Stoker, Bram (1847 - 1912)

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(1847 - 1912)

(Full name Abraham Stoker) Irish novelist, short story writer, and essayist.

Stoker is best known as the author of Dracula (1897), one of the most famous horror stories of all time, and a work frequently cited as a culminating example of the late-Victorian Gothic novel. Stoker also wrote adventure novels and romances, several other works of horror, and numerous pieces of short fiction. These works, however, have been overshadowed by Stoker's most popular novel and have attracted relatively little critical attention. For most, Stoker is regarded as a one-book author, his sole memorable contribution being the creation of the Transylvanian count whose name has become synonymous with vampirism.


Born on November 8, 1847, in Dublin, Stoker was stricken with illness as a child that left him bedridden for the first seven years of his life. During this period, his mother reputedly told him stories of her own childhood during the cholera plague in the Irish town of Sligo, recounting instances of live interment and corpse burnings. At Trinity College, Stoker made up for his early invalidism by excelling in athletics as well as in his studies. He graduated with honors in mathematics in 1870 and followed his father into the Irish civil service, where he worked for ten years. During this time Stoker also was an unpaid drama critic for the Dublin Mail, contributing glowing reviews, more unabashed praise than criticism, of Henry Irving's theatrical performances. The two men became friends and, in 1879, Stoker left his job to become Irving's manager. He also discharged various managerial, secretarial, and even directorial functions at the Lyceum Theatre. Despite his extensive duties, Stoker wrote a number of novels, including Dracula. Following Irving's death in 1905, Stoker was associated with the literary staff of the London Telegraph. In his final years, Stoker was afflicted with gout and Bright's disease. Some biographers also believe he contracted syphilis about the time he was writing Dracula, and that the advanced stages of the disease led to his death in 1912.


Stoker composed Dracula as an epistolary novel comprised of journal entries, letters, newspaper clippings, a ship's log, and phonograph recordings. The story begins with the journey of a young English solicitor, Jonathan Harker, sent to Transylvania to counsel a wealthy client, Count Dracula. During his two-month stay at Dracula's castle, Harker becomes disconcerted by Dracula's odd appearance, eccentricities, and predatory behavior. After some investigation, he discovers that Dracula sleeps in a coffin in a crypt beneath the castle during the day and spends his nights stealing babies from the nearby town. Harker manages to escape the castle and return to England where he is reunited with his fiancée Mina Murray. Strange events in London, including the arrival of a Russian schooner containing fifty boxes of earth, and the mysterious death of Mina's acquaintance Lucy Westenra, suggest that Dracula has followed Harker back to England. Harker engages the help of Lucy's former doctor, Van Helsing, when she reemerges as a vampire. Together with several assistants the men locate the undead Lucy and destroy her. When it becomes clear that Mina is the Count's next victim, Harker, Van Helsing, and the others extend their search for Dracula himself. Discovering that he has fled London, they track him down and kill him. As Dracula's body disintegrates, Mina is saved.

As is Dracula, Stoker's remaining novels and works of short fiction are primarily characterized by their macabre nature and focus on such themes as death, male rivalry, ambivalence toward women, and the morality of good and evil. Among them, "Dracula's Guest," originally intended as a prefatory chapter to Dracula, is one of Stoker's best-known stories. The tale opens with Jonathan Harker traveling to Dracula's castle, only to be stranded alone in the countryside when his frightened driver refuses to complete the trip. He takes refuge from a violent storm in a mausoleum in a nearby cemetery. As he rests, a beautiful female apparition rises from the tomb and approaches him. Suddenly, he is thrown to the ground and later wakes to find himself warmed and protected by a werewolf. In another story, "The Squaw," an American visiting Nuremberg drops a pebble from the top of a castle, killing a kitten. Its vengeful mother stalks the man, eventually causing his death. Of Stoker's other supernatural novels, The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903) is generally considered his best effort after Dracula. The work concerns an ambitious Egyptologist who attempts to reanimate the mummified remains of an ancient Egyptian queen. During the course of the novel the scientist, Trelawney, discovers that this mummy has been exerting a mysterious influence over his daughter Margaret, from which he eventually manages to free her. Probably Stoker's second most popular work of fiction, his late novel entitled The Lair of the White Worm (1911) is generally perceived by scholars as a lurid and somewhat incoherent pastiche of grotesque horror. Its story concentrates on the sinister figure of Lady Arabella March, whom the novel's protagonists eventually learn can transform herself into a repulsive worm of monstrous proportions. Although not well regarded by critics, the novel is sometimes discussed in terms of its bizarre, sexualized imagery and as a troubling indicator of Stoker's mental decline shortly before his death.


Most Victorian readers interpreted Dracula as a straightforward horror novel. Some early reviewers noted the "unnecessary number of hideous incidents" which could "shock and disgust" readers. One critic even advised keeping the novel away from children and nervous adults. Later commentators began to take a more scholarly approach to the novel, exploring the theme of repressed sexuality within the story. Critics have asserted that the transformation of Dracula's female victims, Lucy and Mina, from chaste to sexually aggressive should be considered a commentary on attitudes toward female sexuality in Victorian society. Homoerotic elements in the relationship between Dracula and Harker have also been analyzed. Moreover, Dracula's drinking of blood in the novel has been regarded as a metaphor for sexual intercourse, and the stakes that kill Lucy and three other vampire women have been discussed as phallic symbols. Among contemporary critical approaches to Dracula, Clive Leatherdale has traced the origins of Stoker's Transylvanian count from the stories of eastern European folklore and history, and has examined the novelist's ambivalent and at times paradoxical rendering of the vampire as both victimizer and victim. Valerie Clemens (see Further Reading) has considered Dracula within the contexts of late nineteenth-century England, exploring Stoker's representation of rapid changes in Victorian science, technology, and culture in the work. Jerrold E. Hogle has suggested that Stoker's novel both exaggerates and intensifies the English Gothic literary conventions laid down by Horace Walpole in his supernatural romance The Castle of Otranto, arguing that Dracula offers a bourgeois, capitalist "counterfeit" of the social and symbolic structures originally depicted in the Gothic novel through its use of narrative simulacra. Joseph Valente has studied gender construction and social marginality in Dracula, particularly highlighting the idealized feminine and maternal virtues associated with Mina and the work's allegorized cultural and political contexts. Other critics have frequently evaluated Dracula from a Freudian psychosexual standpoint, and the novel has additionally been interpreted from folkloric, political, feminist, and religious points of view. Still other commentators have identified themes of parricide, infanticide, and gender reversal in the novel. In recent years, the diverse literary origins of Dracula have also been identified, with Varney the Vampyre; or, The Feast of Blood, John William Polidori's The Vampyre, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla," and Guy de Maupassant's "Le Horla" studied among its Gothic forerunners.

Though Stoker's other novels were favorably reviewed when they appeared, most are now considered dated by their stereotyped characters and romanticized Gothic plots; and except by aficionados of supernatural fiction they are rarely read today. Even the earliest reviews frequently decried the stiff characterization and tendency to melodrama which flaw Stoker's writing. Critics have universally praised, however, Stoker's beautifully precise place descriptions. Stoker's short stories, while sharing the faults of his novels, have fared better with modern readers. Meanwhile, Dracula has garnered much critical and popular attention since the time of its publication and through the years has spawned countless stories and novels by other authors, as well as numerous theatrical and cinematic adaptations. Indeed, Dracula has never gone out of print since its first publication. Many critics regard the novel as the best-known and most enduring Gothic vampire story ever published. Whether Stoker evoked a universal fear, or as some modern critics would have it, gave form to a universal fantasy, he created a powerful and lasting image that has become an indelible part of popular culture.


The Duties of Clerks of Petty Session in Ireland (handbook) 1879
Under the Sunset (short stories) 1881
A Glimpse of America (essays) 1886
The Snake's Pass (novel) 1890
The Watter's Mou' (novel) 1894
Dracula (novel) 1897
The Mystery of the Sea: A Novel (novel) 1902
The Jewel of Seven Stars (novel) 1903
The Man (novel) 1905
Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving (biography) 1906
The Lady of the Shroud (novel) 1909
Famous Imposters (essays) 1910
The Lair of the White Worm (novel) 1911
Dracula's Guest, and Other Weird Stories (short stories) 1914
The Bram Stoker Bedside Companion (short stories and novels) 1973

∗ This collection contains the short stories "Dracula's Guest" and "The Squaw."



SOURCE: Stoker, Bram. "Dracula's Guest." In Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural, selected by Marvin Kaye, pp. 3-13. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1985.

The following short story, written in the 1890s, comprises an intended, but deleted, prefatory chapter to Dracula. It was first published in 1914 in Dracula's Guest, and Other Weird Stories.

When we started for our drive the sun was shining brightly on Munich, and the air was full of the joyousness of early summer. Just as we were about to depart, Herr Delbrück (the maître d'hôtel of the Quatre Saisons, where I was staying) came down, bareheaded, to the carriage and, after wishing me a pleasant drive, said to the coachman, still holding his hand on the handle of the carriage door:

"Remember you are back by nightfall. The sky looks bright but there is a shiver in the north wind that says there may be a sudden storm. But I am sure you will not be late." Here he smiled, and added, "for you know what night it is."

Johann answered with an emphatic, "Ja, mein Herr," and, touching his hat, drove off quickly. When we had cleared the town, I said, after signalling to him to stop:

"Tell me, Johann, what is to-night?"

He crossed himself, as he answered laconically: "Walpurgis nacht." Then he took out his watch, a great, old-fashioned German silver thing as big as a turnip, and looked at it, with his eyebrows gathered together and a little impatient shrug of his shoulders. I realised that this was his way of respectfully protesting against the unneces-sary delay, and sank back in the carriage, merely motioning him to proceed. He started off rapidly, as if to make up for lost time. Every now and then the horses seemed to throw up their heads and sniffed the air suspiciously. On such occasions I often looked round in alarm. The road was pretty bleak, for we were traversing a sort of high, wind-swept plateau. As we drove, I saw a road that looked but little used, and which seemed to dip through a little, winding valley. It looked so inviting that, even at the risk of offending him, I called Johann to stop—and when he had pulled up, I told him I would like to drive down that road. He made all sorts of excuses, and frequently crossed himself as he spoke. This somewhat piqued my curiosity, so I asked him various questions. He answered fencingly, and repeatedly looked at his watch in protest. Finally I said:

"Well, Johann, I want to go down this road. I shall not ask you to come unless you like; but tell me why you do not like to go, that is all I ask." For answer he seemed to throw himself off the box, so quickly did he reach the ground. Then he stretched out his hands appealingly to me, and implored me not to go. There was just enough of English mixed with the German for me to understand the drift of his talk. He seemed always just about to tell me something—the very idea of which evidently frightened him; but each time he pulled himself up, saying, as he crossed himself: "Walpurgis nacht!"

I tried to argue with him, but it was difficult to argue with a man when I did not know his language. The advantage certainly rested with him, for although he began to speak in English, of a very crude and broken kind, he always got excited and broke into his native tongue—and every time he did so, he looked at his watch. Then the horses became restless and sniffed the air. At this he grew very pale, and, looking around in a frightened way, he suddenly jumped forward, took them by the bridles and led them on some twenty feet. I followed, and asked why he had done this. For answer he crossed himself, pointed to the spot we had left and drew his carriage in the direction of the other road, indicating a cross, and said, first in German, then in English: "Buried him—him what killed themselves."

I remembered the old custom of burying suicides at cross-roads: "Ah! I see, a suicide. How interesting!" But for the life of me I could not make out why the horses were frightened.

Whilst we were talking, we heard a sort of sound between a yelp and a bark. It was far away; but the horses got very restless, and it took Johann all his time to quiet them. He was pale, and said: "It sounds like a wolf—but yet there are no wolves here now."

"No?" I said, questioning him; "isn't it long since the wolves were so near the city?"

"Long, long," he answered, "in the spring and summer; but with the snow the wolves have been here not so long."

Whilst he was petting the horses and trying to quiet them, dark clouds drifted rapidly across the sky. The sunshine passed away, and a breath of cold wind seemed to drift past us. It was only a breath, however, and more in the nature of a warning than a fact, for the sun came out brightly again. Johann looked under his lifted hand at the horizon and said:

"The storm of snow, he comes before long time." Then he looked at his watch again, and, straightway holding his reins firmly—for the horses were still pawing the ground restlessly and shaking their heads—he climbed to his box as though the time had come for proceeding on our journey.

I felt a little obstinate and did not at once get into the carriage.

"Tell me," I said, "about this place where the road leads," and I pointed down.

Again he crossed himself and mumbled a prayer, before he answered: "It is unholy."

"What is unholy?" I enquired.

"The village."

"Then there is a village?"

"No, no. No one lives there hundreds of years." My curiosity was piqued: "But you said there was a village."

"There was."

"Where is it now?"

Whereupon he burst out into a long story in German and English, so mixed up that I could not quite understand exactly what he said, but roughly I gathered that long ago, hundreds of years, men had died there and been buried in their graves; and sounds were heard under the clay, and when the graves were opened, men and women were found rosy with life, and their mouths red with blood. And so, in haste to save their lives (aye, and their souls!—and here he crossed himself) those who were left fled away to other places, where the living lived, and the dead were dead and not—not something. He was evidently afraid to speak the last words. As he proceeded with his narration, he grew more and more excited. It seemed as if his imagination had got hold of him, and he ended in a perfect paroxysm of fear—white-faced, perspiring, trembling and looking round him, as if expecting that some dreadful presence would manifest itself there in the bright sunshine on the open plain. Finally, in an agony of desperation, he cried:

"Walpurgis nacht!" and pointed to the carriage for me to get in. All my English blood rose at this, and, standing back, I said:

"You are afraid, Johann—you are afraid. Go home; I shall return alone; the walk will do me good." The carriage door was open. I took from the seat my oak walking-stick—which I always carry on my holiday excursions—and closed the door, pointing back to Munich, and said, "Go home, Johann—Walpurgis nacht doesn't concern Englishmen."

The horses were now more restive than ever, and Johann was trying to hold them in, while excitedly imploring me not to do anything so foolish. I pitied the poor fellow, he was so deeply in earnest; but all the same I could not help laughing. His English was quite gone now. In his anxiety he had forgotten that his only means of making me understand was to talk my language, so he jabbered away in his native German. It began to be a little tedious. After giving the direction, "Home!" I turned to go down the cross-road into the valley.

With a despairing gesture, Johann turned his horses towards Munich. I leaned on my stick and looked after him. He went slowly along the road for a while: then there came over the crest of the hill a man tall and thin. I could see so much in the distance. When he drew near the horses, they began to jump and kick about, then to scream with terror. Johann could not hold them in; they bolted down the road, running away madly. I watched them out of sight, then looked for the stranger, but I found that he, too, was gone.

With a light heart I turned down the side road through the deepening valley to which Johann had objected. There was not the slightest reason, that I could see, for his objection; and I daresay I tramped for a couple of hours without thinking of time or distance, and certainly without seeing a person or a house. So far as the place was concerned, it was desolation itself. But I did not notice this particularly till, on turning a bend in the road, I came upon a scattered fringe of wood; then I recognised that I had been impressed unconsciously by the desolation of the region through which I had passed.

I sat down to rest myself, and began to look around. It struck me that it was considerably colder than it had been at the commencement of my walk—a sort of sighing sound seemed to be around me, with, now and then, high overhead, a sort of muffled roar. Looking upwards I noticed that great thick clouds were drifting rapidly across the sky from North to South at a great height. There were signs of coming storm in some lofty stratum of the air. I was a little chilly, and, thinking that it was the sitting still after the exercise of walking, I resumed my journey.

The ground I passed over was now much more picturesque. There were no striking objects that the eye might single out; but in all there was a charm of beauty. I took little heed of time and it was only when the deepening twilight forced itself upon me that I began to think of how I should find my way home. The brightness of the day had gone. The air was cold, and the drifting of clouds high overhead was more marked. They were accompanied by a sort of far-away rushing sound, through which seemed to come at intervals that mysterious cry which the driver had said came from a wolf. For a while I hesitated. I had said I would see the deserted village, so on I went, and presently came on a wide stretch of open country, shut in by hills all around. Their sides were covered with trees which spread down to the plain, dotting, in clumps, the gentler slopes and hollows which showed here and there. I followed with my eye the winding of the road, and saw that it curved close to one of the densest of these clumps and was lost behind it.

As I looked there came a cold shiver in the air, and the snow began to fall. I thought of the miles and miles of bleak country I had passed, and then hurried on to seek the shelter of the wood in front. Darker and darker grew the sky, and faster and heavier fell the snow, till the earth before and around me was a glistening white carpet the further edge of which was lost in misty vagueness. The road was here but crude, and when on the level its boundaries were not so marked, as when it passed through the cuttings; and in a little while I found that I must have strayed from it, for I missed underfoot the hard surface, and my feet sank deeper in the grass and moss. Then the wind grew stronger and blew with ever increasing force, till I was fain to run before it. The air became icycold, and in spite of my exercise I began to suffer. The snow was now falling so thickly and whirling around me in such rapid eddies that I could hardly keep my eyes open. Every now and then the heavens were torn asunder by vivid lightning, and in the flashes I could see ahead of me a great mass of trees, chiefly yew and cypress all heavily coated with snow.

I was soon amongst the shelter of the trees, and there, in comparative silence, I could hear the rush of the wind high overhead. Presently the blackness of the storm had become merged in the darkness of the night. By-and-by the storm seemed to be passing away: it now only came in fierce puffs or blasts. At such moments the weird sound of the wolf appeared to be echoed by many similar sounds around me.

Now and again, through the black mass of drifting cloud, came a straggling ray of moonlight, which lit up the expanse, and showed me that I was at the edge of a dense mass of cypress and yew trees. As the snow had ceased to fall, I walked out from the shelter and began to investigate more closely. It appeared to me that, amongst so many old foundations as I had passed, there might be still standing a house in which, though in ruins, I could find some sort of shelter for a while. As I skirted the edge of the copse, I found that a low wall encircled it, and following this I presently found an opening. Here the cypresses formed an alley leading up to a square mass of some kind of building. Just as I caught sight of this, however, the drifting clouds obscured the moon, and I passed up the path in darkness. The wind must have grown colder, for I felt myself shiver as I walked; but there was hope of shelter, and I groped my way blindly on.

I stopped, for there was a sudden stillness. The storm had passed; and, perhaps in sympathy with nature's silence, my heart seemed to cease to beat. But this was only momentarily; for suddenly the moonlight broke through the clouds, showing me that I was in a graveyard, and that the square object before me was a great massive tomb of marble, as white as the snow that lay on and all around it. With the moonlight there came a fierce sigh of the storm, which appeared to resume its course with a long, low howl, as of many dogs or wolves. I was awed and shocked, and felt the cold perceptibly grow upon me till it seemed to grip me by the heart. Then while the flood of moonlight still fell on the marble tomb, the storm gave further evidence of renewing, as though it was returning on its track. Impelled by some sort of fascination, I approached the sepulchre to see what it was, and why such a thing stood alone in such a place. I walked around it, and read, over the Doric door, in German—

             IN STYRIA

On the top of the tomb, seemingly driven through the solid marble—for the structure was composed of a few vast blocks of stone—was a great iron spike or stake. On going to the back I saw, graven in great Russian letters:

"The dead travel fast."

There was something so weird and uncanny about the whole thing that it gave me a turn and made me feel quite faint. I began to wish, for the first time, that I had taken Johann's advice. Here a thought struck me, which came under almost mysterious circumstances and with a terrible shock. This was Walpurgis Night!

Walpurgis Night, when, according to the belief of millions of people, the devil was abroad—when the graves were opened and the dead came forth and walked. When all evil things of earth and air and water held revel. This very place the driver had specially shunned. This was the depopulated village of centuries ago. This was where the suicide lay; and this was the place where I was alone—unmanned, shivering with cold in a shroud of snow with a wild storm gathering again upon me! It took all my philosophy, all the religion I had been taught, all my courage, not to collapse in a paroxysm of fright.

And now a perfect tornado burst upon me. The ground shook as though thousands of horses thundered across it; and this time the storm bore on its icy wings, not snow, but great hailstones which drove with such violence that they might have come from the thongs of Balearic slingers—hailstones that beat down leaf and branch and made the shelter of the cypresses of no more avail than though their stems were standing-corn. At the first I had rushed to the nearest tree; but I was soon fain to leave it and seek the only spot that seemed to afford refuge, the deep Doric doorway of the marble tomb. There, crouching against the massive bronze-door, I gained a certain amount of protection from the beating of the hail-stones, for now they only drove against me as they ricochetted from the ground and the side of the marble.

As I leaned against the door, it moved slightly and opened inwards. The shelter of even a tomb was welcome in that pitiless tempest, and I was about to enter it when there came a flash of forked-lightning that lit up the whole expanse of the heavens. In the instant, as I am a living man, I saw, as my eyes were turned into the darkness of the tomb, a beautiful woman, with rounded cheeks and red lips, seemingly sleeping on a bier. As the thunder broke overhead, I was grasped as by the hand of a giant and hurled out into the storm. The whole thing was so sudden that, before I could realize the shock, moral as well as physical, I found the hailstones beating me down. At the same time I had a strange, dominating feeling that I was not alone. I looked towards the tomb. Just then there came another blinding flash, which seemed to strike the iron stake that surmounted the tomb and to pour through to the earth, blasting and crumbling the marble, as in a burst of flame. The dead woman rose for a moment of agony, while she was lapped in the flame, and her bitter scream of pain was drowned in the thundercrash. The last thing I heard was this mingling of dreadful sound, as again I was seized in the giant-grasp and dragged away, while the hailstones beat on me, and the air around seemed reverberant with the howling of wolves. The last sight that I remembered was a vague, white, moving mass, as if all the graves around me had sent out the phantoms of their sheeted-dead, and that they were closing in on me through the white cloudiness of the driving hail.

