Friday, April 24, 2015

Why bother reading Bram Stoker's Dracula?

Why bother reading Bram Stoker's Dracula? | OUPblog

In Stoker’s novel, the infection is not an indifferent virus merely seeking replication. The Count is a malignant and unholy force from the fuzzy edges of Western Europe where Christian virtues and the rational Enlightenment reach their limits and run out of steam. The vampire emerges from what is described as a ‘whirlpool’ of races, a metaphor that Stoker clearly borrowed from late Victorian debates that was used to describe the East End of London, home to large numbers of Eastern European Jewish migrants escaping persecution. Their burgeoning numbers, swelling in the slums, were feared to be bringing all manner of physical and moral infections to Britain. No wonder that Count Dracula is associated with swarms of rats and other creatures that carry filth and disease. The vampire brings an awful wasting illness that will thin the blood and corrupt the race.

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