On Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Today marks the 100th anniversary of Bram Stoker’s death. Guest writer REN ZELEN reports Stoker’s most famous creation, Dracula, continues “to feed on the lifeblood of our culture” and is as strong today as ever.
“There was one great tomb more lordly than all the rest; huge it was, and nobly proportioned. On it was but one word, DRACULA.”
Of all our monsters, the Vampire remains our most malleable fictional creation, rediscovered by each generation and reinvented to reflect its own fears and repressed desires. Contemporary concerns and attitudes always serve to colour our perception of these adaptable bloodsuckers and their slayers, and the character of the Count has so inspired the human imagination that he has become one of the most versatile figures of popular culture. Vampire mythology has various historical sources and literary precedents, but its cultural impact began with Bram Stoker’s novel.
Stoker’s book ‘Dracula’, entered the literary world and was thoroughly absorbed into the Western imagination. Like a vampire itself, the myth continues to feed on the lifeblood of popular culture in order to attain immortality. It has infected a host of other mediums – there have been countless adaptations in the movies and on TV and it has mutated into forms the Count himself would not easily recognize.
But it was the repressive society of Victorian England that gave birth to and nurtured the original monster, and that is where we must look to discover the source of Count Dracula’s persistent potency.