Gradually there came a sort of vague beginning of consciousness; then a sense of weariness that was dreadful. For a time I remembered nothing; but slowly my senses returned. My feet seemed positively racked with pain, yet I could not move them. They seemed to be numbed. There was an icy feeling at the back of my neck and all down my spine, and my ears, like my feet, were dead, yet in torment; but there was in my breast a sense of warmth which was, by comparison, delicious. It was as a nightmare—a physical nightmare, if one may use such an expression; for some heavy weight on my chest made it difficult for me to breathe.

This period of semi-lethargy seemed to remain a long time, and as it faded away I must have slept or swooned. Then came a sort of loathing, like the first stage of sea-sickness, and a wild desire to be free from something—I knew not what. A vast stillness enveloped me, as though all the world were asleep or dead—only broken by the low panting as of some animal close to me. I felt a warm rasping at my throat, then came a consciousness of the awful truth, which chilled me to the heart and sent the blood surging up through my brain. Some great animal was lying on me and now licking my throat. I feared to stir, for some instinct of prudence bade me lie still; but the brute seemed to realize that there was now some change in me, for it raised its head. Through my eyelashes I saw above me the two great flaming eyes of a gigantic wolf. Its sharp white teeth gleamed in the gaping red mouth, and I could feel its hot breath fierce and acrid upon me.

For another spell of time I remembered no more. Then I became conscious of a low growl, followed by a yelp, renewed again and again. Then, seemingly very far away, I heard a "Holloa! holloa!" as of many voices calling in unison. Cautiously I raised my head and looked in the direction whence the sound came; but the cemetery blocked my view. The wolf still continued to yelp in a strange way, and a red glare began to move round the grove of cypresses, as though following the sound. As the voices drew closer, the wolf yelped faster and louder. I feared to make either sound or motion. Nearer came the red glow, over the white pall which stretched into the darkness around me. Then all at once from beyond the trees there came at a trot a troop of horsemen bearing torches. The wolf rose from my breast and made for the cemetery. I saw one of the horsemen (soldiers by their caps and their long military cloaks) raise his carbine and take aim. A companion knocked up his arm, and I heard the ball whizz over my head. He had evidently taken my body for that of the wolf. Another sighted the animal as it slunk away, and a shot followed. Then, at a gallop, the troop rode forward—some towards me, others following the wolf as it disappeared amongst the snow-clad cypresses.

As they drew nearer I tried to move, but was powerless, although I could see and hear all that went on around me. Two or three of the soldiers jumped from their horses and knelt beside me. One of them raised my head, and placed his hand over my heart.

"Good news, comrades!" he cried. "His heart still beats!"

Then some brandy was poured down my throat; it put vigour into me, and I was able to open my eyes fully and look around. Lights and shadows were moving among the trees, and I heard men call to one another. They drew together, uttering frightened exclamations; and the lights flashed as the others came pouring out of the cemetery pell-mell, like men possessed. When the further ones came close to us, those who were around me asked them eagerly:

"Well, have you found him?"

The reply rang out hurriedly:

"No! no! Come away quick—quick! This is no place to stay, and on this of all nights!"

"What was it?" was the question, asked in all manner of keys. The answer came variously and all indefinitely as though the men were moved by some common impulse to speak, yet were restrained by some common fear from giving their thoughts.

"It—it—indeed!" gibbered one, whose wits had plainly given out for the moment.

"A wolf—and yet not a wolf!" another put in shudderingly.

"No use trying for him without the sacred bullet," a third remarked in a more ordinary manner.

"Serve us right for coming out on this night! Truly we have earned our thousand marks!" were the ejaculations of a fourth.

"There was blood on the broken marble," another said after a pause—"the lightning never brought that there. And for him—is he safe? Look at his throat! See, comrades, the wolf has been lying on him and keeping his blood warm."

The officer looked at my throat and replied:

"He is all right; the skin is not pierced. What does it all mean? We should never have found him but for the yelping of the wolf."

"What became of it?" asked the man who was holding up my head, and who seemed the least panic-stricken of the party, for his hands were steady and without tremor. On his sleeve was the chevron of a petty officer.

"It went to its home," answered the man, whose long face was pallid, and who actually shook with terror as he glanced around him fearfully. "There are graves enough there in which it may lie. Come, comrades—come quickly! Let us leave this cursed spot."

The officer raised me to a sitting posture, as he uttered a word of command; then several men placed me upon a horse. He sprang to the saddle behind me, took me in his arms, gave the word to advance; and, turning our faces away from the cypresses, we rode away in swift, military order.

As yet my tongue refused its office, and I was perforce silent. I must have fallen asleep; for the next thing I remembered was finding myself standing up, supported by a soldier on each side of me. It was almost broad daylight, and to the north a red streak of sunlight was reflected, like a path of blood, over the waste of snow. The officer was telling the men to say nothing of what they had seen, except that they found an English stranger, guarded by a large dog.

"Dog! that was no dog," cut in the man who had exhibited such fear. "I think I know a wolf when I see one."

The young officer answered calmly: "I said a dog."

"Dog!" reiterated the other ironically. It was evident that his courage was rising with the sun; and, pointing to me, he said, "Look at his throat. Is that the work of a dog, master?"

Instinctively I raised my hand to my throat, and as I touched it I cried out in pain. The men crowded round to look, some stooping down from their saddles; and again there came the calm voice of the young officer:

"A dog, as I said. If aught else were said we should only be laughed at."

I was then mounted behind a trooper, and we rode on into the suburbs of Munich. Here we came across a stray carriage, into which I was lifted, and it was driven off to the Quatre Saisons—the young officer accompanying me, whilst a trooper followed with his horse, and the others rode off to their barracks.

When we arrived, Herr Delbrück rushed so quickly down the steps to meet me, that it was apparent he had been watching within. Taking me by both hands he solicitously led me in. The officer saluted me and was turning to withdraw, when I recognized his purpose, and insisted that he should come to my rooms. Over a glass of wine I warmly thanked him and his brave comrades for saving me. He replied simply that he was more than glad, and that Herr Delbrück had at the first taken steps to make all the searching party pleased; at which ambiguous utterance the maître d'hotel smiled, while the officer pleaded duty and withdrew.

"But Herr Delbrück," I enquired, "how and why was it that the soldiers searched for me?"

He shrugged his shoulders, as if in depreciation of his own deed, as he replied:

"I was so fortunate as to obtain leave from the commander of the regiment in which I served, to ask for volunteers."

"But how did you know I was lost?" I asked.

"The driver came hither with the remains of his carriage, which had been upset when the horses ran away."

"But surely you would not send a search-party of soldiers merely on this account?"

"Oh, no!" he answered; "but even before the coachman arrived, I had this telegram from the Boyar whose guest you are," and he took from his pocket a telegram which he handed to me, and I read:


"Be careful of my guest—his safety is most precious to me. Should aught happen to him, or if he be missed, spare nothing to find him and ensure his safety. He is English and therefore adventurous. There are often dangers from snow and wolves and night. Lose not a moment if you suspect harm to him. I answer your zeal with my fortune.—Dracula."

As I held the telegram in my hand, the room seemed to whirl around me; and, if the attentive maître d'hotel had not caught me, I think I should have fallen. There was something so strange in all this, something so weird and impossible to imagine, that there grew on me a sense of my being in some way the sport of opposite forces—the mere vague idea of which seemed in a way to paralyse me. I was certainly under some form of mysterious protection. From a distant country had come, in the very nick of time, a message that took me out of the danger of the snow-sleep and the jaws of the wolf.




SOURCE: A review of Dracula, by Bram Stoker. The Athenaeum, no. 3635 (26 June 1897): 235.

In the following review, the critic faults Stoker's sensationalism in Dracula while acknowledging his effective—if inconsistent—rendering of terror and mystery.

Stories and novels appear just now in plenty stamped with a more or less genuine air of belief in the visibility of supernatural agency. The strengthening of a bygone faith in the fantastic and magical view of things in lieu of the purely material is a feature of the hour, a reaction—artificial, perhaps, rather than natural—against late tendencies in thought. Mr. Stoker is the purveyor of so many strange wares that Dracula reads like a determined effort to go, as were, "one better" than others in the same field. How far the author is himself a believer in the phenomena described is not for the reviewer to say. He can but attempt to gauge how far the general faith in witches, warlocks, and vampires—supposing it to exist in any general and appreciable measure—is likely to be stimulated by this story. The vampire idea is very ancient indeed, and there are in nature, no doubt, mysterious powers to account for the vague belief in such beings. Mr. Stoker's way of presenting his matter, and still more the matter itself, are of too direct and uncompromising a kind. They lack the essential note of awful remoteness and at the same time subtle affinity that separates while it links our humanity with unknown beings and possibilities hovering on the confines of the known world. Dracula is highly sensational, but it is wanting in the constructive art as well as in the higher literary sense. It reads at times like a mere series of grotesquely incredible events; but there are better moments that show more power, though even these are never productive of the tremor such subjects evoke under the hand of a master. An immense amount of energy, a certain degree of imaginative faculty, and many ingenious and gruesome details are there. At times Mr. Stoker almost succeeds in creating the sense of possibility in impossibility; at others he merely commands an array of crude statements of incredible actions. The early part goes best, for it promises to unfold the roots of mystery and fear lying deep in human nature; but the want of skill and fancy grows more and more conspicuous. The people who band themselves together to run the vampire to earth have no real individuality or being. The German man of science is particularly poor, and indulges, like a German, in much weak sentiment. Still Mr. Stoker has got together a number of "horrid details," and his object, assuming it to be ghastliness, is fairly well fulfilled. Isolated scenes and touches are probably quite uncanny enough to please those for whom they are designed.


SOURCE: "Recent Novels." The Spectator (31 July 1897): 150-51.

In the following review, the critic asserts that the strength of Dracula lies in Stoker's vivid imagination.

Mr. Bram Stoker gives us the impression—we may be doing him an injustice—of having deliberately laid himself out in Dracula to eclipse all previous efforts in the domain of the horrible,—to "go one better" than Wilkie Collins (whose method of narration he has closely followed), Sheridan Le Fanu, and all the other professors of the flesh-creeping school. Count Dracula, who gives his name to the book, is a Transylvanian noble who purchases an estate in England, and in connection with the transfer of the property Jonathan Harker, a young solicitor, visits him in his ancestral castle. Jonathan Harker has a terrible time of it, for the Count—who is a vampire of immense age, cunning, and experience—keeps him as a prisoner for several weeks, and when the poor young man escapes from the gruesome charnel-house of his host, he nearly dies of brain-fever in a hospital at Buda-Pesth. The scene then shifts to England, where the Count arrives by sea in the shape of a dog-fiend, after destroying the entire crew, and resumes operations in various uncanny manifestations, selecting as his chief victim Miss Lucy Westenra, the fiancée of the Honourable Arthur Holmwood, heir-presumptive to Lord Godalming. The story then resolves itself into the history of the battle between Lucy's protectors, including two rejected suitors—an American and a "mad" doctor—and a wonderfully clever specialist from Amsterdam, against her unearthly persecutor. The clue is furnished by Jonathan Harker, whose betrothed, Mina Murray, is a bosom friend of Lucy's, and the fight is long and protracted. Lucy succumbs, and, worse still, is temporarily converted into a vampire. How she is released from this unpleasant position and restored to a peaceful post-mortem existence, how Mina is next assailed by the Count, how he is driven from England, and finally exterminated by the efforts of the league—for all these, and a great many more thrilling details, we must refer our readers to the pages of Mr. Stoker's clever but cadaverous romance. Its strength lies in the invention of incident, for the sentimental element is decidedly mawkish. Mr. Stoker has shown considerable ability in the use that he has made of all the available traditions of vampirology, but we think his story would have been all the more effective if he had chosen an earlier period. The up-to-dateness of the book—the phonograph diaries, typewriters, and so on—hardly fits in with the mediaval methods which ultimately secure the victory for Count Dracula's foes.


SOURCE: "Recent Novels." The Times, London, no. 35289 (23 August 1897): 6.

In the following review, the critic relates the plot of Dracula, asserts that it offers highly dramatic reading, and adds: "We would not, however, recommend it to nervous persons for evening reading."

Dracula cannot be described as a domestic novel, nor its annals as those of a quiet life. The circumstances described are from the first peculiar. A young solicitor sent for on business by a client in Transylvania goes through some unusual experiences. He finds himself shut up in a half ruined castle with a host who is only seen at night and three beautiful females who have the misfortune to be vampires. Their intentions, which can hardly be described as honourable, are to suck his blood, in order to sustain their own vitality. Count Dracula (the host) is also a vampire, but has grown tired of his compatriots, however young and beautiful, and has a great desire for what may literally be called fresh blood. He has therefore sent for the solicitor that through his means he may be introduced to London society. Without understanding the Count's views, Mr. Harker has good reason for having suspicions of his client. Wolves come at his command, and also fogs; he is also too clever by half at climbing. There is a splendid prospect from the castle terrace, which Mr. Harker would have enjoyed but for his conviction that he would never leave the place alive:—

In the soft moonlight the distant hills became melted, and the shadows in the valleys and gorges of velvety blackness. The mere beauty seemed to cheer me; there was peace and comfort in every breath I drew. As I leaned from the window my eye was caught by something moving a storey below me, and somewhat to my left, where I imagined, from the lie of the rooms, that the windows of the Count's own room would look out. The window at which I stood was tall and deep, stone-mullioned, and, though weatherworn, was still complete, but it was evidently many a day since the casement had been there. I drew back behind the stonework and looked carefully out.

What I saw was the Count's head coming out from the window. I did not see the face, but I knew the man by the neck and the movement of his back and arms. In any case, I could not mistake the hands, which I had had so many opportunities of studying. I was at first interested and somewhat amused, for it is wonderful how small a matter will int-rest and amuse a man when he is a prisoner. But my very feelings changed to repulsion and terror when I saw the whole man slowly emerge from the window and begin to crawl down the castle wall over that dreadful abyss, face down, with his cloak spreading out around him like great wings.

These scenes and situations, striking as they are, become commonplace compared with Count Dracula's goings on in London. As Falstaff was not only witty himself but the cause of wit in other people, so a vampire, it seems, compels those it has bitten (two little marks on the throat are its token, usually taken by the faculty for the scratches of a brooch) to become after death vampires also. Nothing can keep them away but garlic, which is, perhaps, why that comestible is so popular in certain countries. One may imagine, therefore, how the thing spread in London after the Count's arrival. The only chance of stopping it was to kill the Count before any of his victims died, and this was a difficult job, for, though several centuries old, he was very young and strong, and could become a dog or a bat at pleasure. However, it is undertaken by four resolute and highly-principled persons, and how it is managed forms the subject of the story, of which nobody can complain that it is deficient in dramatic situations. We would not, however, recommend it to nervous persons for evening reading.


SOURCE: Hogle, Jerrold E. "Stoker's Counterfeit Gothic: Dracula and Theatricality at the Dawn of Simulation." In Bram Stoker: History, Psychoanalysis, and the Gothic, edited by William Hughes and Andrew Smith, pp. 205-24. New York: Macmillan—St. Martin's, 1998.

In the following essay, Hogle illustrates how "Stoker builds on and intensifies the mixed 'counterfeit' foundations of Gothic fiction" in Dracula.

Bram Stoker is now widely celebrated as a major contributor to Gothic fiction—and even to Gothic theatre and film—but the exact nature of his contribution needs to be better understood. I want to show here that Stoker draws us forcefully back to the most basic foundations of 'Gothic' fiction and theatre, especially in Dracula, while simultaneously offering a 'zone of horror' that vividly harbours a host of anxieties basic to Anglo-European, white middle-class culture at both the fin de siècle of Stoker's time and our own turn of the century. For me it forms no mere coincidence that 1897, the 'birth-year' of Dracula, was the 100th anniversary of the death-year of Horace Walpole, the first writer to subtitle a novel 'A Gothic Story'. Stoker intensifies the most fundamental and lasting tendencies in the Walpolean Gothic, and does so, I would contend, nowhere more so than in Dracula. Even his alterations of the Gothic tradition, the ones most revealing of his own culture at his own historical moment, are arresting fulfilments of the principal 'technologies' (the modes of symbolisation) that emerge in the Gothic from the writings of Walpole through those of Radcliffe, Lewis, Polidori and Charlotte Brontë, to Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886).


If we review Dracula from a purely literary point of approach it must be acknowledged that there is much careless writing and many pages could have been compressed and something revised with considerable profit. It is hardly possible to feel any great interest in the characters, they are labels rather than individuals. As I have said, there are passages of graphic beauty, passages of graphic horror, but these again almost entirely occur within the first sixty pages. There are some capital incidents, for example the method by which Lord Godalming and his friend obtain admittance to No. 347 Piccadilly. Nor does this by any means stand alone.

However, when we have—quite fairly, I hope—thus criticized Dracula, the fact remains that it is a book of unwonted interest and fascination. Accordingly we are bound to acknowledge that the reason for the immense popularity of this romance—the reason why, in spite of obvious faults it is read and reread—lies in the choice of subject and for this the author deserves all praise.

SOURCE: Summers, Montague. "The Vampire in Literature." In The Vampire: His Kith and Kin. 1928. Reprint edition, pp. 271-340. New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1960.

To some extent, we already know how fully these links can be made. Because of work on the Gothic from the Freudian Marxism of Leslie Fiedler (1966), David Punter (1980) and Franco Moretti (1988) up through the recent feminist and cultural studies of Nina Auerbach, Anne Williams, Maggie Kilgour and Judith Halberstam (all 1995) among others, we have come to understand how the rising middle class since the eighteenth century 'displaces the hidden violence of present social structures, conjures them up again as past, and falls promptly under their spell' by specifically employing the Gothic mode in fiction, theatre, architecture and other forms.1 We now realise that quandaries about class conflicts and economic changes, uneasiness over shifting fam-ily arrangements and sexual boundaries, and versions of the 'other' which establish racial and cultural distinctions when traditional economic divisions are being challenged, are projected (or retrojected) together into frightening 'Gothic' spectres and monsters, from Walpole's ancestral effigy-ghost to the vampire-aristocrat from Transylvania. These both contain the socially 'unmentionable', yet bring it forth to be seen in some of its horror, albeit displaced and disguised in a fashion that is both alluring and repulsive. In particular, much as Halberstam asserts, Stoker's Count performs the longest-lasting function of Gothic ghosts/monsters/'others'. He/it 'aggregates' the kinds of men or women, races, class-types and social or sexual behaviours that are regarded as most 'foreign and perverse' by the Anglo-European middle class; and he/it conflates these into one figure designed to be set against 'a hegemonic ideal', to define that reigning ideological construct, in fact, by being its negation and its dark unconscious.2

Dracula enacts this Gothic 'ghosting' so thoroughly, and aggregates so wide a range of culturally defined 'perversities' in the process, that he/it becomes, not just a Gothic 'other', but 'foreignness' incarnate and 'otherness itself'.3 As some of the best readings of Dracula have shown, the vampire, being a corpse (an 'it') as well as an animate humanoid (apparently a 'he'), can embody a range of potentially oxymoronic significations. Thus Dracula condenses the invasion of life by death and vice versa, as well as a range of racial, cultural, sexual/heterosexual and gender tensions. Stoker's 'creature' is a mixture of so many culturally fashioned contraries that (s)he/it threatens the socio-economic distinctions of its author's culture with complete dissolution, a vampiric death that could suck the life from them in a perverse intercourse between numerous realms, all supposedly separate.

