QCQ-12 English 420, Victorian Monsters

QCQ-12 English 420, Victorian Monsters

Quotation

“Thus when we find the habitation of this man-that-was, we can confine him to his coffin and destroy him, if we obey what we know. But he is clever…He must, indeed, have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk…If it be so, then was he no common man; for in that time, and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and most cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the ‘land beyond the forest.’ That mighty brain and that iron resolution went with him to his grave, and are even now arrayed against us. The Draculas were…a great and noble race, though now and again were scions who were held by their coevals to have had dealings with the Evil One. They learned his secrets in the Scholomance…and in one manuscript this very Dracula is spoken of as ‘wampyr,’ which we all understand too well. There have been from the loins of this very one great men and good women, and their graves make sacred the earth where alone this foulness can dwell. For it is not the least of its terrors that this evil thing is rooted deep in all good; in soil barren of holy memories it cannot rest.”

Connection

After studying all the records that Mina and Jonathan have compiled, a committee has been formed to vanquish Dracula: Professor Van Helsing at the head, Dr. Seward, Mina as secretary, Jonathan, Lord Godalming (Holmwood), and Mr. Morris. They discuss Dracula’s strengths and weaknesses and settle upon a strategy for destroying him.

Comment

It is interesting to me that Van Helsing states “that this evil thing is rooted deep in all good.” This reflects duality. That Dracula was once “no common man,” that is, the most clever, the most cunning, the most brave, a descendant of a “great and noble race,” who is now a “man-that-was” suggests a monumental fall from grace. Here we have Thesis V: The Monster Polices the Borders of the Possible.

  • “To step outside this official geography is to risk attack by some monstrous border patrol or (worse) to become monstrous oneself.”
  • “The monster embodies those sexual practices that must not be committed, or that may be committed only through the body of the monster.”
  • “The monster is transgressive, too sexual, perversely erotic, a lawbreaker; and so the monster and all that it embodies must be exiled or destroyed.”

Apparently the Draculas had “dealings with the Evil One.” Dealing with the devil is taboo. And Dracula is cursed for it. Dracula is possessive and dominant of his conquests, both men and women. He is transgressive: he spares no one and no thing in order to meet his own needs.

Stoker, B., Browning, J. E., & Skal, D. J. (2022). Chapter 18. In Dracula: Authoritative text, contexts, reviews and reactions, dramatic and film variations, criticism (225, 226). essay, W.W. Norton & Company.

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