerry Smyth, both characterised and inhibited by a `violent, dualistic logic‘ which perpetuates an ancient, exclusive dichotomy between the West and its singular Other. In practical terms, this enforces a critical discourse which opposes the cultural and textual power of the West through the textuality of Africa, Asia and the Far East rather than and at the expense of the equally colonised terrains of the Americas and Australasia. This is not to say that critical writings on these latter theatres of Empire do not exist, but rather to suggest that they are somehow less valued in a critical discourse which at times appears,to be confused by the potentially more complex diametrics implied in the existence of a North and a South.