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Sexuality and Satire in Dracula

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Julie Bickel

on 15 April 2011

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Transcript of Sexuality and Satire in Dracula

Gender Roles Sexuality Satire and in Dracula Traditional Victorian
Women Traditional Role wife and mother
in charge of household
to care for husband [T]he gentlewoman . . . was seldom permitted to take the initiative. What she must be she learned chiefly from what she must not be—from a long, appalling list of actions stigmatized as “unladylike.” The implacable propriety of the Victorian period in England . . . permits us to realize how stagnant, monotonous, and jejune was the world in which the model lady lived (75).
Scheffauer, Herman. “The Passing of the Gentlewoman.” The North American Review 704.200 (1914): 71-84.
JSTOR. Web. 04 Dec. 2010. New Woman rode a bicycle
had a job
needed no escort/chaperone
needed no husband or children When it came to sex the New Woman was more frank and open than her predecessors. She felt free to initiate sexual relationships, to explore alternatives to marriage and motherhood, and to discuss sexual matters such as contraception and venereal disease (35). Senf, Carol A. “Dracula: Stoker’s Response to Women.” Victorian Studies 26.1 (1982): 33-49. JSTOR. Web. 14 Nov. 2010. Men Response to New Woman [T]he New Woman will not surrender her present privileges; i.e., she will still expect the man to stand that she may sit; the man to get wet through that she may use his umbrella. But if she retain those privileges she can only do so by an appeal to his chivalry, i.e., by a confession that she is weaker than he. . . . She wants to get those comforts and concessions due to feebleness, at the same time as she demands the lion’s share of the power (212). Ouida. “The New Woman.” Literature and Culture at the Fin de Siècle. Ed. Talia Schaffer. New York: Pearson Education, 2007. 210-217. Print. scorned by traditional men and women
"Wanted to become men" --Sarah Grand The Aesthete thin, lacked muscle
enjoyed ideas of "degeneration" and "decadence," worked them into prose and poetry
sometimes feminists Oscar Wilde “One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art”
(quoted in Schaffer, 7). Schaffer, Talia, ed. Literature and Culture at the Fin de Siècle. New York: Pearson
Education, 2007. Print. "poster boy" of Aestheticism
Aestheticism ended with his trial


