• Dracula as a Foretelling of WWI

    Genesea Carter
    Tom Durwood (see profile)
    World War (1914-1918), Literature
    Item Type:
    Online publication
    Literature of Empire, Dracula, World War I literature
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    We have long been fascinated with the connection between monsters and our underlying fears. Jerome Cohen’s 1996 book Monster Theory looks at horror stories as a sort of Rorschach test for the culture as a whole. If we look carefully, we can see in them our fears and anxieties about ourselves. According to this theory, each monster is specific to a particular time: The Invasion of the Body Snatchers grew out of the 1950’s fear of Communism, for example, and the recent spate of virus-driven zombies can be seen as a metaphor for AIDS ( the ‘living dead’). In this provocative article, Ph.D. candidate Genesea Carter argues that Bram Stoker’s Dracula can be read as a premonition of World War One. Carter sees the novel’s depiction of a siege of vampirism descending on England as a foreshadowing of the destruction that would soon befall England when her young men encountered the terrible death dealt by modern warfare. The very scenario which frightened readers of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel – that a monstrous foreign entity (from the Austro-Hungarian Empire) invades innocent England using unforeseen, forbidden tactics to slaughter her citizens – came horrifyingly true less than two decades later. Dracula’s blood-drinking and attack on unsuspecting women and children can be paralleled to Germany’s poison-gas and machine-gun attacks upon defenseless villagers. Just as Dracula rabidly craved blood, so did Germany crave imperial expansion.
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    5 years ago
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