No wonder some recent analysts of Dracula choose to see this kind of 'monster' as a version of what Julia Kristeva has called 'the abject', or of the process of 'abjection'.4 Like Kristeva's 'abject', the vampire is an utterly betwixt-and-between anomaly which includes its 'other' as a part of itself: it is living/dead, maternal/paternal, human/ animal. Such a condition echoes the most primal, and thus the most abject-ed, state in Powers of Horror: the moment of birth where the emerging infant is half-inside and half-outside the mother, partly dead and partly alive (arguably, 'un-dead'), in a liminal 'either/or' of which we retain dim somatic memories.5 During the growth of the 'civilised' individual, this state and others like it must be 'thrown off' or 'thrown under' a different and more socially coherent realm, so that a seemingly independent body and subject can, with cultural support, emerge, though always with a pre-conscious longing and loathing for the 'root' heterogeneity so basic to it. The Gothic monster, such as Dracula, is a 'throwing' of this 'abject' into a supposedly alien figure which seems to take it all far away from 'us' into 'strange' class, racial, geographical, historical and largely non-human conditions. At the same time, this 'other' brings us face to face, and haunts us with what we in the Anglo-European West would most dissociate from ourselves, though it is at the deepest foundations of ourselves: the heterogeneous, even multigendered, physical, familial, racial, cultural and symbolic conditions into which and out of which we are actually born. Like Walpole's portrait-ghost, which is dead and alive, a painting and a person, Stoker's Dracula is an 'other' which contains and sequesters many later cultural anomalies, combining and scapegoating the anxieties they arouse in his day and ours, extending the symbolic method of abjecting many heterogeneities which Walpole first suggested within his 'Gothic Story'.6

But there are ways, it appears, in which Dracula does not seem to repeat the Gothic tradition at all. Jennifer Wicke has argued how much Stoker's book is produced out of the Western technologies of communication in the late 1890s. Its presentation of the tale through coded journal entries, letters, transcriptions of recordings, telegrams and newspaper articles or advertisements, while somewhat reflective of the 'Gothic' penchant for documents within documents, is far more dependent on near twentieth-century uses of shorthand, typewriting, phonograph records, photography, the telegraph and the mass-market circulation of journalism, all of which help to produce 'the mechanical replication of culture' in Stoker's time and ours.7 One threat now embodied in the vampire-aristocrat, Wicke points out, since he/it is already a hollowed-out, living-dead version of a late medieval warlord, is its/his resemblance to the forms of mass culture which now depict it and try to contain it, and which it employs itself in its quest for blood. Both the vampire and the newest mechanical modes of reproduction and reception transform human beings into the merest husks or signs of their supposed selves in a process that increasingly generates 'evacuated social languages'—mere signifiers—as representations of people.8 For Lucy Westenra, who is both transmogrified by Dracula and 'vamped' by the fictional press accounts of her activity, this is to be turned into a figure of continual consumption so much so that consuming, especially all-consuming, women seem more and more alike as the novel goes on. In that condition even a woman's potential 'unruliness of speech' is 'technologised' into wording, and thus into behaviour, that suits the 'print-language of hegemony' (the sanctioned discourses about women), whether a woman resists it (in the way Lucy attempts) or mostly submits to it (as Mina does).9 The vampire, meanwhile, the more he/it learns the forms of modern British mass culture so as both to invade and circulate in England effectively, comes to embody the very mechanical and linguistic means of English imperialism over other cultures, its symbolic sucking of their life-blood, the same means that Dracula's British observers use on him/it supposedly to subdue his/its/her foreign otherness.

This connection of the 'other' to increased mass-market simulation and hence to another 'unconscious' level in the culture, however, is also fundamentally Gothic. As E. J. Clery has demonstrated, the 'supernatural in The Castle of Otranto figures … a conflict between two versions of economic "personality"': landed property and the private family.10 The Gothic, or really the early capitalist imitation of much older 'Gothic' structures, is haunted from its beginnings by what we also find in Count Dracula: the heterogeneity of incompatible tendencies in the Western middle-class self pulled backwards and forwards in conflicting economic and social directions, one of which turns the self into a marketable representation, the self as picture or sign, able to gain wide circulation like a coin or a middle-class novel. For Stoker thus to emphasise the modes of symbolic production in a more recent capitalist world where every represented being becomes alienated into the exchangeable figurations of itself is therefore for him to drive once more down to the Gothic's most basic underpinnings, its harkening back towards antiquated social orders within the advance of its symbols towards the 'free market' circulation and consumption of uprooted signifiers.

As I have argued elsewhere, the Walpolean 'Gothic' is constituted from the start by fakery in its use of fragmented and evacuated figures from the past—the 'counterfeit' nature of the picture or effigy that appears at the very heart of what haunts most 'Gothic Stories' in explicitly figural animations of the already dead.11 The Gothic allows the at least partly middle-class reader and author to feel the attraction of the lost and once 'magical' powers in the now emptied icons of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Yet, further, it permits the marketing of these symbols as false antiquities which give their new consumers the power to recirculate—and thus profit from—them without being strictly bound to their old meanings and contexts of social order. The moving signs of the distant past (such as Walpole's portrait-ghost or Count Dracula), however, are not simply counterfeits, but ghosts of counterfeits in the eighteenth-century Gothic and its progeny. Jean Baudrillard has helped us to view the Renaissance to which the Walpolean Gothic looks back as a time when signs—words, gestures, behaviours, modes of dress, ways of spending money, the rhetorical and theatrical presentations of the self—were generally conceived of as already counterfeit. Such signs were 'counterfeit' because they were both recollections of supposedly 'natural' links of birth and status to their signifiers in medieval times and highly mobile figures that could be moved from person to person as the rising beneficiaries of post-medieval urban mercantilism gained the capacity to wear clothes, spend money, use words and otherwise display relocated and fabricated marks of rank which were not 'naturally' theirs as they might have had to be in the 'Dark Ages'.12

The Renaissance fake, with all its nostalgia for 'bound meaning' (Baudrillard's phrase), gives way in The Castle of Otranto to a simulacrum of it, available for 'freer' circulation aimed at social, political or economic effect, especially since the most hidden sin of Manfred's grandfather (the fakery behind the portrait) turns out to be his counterfeiting of a will which transferred Otranto from its founding aristocratic owners to his less upper-class, more entrepreneurial family. By taking that ghost of the counterfeit(er) and recasting it further, with some intervening Gothic (and other) influences, into a vampire-aristocrat who tries to master and is mastered by many simulacra of the mass market, Bram Stoker attains his great stature as a Gothic novelist in the way he extends the chief symbolic indicators of the cultural conflicts, aspirations and anxieties that lie at the highly unsettled foundations of Gothic novels and plays.

Dracula, like most 'Gothic Stories' from Walpole on, is a highly theatrical novel. Indeed, it combines aspects of the numerous French and English vampire melodramas staged from the 1820s onwards with Stoker's own sense of vampire theatre, the mass market and even of Henry Irving, the demanding egotist whom many consider as one of the models for the constantly role-playing Count Dracula.13

In the rest of this essay, I shall argue generally that Stoker builds on and intensifies the mixed 'counterfeit' foundations of Gothic fiction by working through, and being driven by, what Baudrillard has revealed as the half-hidden assumptions about signs in the West that come out of and displace the sense of the sign as counterfeit. Dracula, as it reproduces the Walpolean ghost of the counterfeit, plays out and points to two progressions: first, the turn from the assumptions that animate the counterfeit to those of the 'simulacrum', the industrial age sense of the sign as a 'copy' struck off from a mechanically produced mould (itself a ghost of the counterfeit); and, later, the shift from that schema to the even more modern sign as primarily a 'simulation' referring to other simulations, more and more a 'hyperreality' (for Baudrillard a 'code') without single moulds for originals, even at its moments of nostalgia for older forms of supposedly direct reference from sign to person or object.14 What has always been 'ghosted' in the Gothic has been the terror of the historical passage into a bourgeois promoted, yet mechanised, order of sign-production and reproduction. In this order the longing for older sureties of reference, however ideological they really were, is conscripted into capitalistic exchanges of signs for signs and the consequent effort to represent a now more privatised 'inner' self in outward figures that are reproduced mechanically and circulated by their mechanisms through and beyond 'private' spaces.15 Stoker's Dracula deals both indirectly and directly with this historical passage, its tensions and its anxieties, by contrasting them as quandaries at the heart of the Gothic. The chilling possibilities of Baudrillard's 'digital and programmatic sign' is faced incipiently by the Gothic ghost of the counterfeit as early as Walpole and is confronted far more directly in Stoker's vision of the vampiric simulacrum of the ghost of the counterfeit in a world of everincreasing simulation.16

This process appears in Dracula when Stoker has Mina set the stage into which Dracula enters when he/it first arrives on British shores. The scene is the resort town of Whitby, and Mina's Radcliffean journal-description of it keeps finding itself forced to admit the entirely simulated 'nature' in how the scene is viewed and rendered by its viewer:

A great viaduct runs across, with high piers, through which the view seems somehow further away than it really is…. The houses of the old town … are all red-roofed, and seem piled up one over the other anyhow, like the pictures we see of Nuremberg. Right over the town is the ruin of Whitby Abbey, which was sacked by the Danes, and which is the scene of part of 'Marmion,' where the girl was built up in the wall. It is a most noble ruin, of immense size, and full of beautiful and romantic bits; there is a legend that a white lady is seen in one of the windows. Between it and the town there is another church, the parish one, round which is a big graveyard, all full of tombstones…. I shall come and sit here very often myself and work. Indeed, I am writing now, with my book on my knee, and listening to the talk of three old men who are sitting beside me.17

There could hardly be a more quintessentially 'Gothic' setting, the continual presentation of each portion of the scene being followed at once by indicators of its artificial existence in its framing by a painter's or tourist's representation, or in its having been written in a book. If a part of the scene is not framed within other parts by the reproduction of it, it is textualised by the allusions, literary or legendary, that it already seems to carry with it. The whole landscape then becomes most explicitly a text when the handwriting of it is mentioned directly and the act of writing is complicated by the further intertextual references provided by the old men telling stories about the place. All this is 'Gothic' counterfeiting presented as such within a series of layers that recounterfeit it again and again. The once medieval and ruined Gothic abbey is recontextualised by more current (and marketable) reframings of it; these reframings themselves are reframed by tourist points of view; and these latter perspectives are coloured and reoriented by the texts of authors, legends or older folk. Ultimately, too, all these layers gain their places in this series of simulations by being admittedly written down yet again—and in 'shorthand' (p. 53), which has to be transcribed into what we now read, a document of rewriting included among many 'papers' and 'records … given from the standpoints and within the range of knowledge of those who made them' (p. xxxviii). Mina explicitly fashions all such transcriptions according to 'what I see lady journalists do' under a very prescribed code for 'interviewing and writing descriptions' (p. 54).

Even more to the point, the 'objects' being simulated at this juncture turn out to be mostly counterfeits of counterfeiting within themselves, particularly the tombstones in the graveyard. One of the old men whom Mina hears talking in the cemetery is the seemingly oracular Mr Swales, an apparently marginal character who, according to William Veeder, 'indicts the hollowness of the patriarchal structures' of knowledge in the novel. Early in the narrative, for example, he reveals to Mina 'that the graves of the sailors in Whitby Churchyard are all empty, and thus that the tombstones' [inscribed] pieties are all hollow rhetoric'.18 Even the stones that actually encrypt physical bodies are quite often simulacra of fakery by Swales' account, as in the case of the 1873 grave of 'George Canon', where the 'tomb' is inscribed as 'erected by his sorrowing mother to her dearly beloved son', even though this 'mother was a hell-cat that hated' her son and 'he committed suicide in order that she mightn't get an insurance she put on his life' (pp. 66-7).

All the surfaces of Whitby seen in this light become potentially opaque misrepresentations and signifiers of hollowed-out and uncertain pasts which can be reconstructed only with allusions to verbalised knowledge, much of it little more reliable than the tourist-oriented legend of the White Lady in the abbey. To be sure, Swales later tries to recant his claim that 'The whole thing be only lies' (p. 65) when he seeks to restore the conventional religious text of hope beyond the grave to soften his premonition that 'soon the Angel of Death will sound his trumpet for me' (p. 74). But what he gets in answer to his proleptic final reference is an extremely false Angel of Death by Christian standards. Swales dies of a broken neck at the hands of the too-white Dracula, who leaves the old sage frozen with 'a look of fear and horror on his face' (p. 87). He has seen 'Death with his dying eyes' (p. 87), though his grimace is also a reaction to the falsity of another lie: Dracula's simulation and negation of what the Angel of Death is supposed to be and do. Swales exposes the simulated nature of virtually all perceived 'reality'. The very origins, as well as English settings, of Dracula stem partly from simulations of earlier Gothic fictions, combined with accounts such as Emily Gerard's 'Transylvanian Superstitions', the contents of which are superimposed upon British locations that were already filled with simulacra of a counterfeited past.19

Dracula, consequently, as he enters this stage (which is such a palimpsest of signs), is, among other things, an anamorphosis towards multiple simulations of what was already a simulacrum of the Gothic ghost of the counterfeit. The Lord Ruthven-style vampire-aristocrat had become a 'stock villain' in the novels and theatres of England, France and Germany well before Stoker's Count.20 As early as the 1830s, it was established as an industrial age 'mould' which for decades was copied with only minimal variation. This now hackneyed simulacrum of the Polidorian counterfeit, a subject of satire by the 1870s and 1880s, is turned by Stoker into an almost endless and groundless set of simulations from the moment Dracula first appears to Jonathan Harker 'like a statue' all in black (p. 15).21

The opening of such a Gothic simulacrum to a past and future of simulation permeates this scene and much that surrounds it. Here Dracula harkens back to the second major ghost of a counterfeit in The Castle of Otranto, the 'black marble' effigy on the tomb of the castle's founder, which suddenly becomes enlarged, fragmented and hauntingly mobile.22 Harker even goes on to renounce the very literary lineage behind Walpole's ghosts of mere figures when Dracula's departure at 'cock crow' makes the young lawyer view him as 'like the ghost of Hamlet's father' just after the Count has lamented that 'the glories of the great races [of past warrior-princes] are now as a tale that is told' in the more modern world (pp. 29-30). Only a little later, Harker discovers that this ghost of a ghost of a counterfeit and self-confessed and self-textualised remnant of old-style aristocrats can assume virtually any other visage at will, including Jonathan's own (pp. 44, 48). This is a multiplicity far beyond that of any previous figure in the Ruthven tradition. As Harker himself records in shorthand 'all that has happened', so he finds himself bringing the stock vampire-aristocrat 'up-to-date with a vengeance' (p. 36). Moreover, at the conclusion of the novel, the Count is found in his coffin looking 'just like a waxen image', and thus arguably like a Walpolean statue converted to a simulated live body in a wax museum of Stoker's own day (p. 376). Once the traditional penetration of the vampire is achieved, 'the whole body crumble[s] to dust' in an instant, not only because Dracula has been dead for centuries and his sins lead from dust to dust in Christian terms, but also because the 'ground' of all his/its simulations is no more than this non-existence all along, an ageold and now recreated 'dissolution' (p. 377). Stoker's Dracula in any embodiment, even in his most native and settled state, is never more than a synthetic image of other images, while any 'essence' sought behind the forms his body takes turns out to be no more than an absence or a constant passing away. All of this comes from an interplay of texts that Stoker read, rather than from any first-hand knowledge of Transylvania. There is no 'essential Dracula' in Stoker's work beyond a combination of second hand simulacra or stories. Stoker's Dracula at any level is always already a recollection of previous deaths in the process of changing from one form to another, since it has never come from anything other than an interaction of forms of the dead.

When Dracula takes already Gothic ghosts of counterfeits, and even their hackneyed simulacra, and turns them into simulations nearly always in the process of turning into or away from others, it is not simply because Stoker incorporates his awareness of the newest sign-making technologies into them, even if Wicke is right to notice him doing so. It is also because his refigurations of the Gothic ghost and the vampire-aristocrat all draw forth the increasingly visible tendency in post-Renaissance 'Gothic' counterfeits and simulacra to become sheer figures of other figures, one of the sources of a modern way of life based so entirely on simulations. Stoker does not just employ forms of mass communication, though they do provide his text with an ironically unreal 'realism', an illusion of journalistic truth very much of his time; he also shows how such newer simulations and recast Gothic monsters have finally become forms of one another as they all suck some of the life out of the objects of their attentions. The reason for this convergence of symbolic modes is what both underlies and is made possible by the shift from the industrial simulacrum to modern simulation: the growing tendency in Western middle-class life to define the 'inner self' through the 'others' of artificially reproduced forms, many of which are emptied-out recastings of past figures (such as the Walpolean ghost or the conventional vampire-aristocrat when Stoker first encounters it). Dracula him/itself in Stoker's novel supremely incarnates this inevitably doomed quest. From the start, the vampire is grasping at the 'other' of English signifiers and accoutrements such as Bradshaw's Guide and 'Kodak views' of a Gothic house in London, all to keep incessantly renewing his/its anomalous, yet largely empty existence (pp. 22-3). As a result, he/it can be constructed as the 'other' into which Stoker's other characters can 'throw over' the anguished creation of the self in the pursuit of ever-circulating commodity-signifiers—a pursuit which they fear to acknowledge, but on the basis of which they strive to 'become'.

It is one thing to say that Dracula's 'otherness' from it/himself—seeking and feeding on simulation after simulation to keep the Count the anomaly that he/it is—can be made a symbolic repository for that same tendency in his/its observers and readers. It is quite another to understand how such a Gothic 'abjection' of this monster's and his audience's relation to signs can also become the means by which Stoker, his other characters, and his readers 'throw off' many more contradictory conditions basic to themselves: the often repressed but very real crossings of the cultural boundaries established between species, races, ethnicities, classes, sexes, sexualities, stages of evolution, forms of expression, life and death, or even our own body as opposed to the body of the mother. How and why, in the figure of Dracula, can a forcing of the Gothic ghost of the counterfeit into a near-explosion of simulations of simulacra be so effective as an 'abject' site for so many varied, primordial yet 'thrown down' possibilities of being? What, indeed, are the effects of an abjection of all of these into a both horrifying and alluring Gothic performer of nearly endless simulations and no one foundation? Exactly how are this abjection and the reader's responses to it bound up with the theatricality that Stoker clearly brings to Dracula —the very Gothic theatricality of the spectre/actor as 'a figure in a picture'—and with the myriad technological and increasingly public forms of narration in which he finally frames his sometimes stagy scenes?

One answer lies in Stoker's rendition of Irving's philosophy of theatrical acting in Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving. Granted, in line with his famous endorsement of semi-'realistic' over declamatory acting, Irving (as Stoker quotes him) advocates a performance that is 'a truthful picture' based on 'a definite conception of what [the actor] wants to convey', rooted in a truth that is 'supreme and eternal' and yet is grasped individually in 'the working of the mind … before the tongue gives it words'.23 But this 'working' generally begins for Stoker's Irving in an actor's knowledge of existing simulacra, a 'study in recognisable material types and differentiated individual instances of the same type' (Vol. 2, p. 7). Behaviours adaptable for theatre are 'recognisable' mainly because there is one 'material' figure of each kind, as in printer's type, which many copies can repeat with some variations across particular 'instances' in an era of mechanical reproduction. Then, too, in this 'combining [of] things already created', the Irving-Stoker actor is really engaged in an 'accumulation of … effects' (supposedly Irving's words), which Stoker translates as a continual 'clothing of the player's own identity with the attributes of another', layer upon layer, under the assumption that the 'player's identity' is itself 'of [a] plastic nature', a malleable, synthetic formation already inclined towards continual reformation (Vol. 2, pp. 8-10). Platonic and organic metaphors for the basis of acting, while certainly recalled and attempted in this redaction of a dead celebrity's philosophy, are constantly pulled towards figures of simulacrum-repetition whose overtones oscillate between the mechanical replication of standardised forms and the sheer transmigration and translation of images without their having to be manufactured one by one from moulds. For Irving, Stoker concludes, the transition from words on the page to a staged enactment of them is determined most by the 'phantasmal image which is conveyed [to the actor] from the words of the poet' (Vol. 2, p. 24), words that are themselves phantasmal. The actor, then, achieves an effective 'figure in a picture' only if he or she, in a layering of simulacrum effects, can materially reproduce an immaterial but visualisable spectre prompted by different visible spectres of past writing. At his time and in the words he writes, theatricality for Stoker is irretrievably inhabited by the simulation of simulacra of older ghostly counterfeitings.

The more theatre in the 1890s turns out to be based on the simulation of simulacra, as is certainly the case in Stoker's vision of Henry Irving as well as Dracula, the more it resembles the simulacra of the Gothic ghost of the counterfeit. While this is partly because Stoker thinks quite 'Gothically' by this time in consequence of extensive reading and some writing in that mode, it is also because he faces a 'Gothicising' of theatre in the way he believes he must represent drama and its greatest actor for the middle and upper classes during this period. Stoker and his view of Irving keep being pulled into a rhetoric, very much within their pretensions to 'realism'; one which states that 'all art has the aim or object of seeming and not of being' (Vol. 2, p. 17) in the sense that all performances, including Stoker's in his biography of Irving, are the Walpolesque animations of 'phantasmal images' projected by mere ciphers and fleshed out by an 'accumulation' of simulacrum 'effects'.

Now we are beginning to see at least partial answers to some of our remaining questions. Fin-de-siècle theatricality, simulation and recast Gothic all become aspects of each other in and around Dracula because all three are especially pointed enactments of the Western progression in human self-projection from the use of the sign as counterfeit to the simulation of simulacra of counterfeits of the past.

Moreover, we have now arrived at evidence for how Stoker's life is bound up with such a Gothic interaction of modes at the time he wrote Dracula. What else but a rhetoric of simulation about acting could Bram Stoker use? He was, after all, the factotum of Irving, in charge of the advertising, promotion, theatre-refurbishing, inviting of reviewers, portrait-commissioning, finance and even ghost-writing of correspondence. This the 'business' of simulating the simulations in the theatre, out of which Irving's public image and drawing-power were to a great extent built.24 Stoker's ghostly descriptions of theatricality, even when he tries to resist the simulation in them, are driven by the economics of widely circulating figures of figures underpinning and marketing the theatre and its top 'actor-managers'. As his narration of Irving's career proceeds, Stoker reveals that the money-raising and advertisements that supposedly furthered the Lyceum acting had become the prime movers of which the acting was now the effect: 'the more [Irving] had to spend [on production and its consequences] the harder he had to work to earn the wherewithal to do it' (Vol. 2, p. 313). Money rendered as a representation of, or entitlement to, theatre had become the exchangeable simulacrum which drove the theatre to pursue every available form of capital as a goal in itself. Stoker and Irving, in the former's increas-ingly Gothic account, became frantic seekers after properties, tours and financial backers, to the point of finally signing contracts that later came back to haunt them (Vol. 2, pp. 315-20). Dracula, as we have noted, though more obsessed with blood than money supply, is a deeply complicated extension of this craving. That is partly because this ever-unsatisfied, economically-driven, always newly simulated and thus frightening state of being is inseparable for Stoker from the condition of theatre, acting and the business of both in London at the end of the nineteenth century.

