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Food and Death in Stoker‘s Novel

I undertake a nonanthropocentric discussion of vampirism in Dracula, employing an EcoGothic approach to examine how the relation between the consumption of nonhuman flesh and blood reflects the evolving meaning of species, nation, and gender in nineteenth-century European society. I argue that flesh consumption plays an important role in the development of nutritional allegories and nonhuman vampirism. I show how Jonathan Harker‘s adherence, and the Counts resistance, to the dominant, meat-eating ideology destablise the carnal borderline between the species and how the distinctions between carnivorism and cannibalism trope the nonhuman and unhuman bodies as specular sites of death and horror.

Gothic Studies

Through an analysis of Dracula, this article will explore some of the hyperbolic rhetoric surrounding drug use and womens place in medical discourse that has, like the Count himself, risen again and again in our culture. It argues that Dracula attempts – through popular metaphors of addiction, shifting terminologies about drug use, and British anxieties about immigration – to make a clear but highly unstable distinction between licit and illicit drug use. In the process, Stoker‘s novel illuminates a complex relationship between middle-class women and the opiates that paradoxically serve as a site of patriarchal oppression and resistance to it.

Gothic Studies

This essay proposes that a number of the concerns expressed in Dracula can be read through Bram Stoker’s employment of the imagery of precious metals and jewels. Focusing on the materiality of place – the treasure-laced landscape of Transylvania and the cliffs of Whitby famous for their reserves of jet – and the association between these materials and vampirism, I argue that analysing the symbolism of precious materials leads to a fuller understanding of many of the novel’s key anxieties. Not only does this analysis demonstrate Stoker’s elaborate use of jewel imagery in developing the notion of the female vampire as a hard, penetrative woman, it identifies the imperial implications of the trade in precious materials. In doing so, it claims that Stoker employs a ‘language of jewels’ in Dracula, through which he critiques the imperialistic plundering of Eastern lands, and demonstrates how these monsters – intimately entwined with these materials – attempt a rejection of Western appropriation.

Gothic Studies

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.

Gothic Studies
Bram Stoker‘s Commentary on Victorian Science

Despite a wealth of recent scholarly work, Bram Stoker remains an enigma whose works often elicit contradictory conclusions from readers. Remembered today as the writer of the indisputably Gothic novel, Dracula, Stoker wrote seventeen other books; and many of them reveal his interest in areas that seem antithetical to the Gothic and its mysteries. Included among those areas are an interest in science and technology.

Gothic Studies
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The Garlic Flower in Bram Stoker’s Hermeneutic Garden

This article explores the use of floral symbolism within Gothic fiction of the fin de siècle. Taking as a basis the language of flower anthologies popularised throughout the nineteenth century, it investigates how this notoriously unstable floral language filtered through into the popular Gothic fiction at the end of the century. Whilst authors of Gothic may have adhered to existing codes and associations pertaining to particular flowers, they also destabilised traditional meaning, and introduced a new floral lexicon into the popular imagination. The article primarily considers Bram Stoker’s Dracula in an attempt to locate floral significance through consideration of the production and widely discussed political agenda of the text. Through a close reading of Dracula’s garlic flower, the article asks whether there might be a Gothic language of flowers situated within the narrative that bears comparison with other Gothic fictions of the period and beyond.

Gothic Studies

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.

Gothic Studies
Bram Stoker‘s Postcolonial Gothic

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.

Gothic Studies
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The Metamorphosis of the Queer Monster in Francis Ford Coppola‘s Bram Stokers Dracula

Since its release in 1992, Francis Ford Coppola‘s Bram Stoker‘s Dracula has made a deep impression upon the vampire community, or more likely left an infamous hole in it. Critics received Coppolas movie with closed fangs. To Fred Botting, Bram Stokers Dracula is ‘The End of Gothic’, the final metamorphosis of a faltering convention into some strange and alien form that destroys all of Gothics power. Stokers novel brought to greatness a war between the establishment of gender roles, threatened by the overtly (homo)sexual presence of Count Dracula, who turned women into harlots and men into sissies, before Abraham Van Helsing and his Crew of Light end Counts reign of terror to reaffirm their own faltering masculinity. Coppolas version creates a new heterogeneous blend of the corrupted legends of Prince Vlad the Impaler woven together with the literary Dracula within a Harlequin Romance format. The homoerotic undertones of Stokers novel disappear under the overly-exaggerated romantic quest of Coppolas new vampire.

Gothic Studies
Lawyers, Vampires and the Melancholy of Law

Professional ethics require loyalty to the client, yet loyalty to an undesirable client undermines laws (popular) legitimacy. The solicitor Jonathan Harker places his legal skills at the service of Count Dracula and must wittingly facilitate the vampires predation. Canadian defence lawyer Ken Murray, a century later, represented a contemporary vampire, the serial rapist and child killer Paul Bernardo. Both lawyers embody the modern ideal of the neutral technician of law, an image forged in the later part of the nineteenth century to disrupt the enduring image of lawyer as vampire. Dracula and his consort lamia are a fiction. Bernardo and his consort Karla Homolka tragically are not. But lessons may be drawn from both, as a cautionary tale for lawyers who serve vampires.

Gothic Studies