friend of Bram Stoker Response to Aesthetes scorned by traditional men and women
viewed as "effeminate"
Oscar Wilde's trial ended Aesthetic movement Traditional Role muscular
enjoyed sports
scorned "decadence" and "degeneration"
patriarchal mindset convicted of sodomy and "gross indecency" Influence of Women “He was surrounded by strong women throughout his life. In fact, Daniel Farson, Stoker’s grand-nephew, reports that ‘the family were in awe of Charlotte [Stoker's mother] if not actually afraid of her’” (Senf 37). Charlotte Stoker had negative views toward “weak” women from the workhouses idleness created a “‘hotbed of vice’” (Senf 38)
female independence was a part of New Woman ideology Senf, Carol A. “Dracula: Stoker’s Response to Women.” Victorian Studies 26.1 (1982): 33-49. JSTOR. Web. 14 Nov. 2010. Stoker's Personal Life homosexual?
supporter of New Woman?
Influences of Homosexuality Dracula Stoker began writing one month after Wilde's trial
Count Dracula resembles Wilde
novel rife with strong female characters
vampirism = fears of society? “Farson [Stoker’s grand-nephew] states that . . . Florence refused to have sexual relations with Bram after the birth of their child” (Senf 38). This New Womanly refusal would likely have been enormously frustrating, and Stoker was left to find other means to satisfy his desires. Senf concludes that Stoker was probably celibate since 1877, “as far as Florence was concerned” (38). Senf, Carol A. “Dracula: Stoker’s Response to Women.” Victorian Studies 26.1 (1982): 33-49. JSTOR. Web. 14 Nov. 2010. exchanged letters with Stoker hero-worship or homoeroticism? Schaffer, Talia. “‘A Wilde Desire Took Me’: The Homoerotic History of Dracula.” ELH 62.1 (1994): 381-425. JSTOR. Web. 14 Nov. 2010. "Stoker went to Camden three times, to find Whitman 'all that I had ever dreamed of, or wished for'" (382). Stoker himself writes to Whitman, "'How sweet a thing it is for a strong healthy man with a woman’s eyes and a child's wishes to feel that he can speak so to a man who can be if he wishes father, and brother and wife to his soul'" (Schaffer 383). The hair . . . [was] dark iron-grey, the cheeks were fuller, . . . Even the deep, burning eyes seemed set amongst swollen flesh, for the lids and pouches underneath were bloated. . . . He lay like a filthy leech, exhausted with his repletion (Stoker 58). There was something oily and fat about him that repelled me .... his hands were flabby, greasy; his skin looked bilious and dirty ... His appearance filled me with distaste. I lay stress on this physical repulsion, because I think most people felt it (quoted in Schaffer 399). Stoker, Bram. Dracula. New York: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2003. Print. Schaffer, Talia. “‘A Wilde Desire Took Me’: The Homoerotic History of Dracula.”
ELH 62.1 (1994): 381-425. JSTOR. Web. 14 Nov. 2010. fecal stains found on Wilde’s bed sheets were “one of the worst pieces of evidence against [him] . . . The small fecal stains become a gigantic mound of excrement” (Schaffer 398, 407). Schaffer, Talia. “‘A Wilde Desire Took Me’: The Homoerotic History of Dracula.”
ELH 62.1 (1994): 381-425. JSTOR. Web. 14 Nov. 2010. Count Dracula thin frame
feminine charge of household chores
"dirty bed"
Renfield, a madman, is the only male who voluntarily follows Dracula
only male vampire Florence Balcombe Walt Whitman Oscar Wilde Dracula's appearance Wilde's appearance convicted of sodomy Jonathan Harker Harker notes that "as the Count leaned over me and his hands touched me, I could not repress a shudder" (Stoker 23)
after Jonathan is nearly fed upon by the three weird sisters, the Count chases them off in a protective fashion, and informs them that "'this man belongs to me'" (Stoker 44)
in England, Mina is clutched to Dracula’s breast while "[Jonathan]'s flushed face and heavy breathing indicate that he is in something like a post-coital 'stupor'" (Armstrong 10) Stoker, Bram. Dracula. New York: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2003. Print. Armstrong, Nancy. “Feminism, Fiction, and the Utopian Promise of Dracula.” Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 1.16 (2005): 1-24. EBSCOhost. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. Vampirism homoeroticism gender role reversal waits for Dracula's brides to pierce him "Vampirism both expresses and distorts an originally sexual energy" (Craft 107). Vampires reproduce through oral means—that is, by penetrating and sucking on another’s flesh. There is a distinct androgyny about the mouth being the reproductive organ. It is an orifice which also pierces the recipient with hard teeth. hetero- or homoerotic? Female Vampires aggressive and dominant
erotic
oppressive rather than nurturing
can penetrate as well as receive Mina Harker "'man's brain . . . and a woman's heart,'" according to Dr. Van Helsing (Stoker 251)
uses a typewriter, writes in shorthand
vital in aiding Van Helsing, Morris, Seward, Godalming, and Jonathan catch Dracula