The greater terror in these ways of viewing the self by 1897, however, is the possibility that they and their increasingly groundless foundations may really be governing middle-class life outside the theatre. In other words, those living a middle-class existence are consciously or preconsciously driven to cast it symbolically away from themselves into what seems 'only' fictional, theatrical or 'other.' Stoker's awareness of these intertwined tendencies is quite apparent in the short nonfiction biographies he offers in Famous Impostors (1910). In this volume a series of fake constructions of identity down through history is presented as beginning no earlier than the late Middle Ages or the dawn of the Renaissance, the exact time-frame most simulated by 'Gothic' fictions later, and the era in which the sense of signs as largely 'counterfeit' arises.25 During that period the imposture of the book's first case, that of Perkin Warbeck, a false pretender to royal succession, comes about, not as in John Ford's play or Mary Shelley's novel about him, but primarily because his 'family was of the better middle class' in the 'manufacturing and commercial' 'Low Countries [of] the fifteenth century'. Upon such a stage 'growing youths [came] in touch at many points with commerce, industry and war', fields of activity in which origins could be disguised and from which others might thus cast a 'susceptible' youth into the 'part' of a Plantagenet heir.26 Somewhat earlier in late medieval times, too, the legend of the 'Wandering Jew', a precursor figure for Dracula, had its source for Stoker in the 'gossip of an Armenian lacquey' conveyed to a 'serving brother of the monastery' of the Middle Eastern Bishop who later published the story as fact (p. 10). The Wandering Jew was and remains an impostor in the sense of being no more than a 'marvellous [Eastern] story' (p. 111) from the start. Yet the legend grew, a much recounterfeited counterfeit, from the thirteenth though to the sixteenth centuries by Stoker's account, because these 'were the ages of Jew-baiting in the kingdoms of the West' (p. 113) when many evil qualities were attributed to Jews as scapegoats, of whom the Wanderer was an exaggerated composite conflating 'many old beliefs and fables'.

Imposture for Stoker is usually a veiling of questionable middle-class affiliations or longings behind the appropriated features and symbols of other classes or a layering of fables on top of fables, with no more than stories at the base. Into the latter fears and prejudices are projected by the observers who employ and recast these convenient 'others'. These processes as Stoker sees them, however bogus, are increasingly the means since the thirteenth century by which 'selves' and their 'others' have been fashioned by a great many bourgeois Europeans in both historical circumstances and in the crafting of fictions. All these different forms of imposture operate in and are cast upon Stoker's Dracula, who anamorphoses into an immense variety of simulations precisely as he/it continues to enact middle-class self-construction and exists as a site for what is 'thrown off' in that process to produce an illusion of coherent identity. Indeed, as Stoker says in revealing the legend of the Wandering Jew as groundless, 'It is the tendency' of such 'beliefs to group or nucleate themselves as though there were a conscious and intentional effort at self-protection' (p. 111), even when no single person or group makes the effort on their own. For Stoker there is a force in counterfeiting ideologies and collations of symbols that layers simulacra over earlier fabrications, thereby protecting the root imposture (the basic anomaly of a false truth) so that the 'baiting' (or othering) that is repeatedly directed at the often-recast construction is never seen for the falsehood and imposture that it is too.

At this point we can more clearly say why Gothic ghosts of counterfeiting, theatrical 'figures in a picture', are unusually effective places for abjections of 'thrown off' and anomalous conditions, particularly when they acquire as many simulations as Stoker's Dracula does and when these simulations harbour as many othered states of transition as Dracula is able to incarnate and mask. Such figures joining with and 'nucleating' others are driven by that very mechanism to cover and thus to 'protect' such multiple 'foundations' even as they work also to reveal them, albeit minimally, within that production of disguise after disguise. This layered concealment is even more active in Dracula's continual mutation of him/itself in many different visages and locations, since all these 'experiments' (p. 302), as Van Helsing calls them, are designed to prevent detection of the actual 'weaknesses' that he/it harbours in being so floating a signifier of perpetual dissolution. This cloaking of layering by layering itself is what allows Gothic simulations of simulacra to perform processes of abjection, to 'throw down' or 'throw under' features of themselves within the spectral veils upon veils out of which they are formed. They are thus especially apt locations into which their spectators and audience can 'throw off' the anomalies in themselves and their basic recollections, already complexes of dim memories and vague understandings recast in forms not their own. This personal incoherence, which includes the insecurities and ideological conflicts endemic to the European middle classes, can find few more suitable repositories for itself than a ghostly Gothic palimpsest. The manner of this figure's layered construction is similar to how the bourgeois sense of self has developed historically and individually, yet the same figure is able to conceal that development behind supposedly antiquated and alien surfaces. Indeed, the more distorting simulations there are, as in Dracula's case, the better the monster is for incarnating both cultural and human multiplicity and for covering it over as 'stranger than strange' at the same time. Finding anomalies at their own roots, the middle classes generate a greater and greater need to produce the self through multiple simulations they cannot control. Hence, they need a multi-levelled Dracula as an 'abject' both to take all those horrors into a 'darkness visible', and to make all of them seem alien and nearly invisible in many simulations of simulacra of Gothic ghosts of the counterfeit.

To be sure, this symbolic abjection throughout the Gothic becomes the object of relatively orthodox religious, scientific and paternalistic containment. Stoker is justly (in)famous for presenting the technological searching out, the academic verbalisation and the ritualistic (and phallic) staking of vampires, aggressive women and old-style aristocrats by the Anglo-American/Continental alliance instructed and led by Van Helsing. But, as with the 'causes' for abjecting simulations recounted above, the effects that Stoker produces with his counterfeit Gothic are never ones of simple castigation and repression. His achievement in Dracula is a supremely Gothic one for yet another reason: he uses the Gothic novel's endemic oscillation between theatricality and narrative to intensify its ideological hesitation between the conservative preservation of public social orders and the transgressive attraction in returns of the repressed. In Stoker's book, for example, the much discussed feeding of Mina from Dracula's breast is presented twice, almost in succession. First there is its simulation in the diary of Dr Seward,

His face was turned from us, but the instant we saw we all recognised the Count—in every way, even to the scar on his forehead. With his left hand he held both Mrs. Harker's hands, keeping them away with her arms at full tension; his right hand gripped her by the back of the neck, forcing her face down on his bosom.

                                   (p. 282)

And then there is Mina's own half-dreamy recollection (interpolated later in Seward's journal) of this 'nursing' form of intercourse which also resembles fellatio:

'You have aided in thwarting me; now you shall come to my call. When my brain says "Come!" to you, you shall cross land or sea to do my bidding; and to that end this!' With that he pulled open his shirt, and with his long sharp nails opened a vein in his breast. When the blood began to spurt out, he took my hands in one of his, holding them tight, and with the other seized my neck and pressed my mouth to the wound, so that I must either suffocate or swallow some of the—Oh, my God, my God! what have I done?'

                                   (p. 288)

Although these simulations of Mina's simulacrum narrative say much about the multiple interpretations of anything prompted by the different perspectives in Dracula, they also epitomise and strengthen the interaction of conflicting techniques and attitudes in the counterfeit Gothic. Seward's own account is both scientifically exact (and therefore rationally removed to some degree) and extremely theatrical, describing the precise arrangement of the figures in the scene as though the Doctor's words were a set of directions for theatrical 'blocking'. Mina's version is more the work of the narrative stenographer, the 'lady journalist', who sequentially recounts the words spoken and the actions performed—until the final shift when her description gives way to self-dramatising confession and abject religious repentance. In both cases, dispassionate narrative is pulled towards the theatricalising of the self and others, and distance is then only half-restored by the dramatised repulsion of a horror which cannot hide its own erotic interest in the spurting, even eating, of seminal fluids. If Seward's version tilts towards the descriptive dispassion of a stage manager, Mina's offers the immediate, almost pornographic involvement of the actress, yet only as she goes on to make a confession to the male transcriber of her words. Meanwhile, the repetition of the scene simultaneously increases its sensuous attraction and sado-masochistic horror on the one hand, and encourages greater judgemental distance from the 'act' on the other, even as the act is more and more physically described. Then, too, since each simulation of the scene is similar, but not exactly the same, and both views come coloured by emotions and cultural scripts, there is no single 'more original version', no 'primal' scene outside all perceivers, not even a master simulacrum at the base of these multiple renditions.

Bram Stoker in Dracula has forcefully carried the Gothic ghost of the counterfeit to its more modern extension in the haunting explosion of simulations, including media simulations, with no single source. After all, this metamorphic progression of ideologies is one in which the very middle-class author, his world of the theatre, the development of the Gothic, and the economy of England were all very much caught by 1897. At the same time, though, Stoker's exaggeration of long-standing Gothic tendencies intensifies and complicates the Gothic's placement (and pulling) of the reader between hegemonic social dominations felt as both necessary and confining, and the disguised visualisation of what hegemony abjects or 'throws off', felt as both desirable and horrifically repellent. Stoker's Dracula makes his many simulations of numerous abjected anomalies both objects of virulent, even excessively patriarchal repression and riveting allurements for desire, especially as desire moves from simulation to simulation much more than the public ideology of the bourgeois self generally allows. Even before Stoker advocated the censorship of sexually explicit language in a 1908 article and died in 1912 of what has since been revealed as a syphilis contracted through extramarital sex, his greatest Gothic novel narratively and dramatically placed both author and reader between the force of suppression, the denial of endless simulation in the face of it, and the half-tempting, half-horrifying force of constant self-transformation—the option half-secretly held out to middle-class longing by the movement across simulations on which desire now depends for self-definition.27 To some degree, the Gothic has always been about this conflicted position, for characters and readers, partly because the Walpolean Gothic ghost of the counterfeit looks both backward to 'grounded' absolutes and forward to the sheer exchange of signifying commodities. Stoker, most vividly in Dracula, brings that oscillation between the possible foundations of bourgeois identity to the edge of the twentieth century—and then into it in his later works. He does so first by extending the capacity of the Gothic fake for harbouring and concealing abjections and then by using it to make us both see and not see so many of the basic anomalies that we strive to deny, yet deeply desire, in our always theatrical quest for selfhood in a world of simulations.


1. David Punter, The Literature of Terror (1980), 2 vols (London: Longman, 1996) Vol. 2, p. 198.

2. Judith Halberstam, Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Durham NC: Duke University Press, 1995) pp. 88, 101 and 89.

3. Ibid., pp. 105 and 88.

4. Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982); Halberstam, Skin Shows, p. 18; J.E. Hogle, 'The Struggle for a Dichotomy: Abjection. in Jekyll and his Interpreters', in W. Veeder and G. Hirsch, eds, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde After One Hundred Years (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988) pp. 161-207; Anne Williams, Art of Darkness: A Poetics of Gothic (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995) pp. 66-79 and 124-34.

5. Kristeva, Powers of Horror, p. 10.

6. Kathleen L. Spencer, 'Purity and Danger: Dracula, the Urban Gothic, and the Late Victorian Degeneracy Crisis', ELH, LIX (1992) 179-225, at pp. 209-14.

7. Jennifer Wicke, 'Vampiric Typewriting: Dracula and its Media', ELH, LIX (1992) 467-93, at p. 476.

8. Ibid., pp. 472 and 478.

9. Ibid., p. 488.

10. E. J. Clery, The Rise of Supernatural Fiction, 1762–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995) p. 77.

11. Jerrold E. Hogle, 'The Ghost of the Counterfeit in the Genesis of the Gothic', in Allan Lloyd Smith and Victor Sage, eds, Gothick Origins and Innovations (Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1994) pp. 23-33; and 'Frankenstein as Neo-Gothic: From the Ghost of the Counterfeit to the Monster of Abjection', in Tilottama Rajan and Julia Wright, eds, Reforming Genre in British Romanticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

12. Jean Baudrillard, 'The Structural Law of Value and the Order of Simulacra', trans. Charles Levin, in John Fekete, ed., The Structural Allegory: Reconstructive Encounters with the New French Thought (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984) pp. 54-73 and 61-2.

13. See Roxana Stuart, Stage Blood: Vampires of the 19th-Century Stage (Bowling Green: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1994) pp. 190-3.

14. Baudrillard, 'The Structural Law of Value …', pp. 62-73.

15. Andrea Henderson, '"An Embarrassing Subject": Use Value and Exchange Value in Early Gothic Characterisation', in M.A. Favret and N. J. Watson, eds, At the Limits of Romanticism: Essays in Cultural, Feminist, and Materialist Criticism (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1994) pp. 225-45.

16. Baudrillard, 'The Structural Law of Value …', p. 65.

17. Bram Stoker, Dracula, ed. Maud Ellmann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996) pp. 62-3, italics mine. All subsequent references are to this edition, and are given in the text.

18. William Veeder, 'Foreword', to M. Carter, ed., Dracula: The Vampire and the Critics (Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1988) pp. ix-xviii and xii.

19. C. Leatherdale, The Origins of Dracula (London: William Kimber, 1987) pp. 237-9.

20. Stuart, Stage Blood, p. 106.

21. Such satires included Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore (1887). Ibid., pp. 164-78.

22. Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story, ed. W.S. Lewis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982) pp. 18-19.

23. Bram Stoker, Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving, 2 vols (London: William Heinemann, 1906) Vol. 2, pp. 11-15. Subsequent references are to this edition, and appear in the text.

24. See Phyllis Roth, Bram Stoker (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1982) pp. 6-16.

25. Baudrillard, 'The Structural Law of Value …', pp. 61-2.

26. Bram Stoker, Famous Impostors (London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1910) pp. 6-7. Subsequent references are to this edition and appear in the text.

27. Daniel Farson, The Man Who Wrote Dracula: A Biography of Bram Stoker (London: Michael Joseph, 1975) pp. 207-15 and 233-5.


SOURCE: Leatherdale, Clive. "The Making of the Count." In Dracula: The Novel and the Legend: A Study of Bram Stoker's Gothic Masterpiece. 1985. Third edition, pp. 105-17. Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, United Kingdom: Desert Island Books, 2001.

In the following essay, from a chapter of a third edition of a book first published in 1985, Leatherdale considers Stoker's characterization of Count Dracula, noting Stoker's sources in history, folklore, and aristocratic society.

[Dracula's] face was a strong—a very strong—aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils; with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples, but profusely elsewhere. His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in its own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth; these protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years. For the rest, his ears were pale and at the tops extremely pointed; the chin was broad and strong, and the cheeks firm though thin. The general effect was one of extraordinary pallor.

     Jonathan Harker's Journal, Dracula 2:51-52.

Before attention turns to some of the deeper themes of Stoker's most famous novel, it will be helpful to look more closely at the characters he created and the purposes they fulfil—beginning with Count Dracula himself. Stoker spared no effort to present his demonic vampire as dramatically as possible. Other, mortal, figures, he leaves under-sketched, relying on the reader's imagination to fill in the flesh on the bones he provides, but Dracula is painted with enormous attention to detail. After the first four chapters he is 'offstage' for most of the rest of the novel,1 yet not for a moment is the reader allowed to forget the Count's awesome presence.


Since Wilkie Collins left us we have had no tale of mystery so liberal in matter and so closely woven. But with the intricate plot, and the methods of the narrative, the resemblance to stories of the author of The Woman in White ceases; for the audacity and the horror of Dracula are Mr. Stoker's own. A summary of the book would shock and disgust; but we must own that, though here and there in the course of the tale we hurried over things with repulsion, we read nearly the whole with rapt attention. It is something of a triumph for the writer that neither the improbability, nor the unnecessary number of hideous incidents recounted of the man-vampire, are long foremost in the reader's mind, but that the interest of the danger, of the complications, of the pursuit of the villain, of human skill and courage pitted against inhuman wrong and superhuman strength, rises always to the top. Keep Dracula out of the way of nervous children, certainly; but a grown reader, unless he be of unserviceably delicate stuff, will both shudder and enjoy.

SOURCE: "Novel Notes: Dracula." The Bookman 12, no. 71 (August 1897): 129.

Visually, aside from his facial features (described above), Dracula is clean-shaven save for a long white moustache, and dressed without a single speck of colour about him anywhere. He is a tall, old man. He could not have been uncommonly tall, however, for Dracula makes off wearing Harker's clothes—which presumably fit satisfactorily—and Harker, himself, when later described by others invites no comment as to his size. Moreover, the accepted notion of Dracula's ever-present black cloak would seem to be an invention of the cinema. Only once is such a garment mentioned (3:75) and the more usual description 'clad in black from head to foot' (2:48) would hardly be appropriate to a single item of clothing.

Much has been made of the only surviving description of Vlad the Impaler:

He was not very tall but very stocky and strong with a cold and terrible appearance, a strong and aquiline nose, swollen nostrils, a thin and reddish face, in which the very long eye lashes framed large wide-open green eyes; the bushy black eye brows made them appear threatening. His face and chin were shaven, but for a moustache. The swollen temples increased the bulk of his head. A bull's neck connected his head [to the body] from which black curly locks hung on his wide shouldered person.2

There is little enough here by way of similarity—other than standard physiognomic indicators of nature's villains—even if one overlooks the improbability of Stoker ever having heard of Vlad the Impaler. Even if he had, it is beyond the bounds of plausibility to suggest that Stoker somehow stumbled upon this description.

As a fictional character, Count Dracula is an alloy: he combines in his persona certain qualities taken from Irving and perhaps others of his acquaintance; the tradition of the literary vampire descended from Lord Ruthven and Sir Francis Varney; the great myths of Romantic literature from which Stoker liberally borrowed; the wealth of Continental folklore to plant the novel firmly back in its roots; as well as an original flourish by Stoker to turn his Count into a master magician—as we shall see.

Let's consider these components in turn, beginning with real-life inputs into the Count. Henry Irving is the most obvious. Consider this description of the great actor: 'a tall, spare man … a peculiarly striking face, long grey hair thrown carelessly back behind the ears, clean shaven features remarkable for their delicate refinement, united with the suggestion of virile force [and] rather aquiline nose'.3 Against this, Stoker also noted Irving's 'fine' hands and 'sweetness' of face,4 inappropriate surely for the embodiment of evil. Belford's biography of Stoker carries Irving's significance to implausible lengths, but that significance can be measured in different ways—Irving's supposed physical likeness to the Count, his psychological domination of Stoker, and his magnetic stage presence. Irving was well used to playing Mephistopheles and his kind, as forcefully as any actor ever had. Many have speculated that Stoker intended Dracula to enjoy success on the stage as well as on the page, with Irving in the title role. Certainly, the novel is awash with theatrical detail, and is easy to adapt so that characters might enter stage right and exit stage left. But Irving could never have been envisaged as the Count, for the simple reason that Dracula has such a tiny part, being virtually written out of the script after the first act (in Transylvania). Irving's ego would never have tolerated that!

Other critics have suggested Franz Liszt and Walt Whitman as likely models, based on little more than that in old age they both had long white hair. Henry Morton Stanley, the explorer, has been linked on account of his looking 'more like a dead man than a living one', according to Stoker, who then describes Dracula's icy hand as 'more like the hand of a dead than a living man'.5 Richard Burton and Lord Tennyson both earned mention in Stoker's Reminiscences for their pointed canine teeth.

Being a literary vampire, Dracula conforms to the requirement of belonging to the ranks of nobility. He boasts of having a distinguished lineage, possessing in his veins the blood of Attila the Hun. In some respects, Dracula's behaviour is what one might expect of the conventional literary aristocrat. He exudes charm of manner; he is contemptuous of the common man; and he speaks several languages—German excellently, and more impressive English than the Dutch professor, Van Helsing. At intervals, Stoker puts in little touches, which increase Dracula's sense of refinement. The Count is seen wearing white kid gloves and a straw hat, and he carries a brush for his clothes and a brush and comb for his hair. But on other levels he does not act like a nobleman at all. He lacks the typical aristocrat's high standard of living and conspicuous over-indulgence. He does not eat or drink to excess, nor does he pursue women (as normally understood). His lifestyle does not revolve around fashionable clothes, the theatre, or hunting; he does not hold receptions or build stately homes. He actually chooses to live in a Gothic ruin. Not even his violent pastimes are undertaken purely for pleasure.6 Most unusual of all, for a thriving aristocrat, is the absence of servants. Dracula is not averse to performing all the necessary menial tasks—driving the calèche, preparing meals, and even making beds—to prevent Harker, his guest, from deducing that he employs no domestic staff.

By way of character, Dracula conveys more than a vague presence of malice. Stoker endows him with a personality, of sorts. He has a mannerism of tugging his moustache during animated discourses on his family history—the only subject touched on in the book capable of making him pleasantly excitable (3:66). He exhibits a full range of powerful emotions: hate, passion, anger, disdain, baffled malignity, vanity. He is mentally bright, is fearless, remorseless, and cunning—not averse to executing a strategic retreat in the face of disadvantageous odds, as the handbooks on guerrilla warfare dictate. Stoker displays his ignorance of Vlad the Impaler when describing Dracula's pre-vampire life, for when speaking of his own past the Count naturally does not see himself as a merciless psychopath, but as a stern, principled statesman. And Van Helsing concedes: 'he was in life a most wonderful man. Soldier, statesman, and alchemist …' (23:413-14). In this, of course, Dracula resembles Mephistopheles in Goethe's Faust, whose portrayal by Irving left such a deep impression on Stoker. Overall, legal-minded Harker is so impressed by his host's great foresight and intellectual prowess that he utters the book's most memorable understatement: Dracula, if he had chosen, 'would have made a formidable solicitor' (3:71).

