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August 13th, 2012

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03:13 pm - Essay for F&SF about Dracula
It is my contention that in the novel Dracula, the Count is the emblem for foreign influences on English mores that are driven back by a coalition of the island's nobility, gentry and professional men, supported by American arms, and Western European knowlege, shown by Quincy Morris, the cowboy, and Abraham Van Helsing, the professor. Stoker describes the filth and depravity of Eastern European folks, brought to England by Gypsies and supported by them, debasing and ruining fine British womanhood and changing them to emulate himself. Without the strengthening of their will by the intervention of Van Helsing, and their fighting prowess by the Winchester-armed American, the Englishmen were disarmed and weepy. In the end, though, the British Empire triumphs over the evil of the East, while the Western Hemisphere is slain in support of the Mother Country.

The novel was published in 1897, when Queen Victoria reigned, and as the British Empire was reaching its zenith on the world's stage. The Count's effect on the English in the novel would be especially frightening when it appeared that the power of the United Kingdom was unassailable at sea or on land. His eerie powers, and his disgusting habits would sicken and thrill the readers of the time. Even then, though, before the events of the First World War, it was clearly apparent to the intelligentsia that the British would need the aid of the Americans were they to get involved in fighting on the European continent to be able to succeed. All non-English but Professor Van Helsing and Mr. Morris were described in disparaging terms, suggesting the prevailing views amongst the subjects of the Empire of their relative value as allies.

(18 comments | Speak, or forever hold your peace)


Date:August 13th, 2012 04:49 pm (UTC)
I like that analysis -- I think it works! Your first sentence could use some doctoring, though, for clarification. You have the phrase "English mores" immediately followed by "that are driven back". That makes it look as though it's the English mores that are being driven back. You could break this sentence in two. First, you can describe what the Count represents; then, in the second sentence, you can say "He is driven back" etc. Also, you don't need to begin with "It is my contention that". It's unnecessary, and creates a kind of pressure to get your whole thesis into the first sentence. And do let me know if you don't want this kind of commenting in the future!

And you're way ahead of me: I haven't started writing yet.
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Date:August 14th, 2012 01:46 am (UTC)
It can't hurt to have some response about my style, though I'm unlikely to go back and edit it. Just not enough time to do everything, and having read a book I don't like, I'm putting some time in on authors that I do.

But go ahead, I'm reading what you wrote, and I'll think it over for next time!
Essay for F&SF about Dracula - This ain't no party, this ain't no disco... — LiveJournal

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