becomes a sexual deviant does not sit around and wait to be protected "Initially, Mina Harker is one of those secondary characters born to serve as man's helpmate. Once bitten she takes over center stage and becomes the focal point and purpose of the labor carried out by her entourage of masculine types—a doctor, a scientist, an American capitalist, and a member of the English gentry, as well as her husband, a real estate agent" (Armstrong 12). Armstrong, Nancy. “Feminism, Fiction, and the Utopian Promise of Dracula.” Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 1.16 (2005): 1-24. EBSCOhost. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. Kneeling on the near edge of the bed facing outwards was the white-clad figure of [Jonathan's] wife. . . The Count . . . 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. . . The attitude of the two had a terrible resemblance to a child forcing a kitten's nose into a saucer of milk to compel it to drink (Stoker 300). Stoker, Bram. Dracula. New York: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2003. Print. Lucy Westenra and the Weird Sisters Dracula gives the Weird Sisters a bag of food, "which moved as though there were some living thing within it . . . there was a gasp and a low wail, as of a half-smothered child" (Stoker 45)
Lucy becomes known as the "Bloofer Lady," who haunts the Hampstead Heath in search of errant children, upon whom she feeds Stoker, Bram. Dracula. New York: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2003. Print. Vampirism as Satire Dracula symbolizes homosexuality, which starts the many problems in "civilized" society
Homosexuality, and by extension, anti-traditional thinking, is the thrust of the vampirism that places Mina, Lucy, and Dracula's three brides on equal standing with men
Vampirism, therefore, is a metaphor for the New Woman as well as the Aesthete, as embodied by Lucy, Mina, and the Weird Sisters, and Dracula, respectively
Aestheticism and the New Woman, then, are what strike fear into the hearts of proper, God-fearing Englishmen and women, just as Dracula and his female followers create such a terrified response from Jonathan, Mina, Seward, Morris, Van Helsing, and Lord Godalming Craft, Christopher. “ ‘Kiss Me with Those Red Lips’: Gender and Inversion in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” Representations 8 (1984): 107-33. JSTOR. Web. 14 Nov. 2010. Armstrong, Nancy. “Feminism, Fiction, and the Utopian Promise of Dracula.” Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 1.16 (2005): 1-24. EBSCOhost. Web. 19 Nov. 2010.

Bollen, Katrien, and Raphael Ingelbien. “An Intertext That Counts? Dracula, The Woman in White, and Victorian Imaginations of the Foreign Other.” English Studies 90.4 (2009): 403-420. EBSCOhost. Web. 19 Nov. 2010.

Craft, Christopher. “ ‘Kiss Me with Those Red Lips’: Gender and Inversion in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” Representations 8 (1984): 107-33. JSTOR. Web. 14 Nov. 2010.

Douglas, Lord Alfred. “Two Loves.” Literature and Culture at the Fin de Siècle. Ed. Talia Schaffer. New York: Pearson Education, 2007. 78-79. Print.

Grand, Sarah. “The New Aspect of the Woman Question.” Literature and Culture at the Fin de Siècle. Ed. Talia Schaffer. New York: Pearson Education, 2007. 205-210. Print.

McKee, Patricia. “Racialization, Capitalism, and Aesthetics in Stoker’s Dracula.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 36.1 (2002): 42-60. JSTOR. Web. 14 Nov. 2010.

Ouida. “The New Woman.” Literature and Culture at the Fin de Siècle. Ed. Talia Schaffer. New York: Pearson Education, 2007. 210-217. Print.

Schaffer, Talia. “‘A Wilde Desire Took Me’: The Homoerotic History of Dracula.” ELH 62.1 (1994): 381-425. JSTOR. Web. 14 Nov. 2010.

---, ed. Literature and Culture at the Fin de Siècle. New York: Pearson Education, 2007. Print.

Scheffauer, Herman. “The Passing of the Gentlewoman.” The North American Review 704.200 (1914): 71-84. JSTOR. Web. 04 Dec. 2010.

Senf, Carol A. “Dracula: Stoker’s Response to Women.” Victorian Studies 26.1 (1982): 33-49. JSTOR. Web. 14 Nov. 2010.

Stevenson, John Allen. “The Vampire in the Mirror: The Sexuality of Dracula.” PLMA 103.2 (1988): 139-149. JSTOR. Web. 14 Nov. 2010.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. New York: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2003. Print.

Yu, Eric Kwan-Wai. “Productive Fear: Labor, Sexuality, and Mimicry in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 48.2 (2006): 145-170. EBSCOhost. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. Sources
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