This intelligence and urbanity, while allowing Dracula to be firmly located within the tradition of the literary vampire, only partly accounts for his all-pervading menace. He also partakes of the characteristics of the folkoric vampire. Stoker is keen to highlight the animalistic quality of his master-vampire, taking full advantage of the folkloric connection between vampires and were-wolves. Besides having pointed ears and protruding canine teeth, Dracula possesses coarse, broad hands with squat fingers—as werewolves are described. His palms, too, are hairy and the nails cut to a sharp point. His eyes glow red. The stench which clings to his places of rest, and which produces a feeling of nausea to those in proximity, is the stench of excrement, of all the ills of mortality, of death, of arrested decay—augmented, when his thirst has been slaked, by the sickly-sweet, acrid smell of blood. Even his persona is animalistic: anti-rational, childlike, instinctive. His vitality is shown as feral, and his cunning is that of an animal that resorts to swift physical action to counter any errors of judgment.

Dracula enjoys the gymnastic abilities of reptiles, animals, and birds. He can climb face-foremost down a castle wall, gripping the vertical surface with toes and fingers—though he does not fear death should he fall, for he is immune to the natural laws of mortality. These wall-descending activities are described as lizard-like (3:75). Later, Dracula's agility is expressed as 'panther-like'; he has a 'snarl' on his face; and he shows 'lion-like disdain' (23:418-19). His empathy with the animal world is demonstrated by his control over lower forms of life: rats, bats and wolves.

Dracula is obedient to the vampire specifications of European folklore. Being undead, his flesh is icy to the touch; he casts no reflection in the mirror, and when standing in front of flames does not obstruct a view of them. He is unable to impose his presence on a victim at the time of first contact, unless his prey shows complicity in some form. This is evident in Harker's stepping over the threshold at Castle Dracula (2:48), and in the Count's later visits to Lucy and Renfield (21:383). Dracula possesses enormous physical strength and speed of movement; his eyes can induce hypnotic effects; and with selective victims he is capable of psychic transfer.

Dracula can direct the elements around him, such as creating a puff of wind. He can see in the dark and vaporise himself at will. He is able to change into a dog, wolf, or bat; he can dematerialise to be transported as mist; and he can take shape from phosphorescent specks riding on moonbeams—whose whirring motions weaken powers of resistance. He is restricted by the presence of running water, being unable to cross it except at the slack or flood of the tide, unless with manual assistance. He sleeps and wakes with the precision of clockwork—dawn and dusk being calculated to the second. While sleeping, Dracula appears to be dead, eyes open with no pulse or respiratory motion. All the while he is 'conscious' of activity around him, although searching hands cannot 'wake' him (4:100).

Crucially, although Dracula can theoretically be kept at bay by garlic and other pagan safeguards (though in practice these uniformly fail), he is essentially a vampire of the Christian mould. In other words he is a representative/client/manifestation of the devil (in London he aptly assumes the alias 'Count de Ville' (20:375). He must therefore be shown to be vulnerable to Christian icons and imagery. The crucifix—arch-symbol of the Christian faith—makes him recoil and cower, and the application of holy wafer sterilises his places of rest.7

But Stoker did not wish to restrict his vampire-king within the parameters prescribed by folklore. Dracula would have to be special, both in his attributes and in his manner of becoming a vampire. Several of Dracula's qualities differentiate him from more common varieties of his ilk, for example Stoker's insistence that Dracula can sleep only in consecrated earth: 'in soil barren of holy memories [he] cannot rest' (18:338). This requirement would seem to possess neither folkloric nor historic antecedent.8 According to Orthodox superstition, the undead, if excommunicated, were unable to rest in hallowed soil. So what were Stoker's motives? Maybe he intended Dracula's 'sacrilege' to heighten the reader's sense of outrage. Stoker's innovation makes the Count's lairs harder to locate, for he is 'sleeping' deceitfully among God's true dead.

Another example of Dracula's uniqueness is his immunity to the rays of the sun. The vampire of superstition is the quintessential apparition of night; it being believed that sunlight could pass through, or harm, sensitive tissue. Dracula, however, cannot be destroyed by direct sunlight as film versions would have us believe. That would make him too vulnerable. Once he is strong and vigorous from the consumption of fresh blood, he is permitted in the novel to wander the streets of London quite naturally. Dracula's only handicap is that his vampire powers become neutralised during daylight, when he reverts, to all intents, to being a mere mortal. He must therefore take care that at the moment of sunrise he is in the place and form that he wishes to be for the coming day. Otherwise he must await the precise moment of noon or sunset to effect the desired transference (22:401).

Most important, Stoker could not allow his arch-fiend to have become a vampire by any of the standard procedures of folklore, for all imply falling victim in some manner. Count Dracula can be a victim of nobody and nothing. If he is a vampire, it must have been through his choice and his power. He was neither bitten whilst alive by another undead, nor was he sentenced to a vampiric punishment for any of the appropriate transgressions. In his human life, Count Dracula was an alchemist and magician. He had studied the secrets of the black arts and other aspects of devilry when enrolled as a student at the Scholomance (18:337; 23:414)—a mythical academy situated high in the Carpathian Mountains, overlooking the town of Sibiu (known in Saxon as Hermannstadt).9 The patron of the academy is the devil himself, who instructs on the dark secrets of nature: thunder and lightning, the language of animals, magical spells. Those who studied natural phenomena were assumed to be capable of mastering them. Legend has it that the Scholomance would admit students ten at a time. Upon acquisition of the devilish insight, nine would return to their everyday lives, leaving the tenth to be taken up by the devil as group payment. He would be mounted on an ismejeu (dragon—a merging of Dracula's devil/dragon associations) and recruited as the devil's aide-de-camp.10 Needless to say, Dracula was the tenth student, whose arcane wisdom is demonstrated by Stoker early in the novel. The Count inspects mysterious blue flames flickering in the forest, which, according to folklore, conceal treasure and gold.

Stoker does not permit Dracula's transition from man to vampire to be left to the reader's imagination. Such were the resources of Dracula's brain that, together with the magical powers gleaned from the Scholomance, his mental faculties survived physical death (23:414). But they did not survive intact. He paid the price of having much of his memory destroyed, and has to engage in the re-learning process almost in the manner of an infant. Van Helsing, the guru of Dracula's adversaries, is an exponent of the scientific method of 'experimentation'. He appreciates the Count's emerging mental powers because he, Van Helsing, also employs scientific method, reaching out to acquire knowledge slowly but surely, one step at a time. Van Helsing's fears are twofold: that Dracula has acquired immortality through forging a special, yet undisclosed relationship with the devil; and that he has centuries ahead of him to sharpen his cunning and his intellect. Dracula undergoes a dramatic shift in power during the course of the novel. At the outset he appears as a cautious old man, not yet sure of the powers at his command. Despite his longevity, he is in the position of a fledgling bird about to leave the nest and fly for the first time. He has not yet employed the full range of vampire powers which are about to be unleashed.

Count Dracula is physically dead. But if he is, as it were, living in death, then it might be asked whether he is more dead than alive, or more alive than dead. If he is really dead, then why does he never speak of life beyond the grave, or communicate its wonders or its terrors? The only time Dracula reflects on his past is when recalling his martial exploits during his pre-vampire existence. He has nothing to say about the four hundred years since he signed up with the devil. It would appear that his only aspect that is dead is his body, for his mind has never travelled beyond the experiences of this earth.

To reinforce Dracula's grasp of black magic, Stoker invests the Count's native Transylvania with suitably mysterious rocks and waters. It might easily be a lost world inhabited by dinosaurs, for it is a land

full of strangeness of the geologic and chemical world. There are deep caverns and fissures that reach none know whither. There have been volcanoes, some of whose openings still send out waters of strange properties, and gases that kill or make to [sic] vivify. Doubtless there is something magnetic or electric in some of these combinations of occult forces which work for physical life in strange way [sic].


These gases are discovered at first hand by Van Helsing when he sniffs sulphurous fumes inside the chapel of Castle Dracula (27:499). Stoker's Transylvania, in other words is not only a land beyond the forest, it is also a land beyond scientific understanding—a netherworld—where the known laws of nature are suspended. It is a fitting haunt for an agent of diabolism.

Awareness of Dracula's vampire origins leads to the next, vital, question—his motives. He is no zombie-like automaton driven solely by a blind lust for blood. The relationship between Dracula and blood is much more subtle. For one thing, its consumption actually alters his appearance. Absorption of blood changes him from an old, into a younger, stronger man with dark, not white, hair. In just three days between 'meals' his hair reverts to showing white streaks (11:216).

Dracula is not out to bite the neck of every victim who comes his way. He does not patrol nightly in search of liquid nourishment. Rather, his is the addiction of the junkie or the alcoholic. Dracula will not die if no blood is available, any more than will the alcoholic if deprived of spirits. In each case just one substance supplies vigour, energy. It is not that Dracula likes drinking blood. He needs blood—not for life (with which he is blessed/cursed) but for power. It functions as a stimulant.

The only exception is when his taking of blood is tactical. Dracula's blood-banks are always female.12 His szgany (gypsy) henchmen, who do his earthly bidding, do not go in fear of his teeth. Renfield, similarly, becomes a servant of Dracula, not his blood supply. Still more illuminating is Dracula's trivial interest in Jonathan Harker, who serves as his estate agent and English language tutor, not his provider of nourishment. When Harker cuts himself shaving, Dracula only momentarily loses control of himself. This suggests that the sight of blood induces in him a love-hate ambivalence, not dissimilar to the reactions stimulated in the alcoholic by the prospect of liquor.

Dracula's strategic, as opposed to his biological, interest in blood is to ensnare female victims. These, in turn, will ensnare their menfolk, so that his vampire empire enlarges evermore through incestuous expansion. Here, Stoker, acknowledges the folkloric requirement that vampires always seek their nearest and dearest: 'The holiest love was the recruiting sergeant for their ghastly ranks' (22:408). Dracula is aware of how he can turn this to advantage: 'Your girls that you all love are mine already: and through them you and others shall yet be mine—my creatures, to do my bidding, and to be my jackals when I want to feed' (23:421).

In no instance does he destroy the lives of his victims for pleasure, but always in order to make use of them. As bloodlessness is not life-threatening to Dracula, his search must stem from a deeper, psychological drive. Dracula tells an unsuspecting Harker of his ambitions: 'I long to go through the crowded streets of your mighty London, to be in the midst of the whirl and rush of humanity, to share its life, its change, its death, and all that makes it what it is' (2:55).

This confession is revealing. In the Europe of the 1890s Dracula has become outdated.13 Transylvania is depicted as a peasant land in decline, unfitting as the continued habitat for a proud descendant of Attila. Admittedly, it is Dracula's blood-sucking over the centuries which is partly responsible for the enfeeblement of his native land, for its depleted population flout his authority by immunising themselves with garlic and crosses. He feels cheated and deprived. No longer can he wage war against invading Turks: instead he is reduced to hunting defenceless children. In the meantime, Britain has become the hub of Western industrialism. By switching his arena and his methods of operation, Dracula sees new opportunities to be exploited.

His objective is therefore to establish a contemporary vampire empire in Britain. In this he will be aided by British laws and customs. The rational West will not suspect him. Its contempt for Eastern superstitions will leave him free; its democratic customs will enable him to flourish undetected; and its legal principle of presumption of innocence will work to his devious advantage. Jails cannot hold vampires. British society will unconsciously provide both his sheath and his armour, and 'the doubting of wise men would be his greatest strength' (24:438).

Notwithstanding, Dracula's motives contain a more personal element. When narrowly escaping ambush in London he reveals his burning grievance: 'My revenge has just begun! I spread it over centuries, and time is on my side' (23:421). Revenge? Revenge for what? Stoker seems to be harking back to the pages of Wilkinson, which stated that 'Dracula' was driven back to Wallachia and defeated by the Turks. If by the 1890s Count Dracula can no longer take revenge against the Turks, a fifteenth century superpower, he could at least direct it against the modern superpower. Britain must pay for the crimes of the Ottomans, perhaps by coming to symbolise the ingratitude and treachery of Christian Europe—though when the time comes for the Count to vent his anger the identity of his enemies is suitably vague (21:396).

This desire for revenge, however, is not totally persuasive. Like the Wandering Jew, Dracula is doomed to wander the earth for eternity unless his heart be pierced. The Count is bored. It is sport he craves. He toys with his adversaries, taunting them, almost defying them to pit their puny wits against him. Despite this range of motives, it is not Stoker's aim to elicit sympathy for Dracula, or reveal him a victim as much as a victimiser. Stoker portrays him as incarnate evil, without any redeeming features, someone deserving not the least vestige of sympathy.

Presumably, Stoker's intention was that the reader breathes a sigh of relief when Dracula meets his doom. But can we be so sure? Clearly his pursuers think they have destroyed Dracula, and continue to think so several years afterwards. But have they? This is how Mina describes that climactic moment:

As I looked, the eyes [of Dracula] saw the sinking sun, and the look of hate in them turned to triumph. But, on the instant, came the sweep and the flash of Jonathan's great knife. I shrieked as I saw it sheer through the throat; whilst at the same moment Mr Morris's bowie knife plunged in the heart … the whole body crumbled into dust and passed from our sight … in that moment of dissolution there was in the face a look of peace such as I never could have imagined might have rested there.


This might seem conclusive enough, until it is recalled that Van Helsing had earlier given precise instructions on how to be rid of the vampire. Folklore, too, insists on ritualistic observation of prescribed rites. These are not followed in the case of Dracula, who is despatched as if he were human, with cold steel. No wooden stake is used; his head is not detached from the body; and no corpse remains to be properly treated or devoured by flames. Initially it seems that Dracula's look of 'triumph' is premature, but could it be the attackers' sense of satisfaction that is misplaced? Stoker had already informed his readers that vampires have the power of dematerialisation and can transform themselves into specks of dust. Conceivably, then, the Count dematerialised just in time. Realising his narrow escape he prefers to lay low, until such time as Stoker resurrects him in a sequel.

Alternatively, Stoker might have felt uncomfortable at the homoerotic notion of Dracula being phallically 'staked' by men and—following the example of the female vampires—writhing and screeching in his orgasmic death-throes. This could have been avoided if Mina … had staked Dracula. But while retaining the heterosexual pattern, it would still have left Stoker the problem of depicting the male orgasm. Jonathan Harker … would also be denied his cherished revenge, and whatever Mina's other qualities the idea of her hammering a three-foot stake into Dracula would have stretched credibility. It would also, of course, have wrecked the sexual focus on the stake-phallus. One imagines that Stoker thought long and hard about who would destroy Dracula, and how, but never quite came up with a satisfactory answer.


1. The Count, in fact, has only two speaking parts once he arrives in England. Stoker's final decision to have Dracula 'on view' as little as possible appears, from his notes, to have been reached in a late draft. Earlier drafts show Dracula onstage more frequently.

2. Nicholas Modrussa, in Radu Florescu and Raymond T McNally, Dracula: A Biography, p.50.

3. Newspaper report from New York Tribune, November 1883, reprinted in Austin Brereton, The Life of Henry Irving, Vol 2, p.14.

4. Reminiscences, 1:234 and 1:88. For a detailed examination of all the inputs into Count Dracula see Elizabeth Miller, Dracula: Sense & Nonsense, Chapter 1.

5. Reminiscences, 1:370; Belford, p.238.

6. Franco Moretti, Signs Taken for Wonders: Essays in the Sociology of Literary Forms, pp.90-91.

7. Stoker's working notes show that Dracula was meant to register fear only when presented with relics older than himself.

8. Leonard Wolf, A Dream of Dracula, p.264.

9. Most of Stoker's information on the Scholomance came from Emily Gerard's 'Transylvanian Superstitions'.

10. Gerard, op. cit.

11. Here again, Stoker may have consulted the works of Emily Gerard, The Land Beyond the Forest and The Waters of Hercules.

12. A possible exception is Dracula's 'attacks' on the crew of the Demeter. Whether he merely kills them, or kills them for their blood, or they throw themselves overboard in terror, is not made clear.

13. See Thomas P Walsh, 'Dracula: Logos and Myth', p.230.

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Dom Calmet, Dissertation on those Persons who Return to Earth Bodily, the Excommunicated, the Oupires or Vampires, roucalacas, & c, reprinted as Treatise on Vampires & Revenants, The Phantom World, Desert Island Books (Westcliffon-Sea, 1993).

Margaret Carter (ed.), Dracula: the Vampire and the Critics, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, Michegan, 1988).

Basil Copper, The Vampire: In Legend, Fact and Art, Hale (London, 1973).

Richard Dalby, Bram Stoker: A Bibliography of First Editions, Dracula Press (London, 1983).

Carol M Davison (ed.), Bram Stoker's Dracula: Sucking Through the Century 1897–1997, Dundurn Press (Toronto, 1997).

Hamilton Deane and John Balderston, Dracula: the Vampire Play in Three Acts, Samuel French Inc. (New York, 1960).

Robert Eighteen-Bisang and J Gordon Melton, Dracula: A Century of Editions, Adaptations and Translations, Transylvania Society of Dracula (Santa Barbara, 1998).

Daniel Farson, The Man Who Wrote Dracula: A Biography of Bram Stoker, Michael Joseph (London, 1975).

Leslie Fielder, Freaks: Myths and Images of the Secret Self, Simon and Schuster (New York, 1978).

Radu Florescu and Raymond T McNally, Dracula: A Bibliography, Hale (London, 1973).

Christopher Frayling (ed.), Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula, Faber (London, 1991).

Nancy Garden, Vampires, Lippincott (London, 1973).

Michael Geare and Michael Corby, Dracula's Diary, Buchan and Enright (London, 1982).

Ken Gelder, Reading the Vampire, Routledge (London, 1994).

Donald F Glut, The Dracula Book, Scarecrow Press (New York, 1975).

Peter Haining (ed.), The Dracula Scrapbook, New English Library (London 1976).

――――――, The Leprechaun's Kingdom, Pictorial Presentations/Souvenir Press (London, 1979).

――――――, Shades of Dracula: The Uncollected Stories of Bram Stoker, William Kimber (London, 1982).

――――――, The Un-Dead: The Legend of Bram Stoker and Dracula, Constable (London, 1997).

William Hughes, Beyond Dracula: Bram Stoker's Fiction and its Cultural Context, Macmillan (London, 2000).

――――――, Bram Stoker: A Bibliography, Victorian Fiction Research Unit, University of Queensland (Queensland, Australia 1997).

Bernhardt J Hurwood, Vampires, Omnibus Press (London, 1981).

Laurence Irving, Henry Irving: The Actor and his World, Faber and Faber (London, 1951).

Rosemary Jackson, Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion, Methuen (London, 1981).

Clive Leatherdale (ed.), Dracula Unearthed, Desert Island Books (Westcliff-on-Sea, 1998).

――――――(ed.), The Jewel of Seven Stars, Desert Island Books (Westcliff-on-Sea, 1996).

――――――(ed.), The Origins of Dracula: The Background to Bram Stoker's Gothic Masterpiece, Desert Island Books (Westcliff-on-Sea, 1998).

Harry Ludlam, A Biography of Bram Stoker: Creator of Dracula, New English Library (London, 1977).

Elizabeth MacAndrew, The Gothic Tradition in Fiction, Columbia University Press (New York, 1979).

Andrew MacKenzie, Dracula Country: Travels and Folk Beliefs in Romania, Arthur Barker (London, 1977).

――――――, Romanian Journey, Hale (London, 1983).

Raymond T McNally and Radu Florescu, In Search of Dracula, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, 1994).

――――――, The Essential Dracula, Mayflower Books, (New York, 1979).

Raymond T McNally, Dracula Was a Woman, Hale (London, 1984).

Anthony Masters, The Natural History of the Vampire, Hart-Davis (London, 1972).

J Gordon Melton, The Vampire Book: The Encyclopaedia of the Undead, Visible Ink Press (Detroit, 1999).

Elizabeth Miller, Dracula: Sense & Nonsense, Desert Island Books, (Westcliff-on-Sea, 2000).

――――――(ed.), Dracula: The Shade and the Shadow, Desert Island Books (Westcliff-on-Sea, 1998).

――――――Reflections on Dracula, Transylvania Press, (Whiterock, BC, 1997).

Franco Moretti, Signs Taken for Wonders: Essays in the Sociology of Literary Forms, New Left Books/Verso (London, 1983).

Charles Osborne (ed.), The Bram Stoker Bedside Companion, Quartet (London, 1974).

Sean O'Sullivan, The Folklore of Ireland, Batsford (London, 1974).

Barrie Pattison, The Seal of Dracula, Lorimer Publishing (London, 1975).

David Pirie, The Vampire Cinema, Hamlyn (London, 1977).

John Polidori, The Vampyre, Gubblecote Press, (Tring, Herts, 1973).

Mario Praz, The Romantic Agony, Oxford University Press (London, 1933).

David Punter, The Literature of Terror, Longman (London, 1980).

John R Reed, Victorian Conventions, Ohio University Press (Ohio, 1975).

Martin V Riccardo, Vampires Unearthed: the Complete Multi-Media Vampire and Dracula Bibliography, Garland Publishing

Gabriel Ronay, The Dracula Myth, W H Allen (London, 1972).

Phyllis A Roth, Bram Stoker, Twayne Publishers, G K Hall (Boston, 1982).

Raymond Rudorff, The Dracula Archives, Sphere (London, 1973).

Carol Senf, The Critical Response to Bram Stoker, Greenwood Press (Westport, 1993).

Penelope Shuttle and Peter Redgrove, The Wise Wound: Menstruation and Everywoman, Gollancz (London, 1978).

David Skal, Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen, Norton (London, 1990).

Jacob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer, Malleus Maleficarum (translated by Montague Summers), Arrow (London, 1971).

Sylvia Starshine (ed.), Dracula: or The Un-Dead, Pumpkin Books (Nottingham, 1997).

Nicolai Stoicescu, Vlad Tepes: Prince of Walachia, Academy of the Socialist Republic of Romania (Bucharest, 1978).

Bram Stoker (in chronological order), The Primrose Path, Desert Island Books (Westcliff-on-Sea, 1999).

――――――, The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, Published by Authority (Dublin, 1879).

――――――, Under the Sunset, Sampson Low (London, 1881).

――――――, A Glimpse of America, Sampson Low (London, 1886).

――――――, The Snake's Pass, Sampson Low (London, 1890).

――――――, The Watter's Mou', Constable (Westminster, 1895).

――――――, The Shoulder of Shasta, Desert Island Books (Westcliff-on-Sea, 2000).

――――――, Dracula (Unearthed), Desert Island Books (Westcliff-on-Sea, 1998).

――――――, Miss Betty, Pearson (London, 1898).

――――――, The Mystery of the Sea, Heinemann (London, 1902).

――――――, The Jewel of Seven Stars, Desert Island Books (Westcliff-on-Sea, 1996).

――――――, The Man, Heinemann (London, 1905).

――――――, Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving, 2 Vols, Heinemann (London, 1906).

――――――, Lady Athlyne, Heinemann (London, 1908).

――――――, Snowbound: The Record of a Theatrical Touring Party, Desert Island Books (Westcliff-on-Sea, 1908).

――――――, The Lady of the Shroud, Desert Island Books (Westcliff-on-Sea, 2001).

――――――, Famous Impostors, Sidgwick and Jackson (London, 1910).

――――――, The Lair of the White Worm, Rider (London, 1911).

――――――, Dracula's Guest—and Other Weird Stories, Routledge (London, 1914).

――――――, 'Bram Stoker's Original Foundation Notes & Data for his Dracula.' (unpublished), Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia. MS EL3 F.5874D.

George Stoker, With 'The Unspeakables'; or Two Years' Campaigning in European and Asiatic Turkey, Chapman & Hall (London, 1878).

Douglas Oliver Street, 'Bram Stoker's "Under the Sunset" with Introductory Biographical and Critical Material (unpublished PhD thesis), University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1977).

Montague Summers, The Gothic Quest, The Fortune Press (London).

――――――, The Vampire: His Kith and Kin, Kegan Paul (London, 1928).

――――――, The Vampire in Europe, Kegan Paul (London, 1929).

Thomas Ray Thornburg, 'The Quester and the Castle: the Gothic Novel as Myth, with Special Reference to Bram Stoker's Dracula' (unpublished PhD thesis), Ball State University (1970).

James B Twitchell, The Living Dead: A Study of the Vampire in Romantic Literature, Duke University Press (North Carolina, 1981).

――――――, Dreadful Pleasures: An Anatomy of Modern Horror, Oxford University Press (London, 1985).

Devendra P Varma, The Gothic Flame, Arthur Barker (London, 1957).

――――――, Introduction to Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood, Arno Press (New York, 1970).

Ornella Volta, The Vampire, Tandem Books (London, 1965).

Leonard Wolf, The Annotated Dracula, New English Library (London, 1975).

――――――, Dracula: The Connoisseur's Guide, Broadway Books (New York, 1997).

――――――, A Dream of Dracula, Little, Brown and Co (Boston, 1972).

Dudley Wright, Vampires and Vampirism, Rider (London, 1924).

Bram Stoker's Sources listed in his Working Notes

Rev Sabine Baring-Gould MA, The Book of Were-Wolves: Being an Account of a Terrible Superstition, Smith, Elder & Co (London, 1865).

――――――, Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, Rivingtons (London, 1877).

――――――, Germany, Present and Past, (2 vols), Kegan Paul, Trench (London, 1879).

Fletcher S Bassett (Lieutenant US Navy), Legends and Superstitions of the Sea and of Sailors—in all Lands and at all Times, Sampson Low (London, 1885).

Isabella L Bird, The Golden Chersonese, John Murray (London, 1883).

Charles Boner, Transylvania: Its Products and its People, Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer (London, 1865).

Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici.

Andrew F Crosse, Round About the Carpathians, Blackwood (London, 1878).

Rushton M Dorman, The Origin of Primitive Superstitions: And Their Development into the Worship of Spirits and the Doctrine of Spiritual Agency Among the Aborigines of America, Lippincott & Co (London, 1881).

A Fellow of the Carpathian Society, 'Magyarland': Being the Narrative of our Travels Through the Highlands and Lowlands of Hungary, (2 Vols), Sampson Low (London, 1881).

Emily Gerard, 'Transylvanian Superstitions' The Nineteenth Century, July 1885.

Major E C Johnson MAI, FRHistS, On the Track of the Crescent: Erratic Notes from the Piraeus to Pesth, Hurst and Blackett (London, 1885).

John Jones, The Natural and the Supernatural: Or, Man—Physical, Apparitional and Spiritual, H Balliere (London, 1861).

William Jones FSA, Credulities Past and Present, Chatto and Windus (London, 1880).

――――――, History and Mystery of Precious Stones, Richard Bentley & Son (London, 1880).

Rev W Henry Jones, and Lewis L Kropf, The Folk-Tales of the Magyars, Elliot Stock (London, 1889).

Henry Charles Lea, Superstition and Force—Essays on: The Wager of Law, The Wager of Battle, The Ordeal, and Torture, H C Lea (Philadelphia, 1878).

Rev Frederick George Lee DCL, Vicar of All Saints', Lambeth, The Other World: Or, Glimpses of the Supernatural—Being Facts, Records and Traditions (2 vols), Henry S King and Co (London, 1875).

Henry Lee FLS, FGS, FZS, Sometime Naturalist of the Brighton Aquarium, Sea Fables Explained, William Clowes and Sons (London, 1883).

――――――, Sea Monsters Unmasked, William Clowes and Sons (London, 1883).

Sarah Lee (sometimes classified under her former name, Mrs Bowdich), Anecdotes of Habits and Instincts of Birds, Reptiles and Fishes, Lindsay Blalmston (Philadelphia, 1853).

――――――, (see also Anecdotes of Habits and Instincts of Animals, Lindsay Blalmston, Philadelphia, 1853).

L F Alfred Maury (no titles given, but probably include the following), Essai sur les Légendes Pieuses du Moyen-Age, Chez Ladrange (Paris, 1843).

――――――, La Magie et L'Astrologie dans L'Antiquité et au Moyen Age: ou, Étude sur les Superstitions Païennes qui sont Perpétuées jusqu'à jours, Didier et Cie (Paris, 1860).

――――――, Le Sommeil et Les Rêves: Études Psychologiques sur ces Phénomènes et les divers États qui s'y Rattachent, Didier et Cie (Paris, 1865).

Herbert Mayo MD, On the Truths contained in Popular Superstitions—with an Account of Mesmerism, William Blackwood and Sons (London 1851).

Thomas Pettigrew FRS, FSA, On Superstitions connected with the History and Practice of Medicine and Surgery, John Churchill (London, 1844).

Rev Albert Réville DD, The Devil: His Origin, Greatness and Decadence, Williams and Norgate (London, 1871).

F C and J Rivington, The Theory of Dreams, (2 Vols), 62 St Paul's Churchyard (London, 1808).

F K Robinson, A Whitby Glossary, 1876.

Robert H Scott MA FRS, Secretary of the Meterological Office, Fishery Barometer Manual, HMSO (London, 1887).

William Wilkinson, Late British Consul Resident at Bukorest, An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia: with various Political Observations Relating to Them, Longman, Hurst (London 1820).


SOURCE: Valente, Joseph. "Beyond Blood: Defeating the Inner Vampire." In Dracula's Crypt: Bram Stoker, Irishness, and the Question of Blood, pp. 121-43. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002.

In the following essay, Valente demonstrates how Stoker uses characters to comment on and illuminate political and cultural experiences from an Irish perspective in Dracula.

If Seward errs, and errs fatally, in ascribing Renfield's first startling transformation entirely to the civilizing female influence of Mina Harker, it is nonetheless true that the inmate and the helpmate possess a special bond in which the Victorian construction of her gender importantly factors. Just as Renfield would continue to enjoy unimpeachable membership in the general society of Little England were it not for his perceived disability—his intermittent mania and zoophagy—so 'Mina would continue to enjoy unqualified membership in the inner councils of Little England were it not for her perceived disability—her feminine delicacy or weakness. The personal rapport the two display stems in fact from their shared status as wards of Little England, figures of a certain social marginality, condescension, and confinement. Stoker dramatizes this parallel by way of tendentious narrative counterpoint. First, Seward abruptly curtails Mina's interview with Renfield—ignoring the hints that his patient telegraphs concerning her imminent peril—in order to "meet Van Helsing at the station" (D 207), where the two immediately conspire to exclude Mina from all future deliberations. In successive scenes, then, Renfield is effectively silenced on the subject of Dracula, and Mina is relegated to silence on the subject of Dracula.

All of this might be written off as mere coincidence had Stoker not elected to reinscribe the contiguity immediately in reverse order. Van Helsing and Seward convene a war room meeting at the end of which Mina is debarred, for the duration, from further access to the tactical plans of her intimates ("'you no more must question'"; 214). She is then told, like a child, "'to go to bed'" (214), where she records the entire incident in her diary. Even as she makes the entry, the men embark for their group interrogation of Renfield, on which occasion Seward will finally reject his appeal for relief and, once again, turn a deaf ear to his inklings of impending disaster for all. In simultaneous scenes, then, Renfield is locked away with his dangerous knowledge and Mina is imprisoned in her dangerous ignorance. And, what is more, as we learn from Mina's diary and Dracula's subsequent pronouncements, even as the men pursue their interrogation of Renfield, Dracula makes his first in a series of visits to a sleeping Mina to have her "veins appease [his] thirst" (251):

I remember hearing … a lot of queer sounds, like praying on a very tumultuous scale, from Mr. Renfield's room, which is somewhere under this. And then there was silence over everything…. Not a thing seemed to be stirring, but all to be grim and fixed as death or fate; so that a thin streak of white mist, that crept with almost imperceptible slowness across the grass towards the house, seemed to have a sentience and a vitality of its own…. The mist was spreading, and was now close up to the house, so that I could see it lying thick against the wall, as though it were stealing up to the windows. The poor man was more loud than ever, and though I could not distinguish a word he said, I could in some way recognize in his tones some passionate entreaty on his part. Then there was the sound of a struggle, and I knew that the attendants were dealing with him. I was so frightened that I crept into bed…. I was not then a bit sleepy … but I must have fallen asleep…. The mist grew thicker and thicker…. The last conscious effort which imagination made was to show me a livid white face bending over me out of the mist.


The upshot, then, of the men's disposition of their respective wards is that both find themselves abandoned to Dracula's abuse, and the climactic effects of this practice are likewise rendered emphatically in adjacent and complementary scenes. Hearing that an "accident" has befallen Renfield, the two physicians rush to his side, only to find him badly mutilated by the vampiric assault. As he languishes toward death, Renfield reveals that he has indeed seen Mina's "sweet face again" (207), with the disastrous consequences he had dimly bruited: "When Mrs. Harker came in to see me this afternoon she wasn't the same; it was like tea after the teapot had been watered…. It made me mad to know that he had been taking the life out of her" (245). Although the gravely ill Renfield reports fighting with his master on Mina's behalf—"'I didn't mean for him to take any more of her life'" (246)—the doctors abruptly forsake him, in clear violation of their Hippocratic oath, and barge off to the Harkers' bedroom, where they discover a matching spectacle of vampiric depredation.

This is yet another instance of the narrative syntax secreting implications at variance with and more telling than the narrative point of view controlled by the individual protagonists would seem to admit. Renfield and Mina are paired as inlets for the great spectral stranger because both, notwithstanding the wide differences in their present stations, have been alienated to some degree from their community and consigned to a shadowy corner of their world. It is within the terms of this social correlation, furthermore, that those wide differences acquire a special symbolic and thematic significance.

Renfield occupies a particularly abject and pathological social margin, which was attracting increasingly intense concern as the nineteenth century drew to a close: a species of masculine breakdown involving a cluster of nervous disorders classified and treated medically, but identified with a kind of moral incontinence.1 In the case of Renfield, vampiric inhabitation serves as a Gothic trope of this emasculating malaise, indexing its subversion of both individual integrity and, given the male's presumptive social leadership, the collective sovereignty of the modern ethnos or nation. As discussed earlier, the prevailing code of "muscular" manliness took austere self-reliance and rigid self-containment as its defining norm, and so made the voluptuous self-surrender figured in vampiric seduction both a powerful temptation, as Harker and Van Helsing illustrate, and a synonym of male ruin. Thus constituted in an allergic relation to otherness, the gender ideal of Victorian masculinity tends not only to encourage but also to encode the sort of defensive xenophobic racial mentality that Dracula both arouses and espouses.

Renfield clearly accepts, even as he defaults upon, this masculine standard. He acts out his vampiric inhabitation, his failure of boundary maintenance, by orally incorporating an evolutionary chain of other creatures, in an attempt to enlarge his own vital capacity. In other words, his express allegiance to Dracula centers on an identification with his hypermasculine mastery, which Renfield tries to assert on his own behalf. By the same token, when he ultimately endeavors to break with Dracula, he struggles to couch his appeals and admonitions to Seward in the idiom of bourgeois manliness, of which his chivalric protectiveness toward Mina is perhaps the most assured exhibition. For that very reason, however, his communication with the men of Little England does more to reinforce than to alter the existing social dynamic. He desperately wishes to demonstrate how akin to them he is, down to justifying their tribalistic code of values, which unfortunately mandates his own exclusion. His warnings can only confirm the vampire warriors in a mentality that (through the self-reflexive logic of the Gothic fantasy) is at the root of the villainy they confront.

Mina, by contrast, occupies a minoritized and yet idealized social margin, that of properly feminine fragility, dependency, non-self-sufficiency, heteronomy in sum, which came to attract increasingly intense cultural investments with the fin de siècle emergence of its antitype, the New Woman. Insofar as the traditional "womanly woman," which Mina consents to play at this juncture, exists primarily to be protected and thus to confer legitimacy and purpose upon an anxious British patriarchy, the infiltration of Mina's body and spirit by Dracula signifies utter catastrophe, the evisceration not just of her essential role within the hegemonic cultural script but of her essential role in underwriting the script itself. But insofar as that essential role is predicated upon women's socially mandated heteronomy, vampiric inhabitation is uncannily continuous with her interpellation to the enshrined "feminine" virtues of unselfishness, submissiveness, other-directedness. Indeed, the long-established, intuitively obvious identification of vampiric blood-sucking with maternal breast-suckling speaks precisely to this continuity.2 For beyond the physical acts themselves, this identification, however parodic, points to a close psychosocial analogy between the doppelgänger transaction of vampirism and the dyadic pre-Oedipal engrossment of mother and child, each of which involves a mode of connectivity that tends to confound or dissolve the borders of selfhood so prized by patriarchal liberalism.

Since the maternal care and nurture crystallized in the act of nursing was deemed to be at once the highest and the most natural office of a woman, the gold standard of her womanliness, any supposed compromise of her ego boundaries would register less as a default on the phallic law of assured self-ownership than as compliance with a conflicting imperative promoted by that very same law as its necessary supplement: a sentimental adhesiveness or connectivity that ensures species survival in both its animal and social dimensions. More than an alternative ethics, this conventionally "feminine" supplement represents an ethics of alterity—an openness toward, respon-siveness to, solicitude for, and self-sacrificing identification with others—that crucially informed the Victorian sense of the family home, women's domestic preserve, as a "haven in a heartless world." Constituted in a kind of rudimentary and limited xenophilia, normative femininity could serve Stoker as a model of the ethnic ideal of domestic colonialism that he wished to advance. We should not be surprised, therefore, to find him relying strongly upon this gender typology—not, as has often been assumed, to confine his women within traditional stereotypes (Mina's masculine intellect, after all, is repeatedly noted)—but rather to vindicate the ethical disposition traditionally associated with womanliness in general and maternity specifically.3 Working from this conceptual base, Stoker develops and contextualizes Mina's vampiric inhabitation so that it can signify beyond parodic catastrophe to redemptive possibility, with Mina in the role of transformative agent.

To showcase the alembic potential of Mina's seemingly conventional ethos, Stoker revisits the dream logic of metalepsis with a (gendered) difference. As the phantasmatic racial/racist other, Dracula personifies and elicits the violent abrogation of social connectivity already implicit in the blood consciousness of Little England; and, as a result, the men's tactics against the Count tend to facilitate his campaign of incorporation and recruitment. However, as a phantasmatic transfusion of blood identity, at once compulsory and desirable, the vampiric exchange itself, divorced from its telos of conversion, both objectifies and intensifies the sense of radical social communion already implicit in Mina Harker's extraordinarily maternal-being-in-the-world; and, as a result, her repeated vampings ultimately redound to the detriment and even the destruction of Dracula and his campaign.

Stoker underlines the significance of this process/project divide in the respective fates assigned his differently minded female protagonists. Lucy Westenra, who exhibited no particular maternal bent in life, is fully converted to nosferatu. In this condition, she reappears as an archetype of the evil mother: she waylays little children, feeds upon instead of feeding them, and then casts them callously aside. Mina Harker, by contrast, remains suspended within the dynamics of vampiric transfusion, neither incorporated in nor disentangled from Dracula. And in this condition, she extends to new breadths and depths an already capacious maternal sympathy, which moves her to comfort most of the other characters in their hour of need.

It is worthy of notice, moreover, that Mina's long record of motherly service bears a close and unbroken affiliation with vampirism from the start. Her first maternal display has her wandering into the night to retrieve the sleepwalking Lucy Westenra, her erstwhile student and charge, from the suicide seat to which Dracula has lured her for his nightly repast. In an arresting proleptic reversal of Lucy's performance as the "Bloofer Lady," Mina leads her friend home, like a lost child, taking special care to protect both "her health" and her "reputation" (88-89). Her second such display occurs in a Budapest hospital, where she begins her marriage by "attend[ing] to her husband" (101) as he suffers the effects of his doppelgänger encounter with Dracula. Almost a month later, she reports, "Jonathan wants looking after still…. Even now he sometimes starts out of his sleep in a sudden way and awakes all trembling until I can coax him back to his usual placidity" (141). For Mina, it would seem, the vampire is a wish-fulfilling nightmare, compelling her to satisfy her penchant for profound fellow feeling, which tends to seize upon each occasion of emotional attachment as a site of maternal care and concern.

The third conspicuous exercise of Mina's prompt motherly instinct involves comforting Arthur Holmwood in his "hysterical" grief over the ruination of his fiancée by Dracula. A full citation of this well-known episode is in order:

He grew quite hysterical, and raising his open hands, beat his palms together in a perfect agony of grief…. I felt an infinite pity for him, and opened my arms unthinkingly. With a sob he layed his head on my shoulder, and cried like a wearied child, whilst he shook with emotion.

We women have something of the mother in us that makes us rise above smaller matters when the mother-spirit is invoked; I felt this big, sorrowing man's head resting on me, as though it were that of the baby that some day may lie on my bosom, and I stroked his hair as though he were my own child. I never thought at the time how strange it all was.


This passage has been rightly deemed crucial for making explicit the centrality of the maternal ideal to Mina's self-image, to the evolving social economy of Little England, and, by extension, to Stoker's sexual politics. But it is equally crucial for our purposes because in the same stroke it unfolds a visual and conceptual rhyme between the mother-child dyad and the vampiric couple. Mina's reflexive accommodation of Arthur's importunate hunger for comfort ("opened my arms unthinkingly") recalls the unconscious gesture of permission or consent that is necessary for the vampire to press his suit. The bodily attitude of the pair, Arthur poised on her "shoulder," his face presumably turned toward her neck, evokes a classic vampire tableau, while Mina's simile displacing the action from her shoulder to her "bosom" nudges the reader to draw the bloodsucking/breast-suckling parallel. Finally, Mina's sense of being called outside of herself by the invocation of the "mother-spirit" extends the analogy to vampirism from one of physical posture and activity to one of spectral visitation and inhabitation. With all of this in mind, her reflection, "I never thought at the time how strange it all was," unwittingly references the scene's uncanny resemblance to and reversal of the parody of motherhood in vampirism.

A still stranger and more decisive reversal is in the offing. During the above interlude, a subtle turnabout of roles transpires. As the pressure of the man-child/vampire's demand for consolation subsides, the mother/host comes to be possessed of as well as by the active and spectral power, here troped as "mother-spirit." It is as if in not being held to the masculine law of disciplined self-enclosure, Mina is not only able to enjoy, in an intimate eroticized manner, responding to the solicitation of fellow feeling, but also able to draw abnormal emotional strength from being drawn upon in this way. As opposed to building herself up through acts of incorporation, the masculinized, colonial form of aggrandizement favored by Renfield and his master, she secures enhancement through an outpouring and divestment of the self, a strategy that requires her to remain within the moment, as it were, of interdependency and exchange. With Arthur finally becalmed, she evinces an immediate willingness to renew her maternal efforts on behalf of his comrade-in-mourning, Quincy Morris, whose inferred urgency of grief elicits from her an offer, a proposition, that is not simply bold and unexpected, but, for her time and class, forward to the point of impropriety:

He bore his own troubles so bravely that my heart bled for him … so I said to him:—

"I wish I could comfort all who suffer from the heart. Will you let me be your friend, will you come to me for comfort if you need it?"


So hard upon her tête-à-tête with Arthur, so comprehensive in the avowed scope of its desire, Mina's gesture unmistakably evokes and inverts the motif of vampiric recruitment. She seeks out recipients for her "heart" blood instead of donors, dressing, in each case, the collateral wounds left by Dracula. In the very next scene she makes her critical visit to Renfield, taking her campaign of maternal consolation directly to the vampire's minions.

One more strand of this narrative warp needs to be traced, for it simultaneously marks and points beyond the last remaining limit to Mina's motherly largesse of spirit. Immediately prior to her encounter with Arthur, Mina ponders the fate of Dracula himself, now that her menfolk are so doggedly in pursuit: "I suppose one ought to pity anything so hunted as is the Count. That is just it: this Thing is not human—not even beast. To read Seward's account of poor Lucy's death, and what followed, is enough to dry up the springs of pity in one's heart" (202). Mina's rationale for denying Dracula her compassion (literally, "feeling-with") is in true Little England fashion inextricably racial and moral: his ontological foreignness—neither man nor beast—naturalizes a moral debasement that absolves her of an otherwise painful but necessary exercise of the sympathetic imagination. Still, Mina's evident discomfort in not reaching the highest standard of magnanimity that she can envisage might well account for her subsequent zeal to afford solace to virtually everyone else. More importantly, this moment of doubt leaves in her mind—and the reader's—the intuition of a regulative ethico-political ideal of caritas, comprising a finally unconstrained willingness to acknowledge one's imbrication with others through a generous emotional investment in them. It thereby lays the ground for a truly decisive turning point in the novel, when Mina fully assumes this seemingly impossible empathetic mandate.

After being vamped, Mina calls God's pity on herself, adducing a life of virtue as grounds for his consideration—"'What have I done to deserve such a fate, I who have tried to walk in meekness and righteousness all my days'" (252). But as with Job, to whom her biblically phrased sentiments allude, Mina's bitter fate enables her to reach new heights of meekness and righteousness, to extend her call for mercy to the great Reprobate who brought her to this pass.

"I want you to bear something in mind through all this dreadful time. I know that you must fight—that you must destroy even as you destroyed the false Lucy so that the true Lucy might live hereafter; but it is not a work of hate. The poor soul who has wrought this misery is the saddest case of all. Just think what will be his joy when he too is destroyed in his worser part that his better part may have spiritual immortality. You must be pitiful to him too, though it may not hold your hands from his destruction."


While her compassion cannot be allowed to preempt the spectacle of "destruction" compulsory to the genre, it does augur a change in its symbolic significance. Thus, when her husband reverts to form, ventilating his undiminished "hate" of Dracula in contemplation of his "spiritual immortality" in "burning hell" (269), Mina repeats her demand that he reconsider his asperity, reminding him of their own blood tie to the vampire tribe: "'Oh hush! oh hush! in the name of the good God. Don't say such things … or you will crush me with fear and horror. Just think, my dear—I have been thinking all this long, long day of it—that … perhaps … some day … I too may need such pity; and that some other like you—and with equal cause for anger—may deny it to me!'" (269). The "pity" Mina summons (in both senses) might be more accurately termed compassion, the same feeling-with that she expressly withheld earlier. While her grievance against Dracula has surely grown more serious in the interim, it has also germinated a certain identification with him. She overtly predicates her charitable sentiments toward her tormentor, those she would inculcate in her loved ones, on her coerced family resemblance to the vampire. We cannot utterly cast Dracula off, she declares in effect, because I am now of his party as well, so much so that I can envision my loving husband as "some other" who justifiably abhors me.

In presuming that her change of blood automatically spells a spiritual deterioration, Mina's method of reasoning remains faithful to the established Little England creed that moral properties reside in blood makeup, be it race (Harker's slovenly Orientals), class (Van Helsing's feckless servants), or the most common anthropological transcription of race, "species" (Dracula as hibernicized "brute"). But Mina's transitional state of being, between the living and the undead—plainly a temporal metaphor of "mixed" blood—defies any easy or absolute correlation between ethnic status and ethical stature. What is more, this transitional state affords Mina access to a privileged moral and political vantage in its own right: her multiple identifications allow her a more prismatic understanding and thus a finer strain of empathy than has been attained heretofore in the novel. Mina alone has a glimmer of the irrevocable linkage between the knight-errants of Little England and the nightstalkers of Transylvania, and this awareness, while a suspicious, identificatory effect of her enthrallment to Dracula,4 paradoxically proves the means of individual, group, and even national deliverance from him.

The representational strategy underlying Mina's carefully circumscribed transcendence of the Little England mindset is vintage Stoker, a testament to his parvenu facility for sly, self-insulating criticism of the community whose approval he continued to demand on his own, Irish-inflected terms. Instead of directly challenging the racial essentialism that tended to cramp his own social prospects, Stoker makes it the epicenter of an internecine conflict, and he adapts, in the person of Mina, a broadly Christian rhetoric to celebrate the Utopian possibilities of ethnic hybridization. On both counts, he closely follows the script he first wrote for "The Dualitists." Just as the various counterpart relationships between Little England and the vampire kingdom rehearse the schismatic form of duality displayed by Harry Merford and Tommy Santon, so Mina's acceptance of the vampiric other in herself and her intimates transposes, in a distant but still recognizable key, the symbiotic duality of the Bubb twins. Moreover, just as the symbiotic blessedness of the Bubb twins is embellished with Irish resonances, which index the aptitude for social connectivity buried deep within the often divisive metrocolonial condition, so the enhancement and refinement of Mina's compassion unfolds under Irish colors. As noted earlier, Mina's birth surname encrypts a deeply hybrid Irish heritage—at once native and settler, Anglo and Celt, Catholic and Protestant—which her infiltration by a similarly hybrid, hibernicized vampire can be seen to have activated, augmenting her inherited potential for entertaining alterity. As Stoker knew, the Irish prided themselves on a communitarian Weltanschauung that distinguished them from the more atomized individualism dear to John Bull, and the English did not dispute them on this point, doubtless feeling that such other-directedness consorted well with the "essentially feminine" character of the Celtic race.5

The metaphor clinching this ethno-national association is precisely that of maternity. With her allegorically weighted name and her metropolitan marriage, Mina invokes a long, storied line of female personae of Ireland and personae of a feminized Ireland—the Shan Von Vacht, Cathleen Ni Houlihan, Hibernia, the Speirbhean or Sky Woman, and Erin, among others. As the Blessed Virgin Mary became the dominant personification of the national ideal, reflecting the increased political power of Catholic Irish-Ireland during the Victorian era, the entire array of female icons came to be consolidated under the figure of Mother Ireland, who provides a perfect allegorical "fit" for Mina's role in the novel. Insofar as Mina's ethics of profound connectivity, imaged in and intensified by her vampiric inhabitation, represents a distinctively feminine and maternal supplement to phallic self-containment, it articulates a cultural ideal with special pertinence to Ireland, one that coheres with that country's national symbolism and positively transvalues the half-embraced stereotype of its people as emotional, impulsive, sentimental, "essentially feminine." It is surely no accident that Mina has already been cast in the role of the Blessed Mother by the Catholic Van Helsing, nor that he does so in the process of announcing her fateful exclusion from the conferences of Little England: "'You must be our star and our hope, and we shall act all the more free that you are not in the danger, such as we are'" (214). These words endow Mina with the iconic attributes of "Mary, Star of the Sea," the merciful patron of voyagers, and they usher her off to bed where she will shortly be forced to "mother" that seaborn "Irish" voyager so in need of her "pity," Count Dracula.6

Ironically, however, the very elements coding Mina's ethics of alterity "Irish"—the intimate yet iconic experience of motherhood coupled with the sectarian yet universalizing discourse of Christianity—speak to interpersonal relations so fundamental and so sweeping that they automatically extend the pertinence of her sentiments beyond the metrocolonial problematic to all manner of social intercourse.

Mina's "sweeter counsels" of sympathy for the vampire do prevail over Jonathan's hatred, reducing the men to tears and effectively turning her personal insight into a collective decision.7 She not only reconciles herself to the racialized taint of the vampiric contagion; she also convinces the men to accept her on these terms, which is to say, to accommodate a virulent strain of otherness at the heart of their community. At this moment, a conversion narrative suddenly irrupts within the conquest narrative of Dracula, and the implications of this modal shift for the novel's political fantasy are decisive, touching upon its central self-reflexive conceit. As we have seen, in violently dissociating themselves from Dracula qua racial other, the men of Little England only testify to their unconscious projection of Dracula qua specter of racism, and this fantasy dynamic takes narrative form in the symptomatic persistence with which their schemes to subdue the vampire seem rather to abet him. It thus stands to reason, as a matter of symbolic logic, that in suspending this unconscious complicity, Mina's acceptance of racialized otherness in herself and her persuasion of her menfolk to do likewise would mitigate or even reverse the self-defeating trajectory of Little England's campaign against vampirism. That is exactly what happens, as Stoker accentuates through a painstaking juxtaposition of events.

In the scene just before the "sweeter counsels" of Mina prevail, the men have their climactic London confrontation with Dracula, which provides perhaps the most egregious instance of their collective, unconsciously motivated ineptitude, Despite cornering Dracula in a classic ambush, with numbers on their side, with ample time for their strategic ace, Morris, to devise the perfect "plan of action," and despite possessing the concerted will to advance "with a single impulse," they nevertheless wind up empty-handed (266). As Dracula eludes their grasp, the experienced reader of thrillers is left, or rather asked, to wonder exactly what advantages, if not these, would finally permit this platoon of heroes to corral their diabolic counterpart.

In the scene immediately after the "sweeter counsels" of Mina prevail, the answer surfaces; Mina herself hits upon what proves to be the single dispositive means for hunting the vampire, as it were, to ground. Divining that her blood-suckling of Dracula has laid down an intimate, subliminal line of psychic contact with him, she tells Van Helsing, "'I want you to hypnotize me!'" (271), on the supposition that, being a channel for the vampire's mental impressions, she can serve as a homing device for his movements. With its play on the doppelgänger motif, this pre-Vulcan mindmeld is an ingenious plot contrivance typical of the Gothic adventure genre, which the last third of the novel, a protracted chase scene, otherwise plays out rather perfunctorily. But the stratagem also—and this is the chief part of its ingenuity—perfectly encapsulates Mina's transformative significance in the novel, her incubation of a badly needed ethics/politics of connectivity.

Taken by itself, the men's violent confrontational tactics play into the vampire's hands insofar as he is but the phantasmal emanation of their own antisocial tendencies, their commitment to a metrocolonial ideology of domination and absorption. Their agonistic approach to Dracula only ratifies the depth of their identification. Mina's tactic of subterranean communication reverses this self-reflexive curve. Her secret sharing with the vampire, which registers a certain degree of identification, paradoxically breaks with, stands against, and finally defeats the egoistic agenda and racist ideology he advances.

As the active expression of radical self-absorption and aggrandizement, both individual (egoism) and collective (tribalism), the vampiric act seeks to impose unilateral mastery at a most intimate point of social intercourse, the exchange of bodily fluids, turning the participants into possessor and possessed, respectively. The mindmeld is, from Dracula's perspective, an extension of this violent erotic economy. He is the one who originally enjoins the psychic commerce as a device for monitoring and manipulating his newest "helpmeet" (252). Mina herself is under no illusions on this score: "'he may have used my knowledge for his ends'" (297). But in self-consciously embracing the interior alterity that the mindmeld entails, she effectively restores the reciprocal character of interpersonal exchange and thereby escapes being controlled by the vampire, which is to say by the ideology of expansive self-enclosure.

As Little England enters upon the "great hour" of its offensive into Transylvania, it is given to Van Helsing to translate this ethico-political allegory into the lexicon of Gothic narrative. Confirming that Dracula "'has so used [Mina's] mind'" for his own purposes, Van Helsing describes how and why he will be hoisted on his own petard—in a kind of mirror image of the vampire fighters' earlier contretemps. Dracula's selfish "child-brain" never foresaw that the mindmeld could bind him into a bilateral social relationship, one in which his authority and his desires were not final. He believes he can dispose of Mina as he will, but precisely because she has put herself at his disposal, suspending the collective fixation with mastery, he cannot do so after all.

"He think, too, that as he cut himself off from knowing your mind, there can be no knowledge of him to you; there is where he fail! That terrible baptism of blood which he give you makes you free to go to him in spirit, as you have yet done in your times of freedom…. And this power to good of you and others, you have won from your suffering at his hands. This is all the more precious that he know it not, and to guard himself have even cut himself off from his knowledge of our where. We, however, are not all selfish."


Like his doppelgänger, however, Van Helsing "only saw so far" (297). Assuming that he and his crew "are not all selfish," he overlooks how far their much celebrated norm of manhood, with its emphasis on assured self-possession, self-containment, and self-mastery, is constituted in an allergic relation to otherness, and so carries the seeds of a certain kind of "selfish"-ness within it. The power that Mina has "won" from her maternal "suffering" is the power to persuade her colleagues to relieve their anxious manliness with the unqualified compassion and other-directedness necessary to defeat the egoistic force of Dracula, that is, to effect a conversion that counters in spirit the "blood" conversion of vampirism. As a corollary to this conversion, the men once again allow Mina to be an active participant in the campaign rather than its mascot, abandoning the effort to aggrandize their collective male ego by reducing her to a passive and helpless type of the feminine.

With this narrative turn, it should be noted, Stoker bids to effect his own conversion in the racial and gender currencies of Irishness. He tropes the gender ambivalence of his Anglo-Celtic heritage into an alternative value structure. The hysterical heroism/heroic hysteria that has marked much of the vampire hunt begins to give way at this point to another "feminine" style of heroism, which entails confronting and conquering one's innermost xenophobia.

Van Helsing concludes his account of Mina's psychic telepathy by exhorting the others to "'follow'" Dracula "'even if we peril ourselves that we become like him'" (297). With its play on the meaning of the word follow, the last proviso has typically been taken to express Stoker's concern about the corrupting effects on otherwise high-minded British liberals of a violent struggle against a lawless colonial resistance.8 Our analysis, to this point, however, frames Van Helsing's remarks as a belated and still subliminal recognition of the family resemblance that has always subsisted between the members of Little England and their vampiric double. The occasion of his words is significant in this regard, since his recognition is not just induced by but is virtually emergent in his understanding of how the mindmeld operates. Moreover, in acknowledging, first, the possibility of their collective kinship to what has seemed an unspeakably alien figure and, second, the consequent need for the group to guard against its own vampiric aggressions, Van Helsing's address participates in the subtle but seismic shift facilitated by Mina in the symbolic stakes of the vampire hunt. Even as the action reported in the journal entries flattens into a conventional conquest adventure in an exotic locale, the introduction of the conversion narrative has leavened the symbolic register in which the action transpires. Instead of an intrusive spectral signifier of some outward racial caste (the Irish) or condition (degeneracy), a focus appropriate to more conventional imperialist romance, the vampire becomes a literalized or embodied signifier of an inward racial attitude.

One problem facing Stoker was how to map this inward turn, with its localized psychic terrain, onto the broader geopolitical landscape allegorized in the novel. His ingenious stratagem was to coordinate the successes enjoyed by the Little Englanders in their crusade with their increasing willingness to "turn Irish" in their means and manner of pursuing it. That is to say, in one of the more sweeping Gothic symmetries in the novel, Stoker counterbalances the colonial mimicry of Dracula, his strategic simulation of English metropolitan ways of being, with the reverse mimicry of the Little England crew, its adoption of presumptively Irish methods of combating him. And just as, owing to the impacted political conditions of "the union," the Irish Dracula poses or passes as what he in some sense already is (a Briton), so the members of Little England come to embrace—on duress at first and gradually by design—an otherness proper to or at least indissociable from their "true" ethno-national selves.

From the outset of the novel, some of the most potent defensive measures undertaken against the vampire derive from the liturgical rites of the Roman Catholic church, which in the Britain of Stoker's day were far less prominently associated with the historic sectarian enemies, France and Spain, than with the restive Irish people-nation.9 The first such instance sees Jonathan Harker outwardly expressing his discomfort at the receipt of a crucifix that, "as an English churchman, I have been taught to regard … as in some measure idolatrous" (13). During the mirror scene, however, he comes to regard the crucifix as his salvation from the advances of Dracula (31). In the second instance, Van Helsing seals the grave of the undead Lucy with the Eucharist, for which he claims a papal dispensation. Van Helsing does speak elsewhere of the need to rely upon superstitious traditions in the war on vampirism, but being a Catholic, he certainly does not regard the Sacrament in this light. Nor are the occult uses of the Eucharist greeted with more than momentary shock by his Protestant cohorts, who shortly find themselves escorting the Host and holding their own crucifixes aloft in an effort to drive Dracula from the body of Mina (247). In this validation of beliefs and observances typically associated with the backward, "idolatrous" peasantry of Ireland, there is an understated inversion of the single most pivotal event in Anglo/Irish history. Instead of a Protestant Dutchman, William III, being called across the water to save England from the perils of Catholicism and, by the time of the Boyne, from its Irish exponents, Stoker gives us a Catholic Dutchman called across the water to save England, and William's namesake, with the sacred objects of Catholicism and, by extension, the sectarian markers of Irishness.

One of the more prominent aspects of Irish Catholicism eschewed in Anglican culture was marialotry, a zealous, some would say excessive devotion to the Blessed Virgin, which left a deep imprint, in turn, upon nationalist symbology of Irish-Ireland. As noted above, with the growingly Catholic leadership of both the Home Rule and Republican movements, Mary was often conflated with the ancient goddesses Hibernia, Erin, and Cathleen as figures of "the sovereignty," hortatory symbols of an independent Ireland whose honor and dignity her sons were enlisted to avenge. So when Van Helsing proclaims the hypermaternal Mina "'our star and our hope'" in "'danger,'" exalting her as an avatar of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, he implicitly organizes her champions in a symbolic economy that unmistakably recalls contemporary Irish Catholic Fenianism. After Mina's surprising plea on behalf of Dracula and her ensuing entry into telepathy with him, events that catalyze the group's more conscious accommodation of otherness, Van Helsing progresses from mirroring the iconography of advanced Irish nationalism to echoing its philosophy. His quoted comment that Mina has "won" power over Dracula "'from [her] suffering at his hands'" articulates the cardinal principle underlying the Fenian-identified ethos of blood sacrifice and anticipates Terence MacSwiney's celebrated formula: victory comes to those who endure suffering rather than those who inflict it.10 Blood sacrifice is, of course, a policy of the dispossessed. It aims to make a virtue out of necessitousness, if you will, out of an absence of resources beyond the fully committed bodies of those involved. The avowal of this ethos by Little England, Van Helsing's express belief that Mina's suffering of a "blood sacrifice" may itself prove the key to victory, amounts to a marked structural identification with the disempowered yet dangerous element of Irish patriotism that Dracula has often been taken to allegorize.

A certain topical allusion, highly provocative for Stoker's contemporary audience, not only underlines this cross-ethnic/cross-class identification but also calls attention to the self-consciousness with which Little England assumes it. In his journal, Seward calls the vampire fighters' entire strategy of pursuing Dracula into Transylvania their "Plan of Campaign" (ED 383), and since he uses the uppercase letters that turn this colloquial expression into a proper name, he can only be read as affiliating their effort with the Plan of Campaign, a scheme undertaken between 1886 and 1890 for the Irish tenantry to secure the right of collective bargaining through systematic rent strikes and boycotting.11 At the primary level, Seward's use of the term as a corporate self-description identifies the struggle of the Little Englanders against Dracula with a moral force resistance movement undertaken by their ethnic and class antipodes. There is, as usual in Dracula, a vertiginous exactitude to this arrangement. The change in Little England's moral and political objective, allegorically considered, from defeating the vampire without (the racial other) to defeating the vampire within (the racialist predisposition) forms a precise corrective reversal of the form of projection demanded of the metrocolonial subject, the displacement of the otherness within onto some external threat. Hence, the change in moral and political objective is not merely accentuated or even supplemented, but literally realized and to a degree explained by the transmutation of metropolitan Anglo mandarins into barbarous Irish aliens.

But the gesture enacted in Seward's journal entry carries still greater evidentiary force and political resonance. In the Plan of Campaign, Seward hits on more than an event in Irish history with which Little England might identify, he hits on a conspicuous site in the history of liberal England's identification with the Irish tenantry during the so-called Union of Hearts, which covered roughly the same period. What made the Plan of Campaign such a salient political move-ment was less its direct effects on landlord-lessee relations, which were negligible, than its indirect effects on the way certain more advanced, progressive constituencies of English liberalism came, in despite of the party leadership, to view the plight of the Irish, that is, its capacity to mobilize in historical fact the sort of sympathetic imagination that Mina Harker mobilizes in Gothic fiction. Initiated by Stoker's cousin John Dillon, among others, the plan of Campaign was designed to bait the largely Ascendancy landlords into staging ruthless evictions that would hopefully be witnessed by English visitors invited to Ireland for that purpose.12

One such prominent visitor was a Liberal party member of Parliament from Cornwall, Charles Conybeare, who wound up assisting, even joining the resistance efforts of evicted tenants in Donegal and was for his trouble arrested, convicted, and jailed on the charge of criminal conspiracy. Since the "clinching evidence" turned on Conybeare giving "three cheers for the Plan of Campaign," one might reasonably infer that he was punished for the crime of identifying with the disaffected Irish by being treated as one.13 Another Liberal party politico, George Lansbury, was motivated to organize a Radical club delegation to the Plan of Campaign by a preexisting Irish identification, which has a special pertinence for Dracula. Having moved as a boy to the Whitechapel neighborhood of the East End—the haunt of Dracula in London and the ground of certain of his racial affiliations—Lansbury lived, in his words, "among what may be described as a mixed population—Irish and Jews and foreigners, of all nationalities."14 Here Ireland became the center of a radiating countercultural web of subaltern loyalties and adherences spun right in the heart of the metropole:

The Irish boys at our school were all 'Fenians'; consequently, when the wall of Clerkenwell Prison was blown down and three Irish martyrs executed in Manchester because a police officer was accidentally killed, very great excitement prevailed in our classes and playground. The teachers tried to make us understand how wicked the Irishmen had been on both occasions, but my Irish friends would have none of it, and when a few months later T. D. Sullivan's song God Save Ireland came out, we boys were shouting it at the tops of our voices every playtime.15

The last sentence adumbrates a developing solidarity between elements of the English and Irish communities in England, a bond that proved crucial to the Home Rule policies of Stoker's political favorites and found still more strenuous expression in the Plan of Campaign that they opposed.

By having the English Seward place the final, ultimately successful push against Dracula under the sign of the Plan of Campaign, Stoker looks to rivet text and context, history and fantasy, literary and geopolitics from both ends. On one side, through the association of the Plan, and more specifically English participation in the Plan, with the happy resolution of a hibernicized nightmare of blood, Stoker offers his support, characteristically encrypted, for those advanced Liberals who seized the occasion to fashion links with the moral force Irish independence movement, fulfilling the political posture implicit in "The Voice of England." On the other side, insofar as these elements sought a resolution to the Irish crisis in a self-conscious revision of England's ethnic attitudes, Seward's replication of this gesture further attests to the self-reflexive turn the vampire hunt has taken.

The construction of the novel's denouement, the pursuit and execution of Dracula, illustrates the last point compellingly. When the vampire fighters arrive at Galatz, looking for the box containing the Count, they are directed to the office of Immanuel Hildesheim, whose presence elicits an outburst of anti-Semitic vitriol from Jonathan Harker (D 302). In keeping with the dream logic of the novel, this racist fulmination magically conjures forth an objective correlative with direct bearing upon Little England's quest: the man to whom Hildesheim directs them, Petrof Shinsky, immediately turns up dead, the victim of a murder with apparent racial overtones ("'This is the work of a Slovak,'" the women cry; 303). To avoid being caught up in a Balkan "whirlpool" of racial animosity and outrage, Harker must flee the scene with his cohorts, forsaking any immediate prospect of locating his wife's tormentor. The men's response to this setback, phantasmatically effected by their own lingering racism, is to begin "taking Mina again into [their] confidence" (303). Given her telepathic function, this decision is particularly significant because it serves to close the circuit, to complete the connection, between the society of Little England and their vampiric other. At this point, the men finally agree to finish the process of admitting alterity in their midst, to assume the "hazardous" "chance" of racial self-exposure (303). This attitude proves as conducive to their ultimate goal as their blood anxiety has been counterproductive.

With her "man's brain" and "woman's heart," her mixed blood and iconic purity, her undead and yet unvanquished spirit, Mina is not only a hybrid figure but also, through sheer force of over-determination, a symbolic figure of hybridity; and it is she, tellingly, who puts Little England back on the trail lost in connection with her husband's anti-Semitic lapse. Her determination of the proper route to follow, the river course, merely transposes onto the terrain of action adventure her earlier directions as to the proper ethicopolitical course to follow. Once again, the narrative and symbolic syntax prompts the discovery that the waterway to finding and defeating Dracula flows inward.

To render this lesson still more forcibly, while keeping the attendant social critique as muted as possible, Stoker contrives to make the final narrative destination, the killing of Dracula, purposively anti- and ante-climactic at the same time. The end of Dracula is anti-climactic because there is no prolonged or gripping death struggle. Dracula seemingly dies at a touch and disappears in the same motion. As Mina records it, "It was like a miracle; but before our very eyes, and almost in the drawing of a breath, the whole body crumbled into dust and passed from our sight" (325). Noting that the collective "butchery" promised by Van Helsing fails to meet expectations, Auerbach and Skal opine that "Dracula's supposed death is riddled with ambiguity" (325). On the contrary, a definite message can be gleaned from the manner in which Dracula's death defies expectations. The body of the vampire does not in the end offer even the minimal resistance necessarily exerted by an independently objectified being. Unsustainable, even as dust, he bears the insubstantiality of a mirage, an internally generated phantom. Mina's phraseology seems chosen to insinuate the imaginary status of Dracula. He vanishes "in the drawing of a breath" because he is a function of breath, metaphorically considered, an emanation of the soul.

In this light, the fate of Quincy Morris may be seen as the terminal and summary instance of the mirroring of vampire and vampire fighters. Received in the very act of slaying Dracula, Morris's death wound serves as a ritual token of Dracula's symbolic value for the members of Little England: it signifies that their effective extermination of the vampire and what he represents can only transpire through the eradication of a blameworthy part of their collective self. That the sacrificial embodiment of this part is an Anglo-American, the ethno-national group inheriting world-imperial domination from the British, suggests that a more broadly colonialist supremacism is at last emerging as the guilty attribute. This brings us to the ante-climactic aspect of Dracula's demise. While the reader might infer that Mina's all-important scar—the mark of her pollution by and subjection to the hibernicized monster—disappears on the instant of Dracula's passing, the spectacle of its disappearance is explicitly paired instead with the end of Morris. Dracula has been gone for some time—indeed, his gypsy allies have since departed—when Morris in his death throes bears witness to the regenerated purity of Mina's visage: "'Look! Look!… See! The snow is not more stainless than her forehead! The curse has passed away!'" (326). Timing, as we know by now, is everything in the symbolic economy of Dracula. The timing here, the coincidence of Mina's cleansing not with the vampire's destruction but with its subjective correlative, indicates that "the curse" consists less in the taint of blood immixture than in the estimation of such immixture as taint. In other words, Mina carries the stigmata of her Irish hybridity until the moment, symbolically enacted in Morris's death, when the social stigma of that hybridity dissipates.

Jonathan Harker's closing "Note," seven years on, confirms as much on several levels—fact, import, and ethos—all of which converge in the person of the Harkers' first-born child, who signals the renewal of Little England on other terms. The fact, first of all, that "the boy's birthday is on the same day as that on which Quincy Morris died" (326) positions him as the redemptive effect of Morris's "gallant" performance as ritual scapegoat in the destruction of the evil doppelgänger. Mina herself draws some such inference in her "secret belief that some of [Morris's] spirit has passed into [her son]," in what amounts to a clear reversal of the vampiric "curse" whose passing is heralded by Morris's death (326). As opposed to Dracula's outright appropriation of the spirit through the lethal ingestion of another's blood, Morris has achieved a partial transmission of spirit through the shedding of his own blood. The yoking of the Christian ideal with the politics of hybridity, initiated by Mina, is thus sustained through the coda of the novel.

The import of Morris's death is memorialized in the naming of the Harker child. His parents give him a "bundle of names" intended to link the "little band of men together" (326). By this act, he becomes not just the symbolic heir of Little England as a whole but a living emblem of that radical connectivity which proved the ethical cor-relative of the Little Englanders' triumph, their means of destroying the vampire in themselves. Quincy, the name the boy is called, becomes by extension the master signifier of that connectivity, upon which the first Quincy's death put the seal. In a certain sense, even Dracula himself finds a place in the xenophilic community that young Harker embodies.

As a number of critics have noted, Mina's dark tryst with Dracula means that the blood of the vampire now flows in the veins of her golden child. Some have seen this genetic residuum as an ironic portent of ongoing or recrudescent racial menace, "an element of horror … left over, uncontained," in the words of Daniel Pick.16 Others see this result as ironic evidence that, as Stephen D. Arata puts it, "the position of vampire and victim have been reversed. Now it is Dracula whose blood is appropriated and transformed to nourish a failing race…. The English race invigorates itself by appropriating those racial qualities needed to reverse its own decline."17 The former position sees the nightmare of Dracula continuing for British imperialism; the latter sees the nightmare of British imperialism continuing, with Stoker's license. Before we accept this Hobson's choice, however, it is well to remember that insofar as both the vampire and Mina Murray Harker are coded Irish in the novel, and undecidably Anglo/Celtic-Irish in either case, this final admixture of blood need not be construed as bearing any significance, as making any objective difference in a racial or ethnic sense. And this ultimate in-difference is by no means an accident of allegory. To the contrary, Stoker has characteristically reappropriated a well-worn Gothic convention, here the secret ineradicability of vampiric infection, to index what is unconventional about his novel: that it is not finally about blood distinction but blood consciousness. The dominant, seemingly opposed readings of the coda have joined in mistaking the novel's critical object for its ideological objective, a tribute to Stoker's dense, socially motivated cryptology.

The characters themselves, however, do point the way beyond this error by the end of Dracula. Arata claims that Harker "unwittingly calls attention" in the closing note to the presence of Dracula's blood in his son and heir.18 But since Harker clearly neither forgets nor suppresses the incident of his wife's vamping—"Seven years ago we all went through the flames" (326)—his unwittingness can be seen to arise from a comparative unconcern or lack of anxiety about the index of "blood." Indeed, Harker's ease of mind on this score is the political burden of the novel's happy ending. It is precisely in relinquishing the mania or obsession with blood that the men of Little England have freed themselves from the enthrallment with vampirism, which is but the Gothic literalization of that mania. To accept the influx of Dracula's blood, his racial otherness, is to escape the influence of Dracula's vampirism, his racist obsession with blood as the vehicle of identity. The vampire fighters have, in Harker's words, gone "through the flames," the Christian symbol of purgation, and it is they who have been purified, not of Dracula's blood, which they only encountered in the process, but of their own liability to blood "hate." In Lacanian terms, the men of Little England have graduated from the Imaginary register, which is defined by an antagonistic struggle for an always elusory self-identity, here presumed to reside in blood; and they have graduated to the Symbolic register, wherein identity is understood to be the aftereffect of a social relationality inscribed in the signifier, here an aptly polyeponymous name capable of linking a group of people together. Projected onto the geopolitical scale, this shift from an Imaginary of blood to a Symbolic of social articulation or interlinkage represents a theoretical model of the shift that Stoker desired and his political hero Gladstone made a Liberal policy goal: from emulous rivalry among the various parties to the Irish Question to coexistence within a multinational state embracing Home Rule for its several constituencies.

Quincy Harker, finally, is the culmination of Mina's role as universal mother, on which basis she has served as the principal exponent of the ethos of radical social connectivity celebrated in the novel. Accordingly, the child provides an occasion for punctuating the narrative with a reaffirmation of Mina's preeminence, not just as an iconic presence but as a transformative agency. The task falls to the official spokesman and authority figure of the group, Van Helsing, who holds young Harker, rather like a symbolic prop, upon his knee: "'This boy will some day know what a brave and gallant woman his mother is. Already he knows her sweetness and loving care; later on he will understand how some men so loved her, that they did dare much for her sake'" (327). As he has done before, Van Helsing manages to cast Mina simultaneously as a hyperfeminine ideal, here troped in terms of maternal "sweetness and loving care," and as a gloriously androgynous bearer of masculine virtue, here troped along martial rather than the usual intellectual lines. While the men "did dare so much for her sake," Mina does not occupy the traditional feminine pedestal of treasured object, but proves "brave and gallant" in her own right, a positive force in the struggle against vampirism. One effect of this unconventional gender combination is to suggest that Mina's surpassing courage consists in her maternalism itself, in her willingness to acknowledge her imbrication with even the most threatening forms of otherness and to predicate her ethical posture on that radical connectivity. It is in following Mina's heroic lead, in letting go the racialist impetus of their manly ideal, that the men of Little England become the heroes that they are too readily presumed to be all along. And it is by following this lead that the "hard men" of young Harker's generation might have resolved the Irish Question on the principles of domestic cosmopolitanism, first advocated in Stoker's Address, twenty-five years before Dracula, instead of resolving the Irish Question twenty-five years after Dracula, on principles of tribal bloodletting worthy of the vampire at his worst.


1. Janet Oppenheim, "Shattered Nerves" (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 141-80.

2. For a discussion of this traditional identification, see Joan Copjec, Read My Desire (Boston: MIT Press, 1994), 128-29.

3. As in contemporary slasher films, the heroine (Mina) actually exceeds stereotyped gender expectations in ways that the female victims (Lucy and her mother) do not. See Carol J. Clover, "Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film," Representations 20 (Spring 1987): 187-228.

4. Wolf takes her "whole argument" to be "dictated from afar by Dracula." See ED 367 n. 17.

5. See Oliver MacDonagh, States of Mind (London: Allen and Unwin, 1983), 34-51.

6. In Stoker's time, there was a Roman Catholic church called Mary, Star of the Sea, off Leahy's Terrace in suburban Dublin. See Don Gifford, Ulysses Annotated (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 384.

7. The phrase sweeter counsels recalls another prominent appellation of Mary, "Our Mother of Good Counsel."

8. Moses, "The Irish Vampire," 87.

9. For a detailed anatomy of the role of religion in Dracula, see Moses, "The Irish Vampire," 89-96.

10. Tom Garvin, Nationalist Revolutionaries in Ireland (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987), 157.

11. Lyons, Ireland since the Famine, 188-94. In every other edition of Dracula, the Plan of Campaign is capitalized, so the Norton's lowercase rendering is surely an error.

12. Liz Curtis, The Cause of Ireland, 152.

13. Ibid., 152-53.

14. Ibid., 153.

15. Ibid., 153-54.

16. Pick, "'Terrors of the Night,'" 77.

17. Arata, Fictions of Loss, 129.

18. Ibid.

Bram Stoker, Dracula, ed. Nina Auerbach and David Skal, Norton Critical Edition (New York: Norton, 1997).
Bram Stoker, The Essential Dracula: The Definitive Annotated Edition of Bram Stoker's Classic Novel, ed. Leonard Wolf (New York: Penguin, 1993).
Bram Stoker, "The Necessity for Political Honesty," auditor's Address to the Trinity College Historical Society, first meeting, twenty-eighth session, November 13, 1872.



Clemens, Valerie. "Dracula: The Reptilian Brain at the Fin de Siècle." In Dracula: The Shade and the Shadow: A Critical Anthology, edited by Elizabeth Miller, pp. 205-18. Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, United Kingdom: Desert Island, 1998.

Examines Dracula in light of turn-of-the-century concerns over rapid social, technological, and cultural change.

Craft, Christopher. "'Kiss Me with Those Red Lips': Gender and Inversion in Bram Stoker's Dracula." Representations, no. 8 (autumn 1984): 107-33.

Probes the ambivalent representation of same-sex eroticism in Dracula.

Fry, Carol L. "Fictional Conventions and Sexuality in Dracula." Victorian Newsletter, no. 42 (fall 1972): 20-22.

Briefly identifies the classically Gothic melodramatic plot of the rake's pursuit and seduction of a virgin as rendered in Dracula.

Ingelbien, Raphael. "Gothic Genealogies: Dracula, Bowen's Court, and Anglo-Irish Psychology." ELH 70, no. 4 (winter 2003): 1089-1105.

Considers Dracula as "an allegory of Ireland's social, political, and cultural upheavals at the end of the nineteenth century."

Jackson, Rosemary. "Gothic Tales and Novels." In Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion, pp. 95-122. London: Methuen, 1981.

Studies Dracula as "a culmination of nineteenth-century English Gothic," particularly considering the symbolic qualities of the vampire myth employed by Stoker in the novel.

Lewis, Pericles. "Dracula and the Epistemology of the Victorian Gothic Novel." In Dracula: The Shade and the Shadow: A Critical Anthology, edited by Elizabeth Miller, pp. 71-81. Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, England: Desert Island, 1998.

Examines the ways in which Dracula prefigures post-modern critical notions of the "unreliability of individual perception."

Nayder, Lillian. "Virgin Territory and the Iron Virgin: Engendering the Empire in Bram Stoker's 'The Squaw.'" In Maternal Instincts: Visions of Motherhood and Sexuality in Britain, 1875–1925, edited by Claudia Nelson and Ann Sumner Holmes, pp. 75-97. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997.

Highlights thematic concerns with gender and empire in Stoker's story "The Squaw."

Pedlar, Valerie. "Dracula: A Fin-de-Siècle Fantasy." In The Nineteenth-Century Novel: Identities, edited by Dennis Walder, pp. 196-216. London: Open University Press, 2001.

Analyzes Dracula in the contexts of nineteenth-century myth and fantasy writing, the conventions of Gothic literature, vampire folklore, and Freudian psychoanalysis.

Roth, Phyllis. Bram Stoker. Boston: Twayne, 1982, 167 p.

Concise critical introduction to Stoker and his works that includes a psychoanalytical interpretation of Dracula, a biographical summary, and an extensive bibliography.

Schaffrath, Stephan. "Order-versus-Chaos Dichotomy in Bram Stoker's Dracula." Extrapolation 43, no. 1 (spring 2002): 98-112.

Elucidates the symbolic conflict between order and chaos depicted in Dracula.

Senf, Carol A. Introduction to The Critical Introduction to Bram Stoker, edited by Carol A. Senf, pp. 1-41. West-port, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.

Surveys the defining characteristics of Stoker's fiction.

Stade, George. Introduction to Dracula, by Bram Stoker, pp. v-xiv. New York: Bantam Books, 1981.

Recapitulates the modern critical tendency to interpret the "prevailing emotion" of Dracula as "a screaming horror of female sexuality."

Stewart, Garrett. "'Count Me In': Dracula, Hypnotic Participation, and the Late-Victorian Gothic of Reading." Lit: Literature Interpretation Theory 5, no. 1 (1994): 1-18.

Theoretical discussion of Dracula as the aesthetic terminus of the late-Victorian Gothic romance.

Temple, Philip. "The Origins of Dracula." Times Literary Supplement (4 November 1983): 1216.

Observes several possible anecdotal and geographical sources for Dracula.

Tilley, Elizabeth. "Stoker, Paris and the Crisis of Identity." Literature and History 10, no. 2 (autumn 2001): 26-41.

Investigates the Paris setting of Stoker's short story "The Burial of the Rats" and its relation to garbage, sanitation, and middle-class identity.

Twitchell, James B. "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Wolfman." In Dreadful Pleasures: An Anatomy of Modern Horror, pp. 215-16. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Regards "Dracula's Guest" as "one of the best werewolf stories ever written."

Valente, Joseph. "'Double Born': Bram Stoker and the Metrocolonial Gothic." Modern Fiction Studies 46, no. 3 (fall 2000): 632-45.

Concentrates on topical references to Anglo-Irish relations and the psycho-symbolic use of the doppelgänger motif in Stoker's story "The Dualitists; or the Death Doom of the Double Born."

Varnado, S. L. "The Daemonic in Dracula." In Haunted Presence: The Numinous in Gothic Fiction, pp. 95-114. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 1987.

Views Dracula as a dramatization of the "cosmic struggle between the opposing forces of darkness and light, of the sacred and the profane."

Weissman, Judith. "Women and Vampires: Dracula as a Victorian Novel." Midwest Quarterly 18, no. 4 (July 1977): 392-405.

Interprets Dracula as a novel of "sexual terror." Weissman interprets the female vampire as a symbol of "the sexually straightforward and insatiable woman" who is threatening to the sexually insecure man.

Williams, Anne. "Why Are Vampires Afraid of Garlic?: Dracula." In Art of Darkness: A Poetics of Gothic, pp. 121-34. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Examines the significance of the tools—"the rosary, a branch of the flowering wild rose, and the Host, as well as … [g]arlic, the crucifix, and the stake"—used by vampire hunter Van Helsing.

Wolf, Leonard. The Essential Dracula. New York: Plume, 1993, 484 p.

Places Dracula within the literary and historical contexts of Gothic fiction.


Additional coverage of Stoker's life and career is contained in the following sources published by Thomson Gale: Authors and Artists for Young Adults, Vol. 23; Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: Biography & Resources, Vol. 3; Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults, Vol. 5; British Writers, Vol. 3; Concise Dictionary of British Literary Biography, 1890–1914; Contemporary Authors, Vols. 105, 150; Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vols. 36, 70, 178, 304; DISCovering Authors; DISCovering Authors: British; DISCovering Authors: Canadian; DISCovering Authors Modules: Most-studied Authors and Novelists; DISCovering Authors 3.0; Literature and Its Times, Vol. 1; Literature Resource Center; Novels for Students, Vol. 18; Reference Guide to English Literature, Ed. 2; St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers; Short Story Criticism, Vol. 62; Something about the Author, Vol. 29; Supernatural Fiction Writers; Twayne's English Authors; Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, Vols. 8, 144; World Literature and Its Times, Vol. 4; and World Literature Criticism.

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Stoker, Bram (1847 - 1912)

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