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Horrible Shadow: Otherness in Nineteenth-Century Gothic
and Speculative Fiction
Kati:-»rine Harse



Katherine Harse 1995

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^?he undersigned certify that they have read, and reco-xmiend
to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for acceptance, a thesis
entitled "Horrible Shadow: Otherness in Nineteenth-Century
Gothic and Speculative Fiction" submitted by Katherine Harse
in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of
Haster of Arts-

X)h^ \(<^UM
Supervisor, D.L. Kacdoiiald, English

S. Stona-Blackburn, English

P- Srebrnxfc, English

/ / ^ / '
E. Dfinsersau*; French, I t a l i a n and Spanish




Horrible Shadow: Otherness in Nineteenth-Century Gothic

and Speculative Fiction

Katherine Harse

This thesis examines the presentation of. and response

to, the other, in five representative texts: three Gothic

vampire tales and two works of speculative fiction.

Polidori's The Vampyre (1S19>, Le Fanu's Carmilla (1872),

Stoker's Dracula (1897). Shelley's Frankenstein (1818) and

Lytton's The Coming Race (1871). all portray the undeniably

other: the vampire, the constructed creature, and the

technologically advanced alien.

Although there can be no doubt that the perceived

hierarchical opposition between self and other serves to

marginalize those designated as other, close analysis of

these texts reveals not only conservative cultural

anxieties, but potential sites for subversion. Often texts

that present the other also depict the othering process, and

sometimes critique that process, particularly by

destabilizing the arbitrary boundary between the other and

the self. The extent to which such dcstabilization occurs

in these texts reveals the degree to which they challenge

the dominant ideology.



I would like to express ray utmost appreciation to my
supervisor. L o m e Macdonald. for his support, encouragement,
and above all. remarkable patience, as well as for his
suggestions and th.e space to work with thcra. Thanks also
for making me aware of the First Wcrld Dracula Congress, at
which part of th's tresis was presented, in a slightly
different form, as "High Duty and Savage Delight: The
Ambiguous Nature of Violence in Dracula. ** Thanks to
Elizabeth Miller for furrhcr information and inspiration
regarding this Congress, to Nicolae I'aduraru and the other
conference organizers for inviting me to participate, and to
all Congress participants for folklore and food for thought
— especially to Eileen Barker for invoking Mary Douglas,
and to Stephanie Moss for confirming my belief that Stoker
is not nearly as conservative as some people think. Thanks
also to Susan St*>ne-BlacScburn and Janis Sviipis for
sxmultaneousiy suggesting that 1 Look at The Coming Hace.
Finally. I would like to express my gratitude to the
University of Calgary. Faculty of Graduate Studies and
Department of English. for the opportunity to complete this
thesis, and for their financial support.

for their love and support. DEDICATION To my parents. and with all ainc. .

.... 7] "Dual Life": The Fcaale Other as Angel and Demon . 60 "Leaving the West and Entering the East": Otherness of Time and Place 63 "Devil in Callous": Religious Otherness.136 "She Appeared the Most Fragile Creature": Gender Construction and the Feminine Other 145 vi . . iii Acknowledgements iv Dedication v Table of Contents vi-vii Epigraph viii INTRODUCTION "He is Very.67 "Dark Stranger": Imperial Anxiety and the Racial Other. 16 CHAPTER TZO: "Ambiguous Alternation*.": Otherness in Camilla 30 CHAPTER THREE: "Of Wolves aad Poison and Blood": Otherness in Dracula. ... .. 83 "Stalwart Manhood": Failed Masculinity and Hososocial Desire 99 "High Duty" and "Savage Delight": Asbiguous Violence and the Response to Otherness 119 CIIAPTET FOL'R: "My Form i s a F i l t h y Type of Vour's": Otherness in Frankenstein . Very Like Me": An Introduction to Otherness 1 C IAPTER ONE: "A Fiend Amongst TiieeT : Gtherness in The Vampvre. Table of Contents Approval Page ii Abstract . .

Genre Canon and the Subversive Nature of Shadows 292 WORKS CITED 319 APPENDIX TO CHAPTER ONE "Unhappy Ruthven!*": Planche's Theatrical Domestication of Polidori's The Vamovre 332 . Ideology 257 "All the Rights of Equality": Sender Roles and Reversals 269 "The Children . . No Kind of Property": Class and Otherness 206 "A Race of Devils": Colonialism. Would Adulterate the Race": Miscegenation and Other Threats 280 "Strange Reversal": The Treatment of Otherness 284 CONCLUSION "The Very Painting of Your Fears": Society. No Friends. . Democracy. . Racial Otherness 216 "The Monster Whom I Had Created": The Gthering Process and Text' s Response 228 CHAPTER FIVE: 'We . "Affection and Duty": Frankenstein and the Bourgeois Family 180 "Misery Has Made Me a Fiend": The Revolutionary Monster 188 "No Money. Slavery. . Appear So Strange to You and You to Us": Otherness in The Coming Race 237 "To Perfect Our Condition": Evolution and Otherness 244 "Great Trouble and Affliction": Equality of Rank and Inequality of Wealth 252 "Immemorial Custom": Change.

Macbeth (111. horrible shadow! Unreal mock'ry.129-30) viii . henceI . Hence.iv.

but the shadow will remain. fixed into place by the self. but in culture as well. it protects the very institutions of the culture which creates it for that purpose. on a bus travelling through Curtea de Arges. the figure of the other in literature "has only too clearly the function of drawing the boundaries of a given social o*~der and providing a powerful internal deterrent against deviancy or subversion" ("Romance" 140). In the words of Fredric Jameson. . the other is measured. like the shadow of the Romanian unfortunate. if one lacks the chicken required as a builder's sacrifice. the real human from which it springs is destroyed. The effectiveness of such a Thanks to Nicolae Paduraru for the folklore. 1 INTRODUCTION "He is Very. one can obtain an even more effective substitute through the sxraple but sinister method of stealing another's shadow. Romania. and. Within a year. ghostlike. as the structure's guardian. Very Like Me": An Introduction to Otherness Romanian folklore holds that. This disturbing folk tradition seems to me an apt metaphor for the process of "othering" which occurs not only in the texts I will examine here. One has only to measure the shadow surreptitiously with a length of string. which he shared with me and other participants in the First World Dracula Congress. the owner of the shadow v/ill die. defined. and throw the string into the foundation of the building to be protected.

that "horrible shadow" he has created through the murder of Banquo's self (III-iv. revealing the anxieties of the culture which produces it. it can no more be contained than Macbeth can truly banish Banquo's ghost. As created and perceived by the self. Not only the watchdog of the dominant class. because. It does. and the nature of texts concerned with otherness so conservative. and. •> deterrent. and thus the other. whatever by virtue of precisely that difference seems to constitute a very real and urgent threat to my existence. and defines evil.It is possible. the other is capable of haunting its creator as well. by definition. however. While othering docs indeed serve as a strategy of containment. the other cannot be a self. however. depending on how it is presented. may not always be so powerful.129-30) } Jameson notes that "the concept of good and evil is a positional one which coincides with categories of Otherness" (Political Unconscious 115). . the stranger from another tribe. the process of othering which I am about to discuss does not literally kill the human being designated as other. as follows: evil . In short. the other itself is not so easily controlled. the 'barbarian* who speaks an incomprehensible language and follows 'outlandish* customs. but also the woman. then. So from the earliest times. 'Of course. to read the construction of the other as the figurative death of those oppressed by the othering process. as Jameson suggests. . . whose biological difference stimulates fantasies of castration and dcvoration. acting to subvert the values of that dominant culture. destroy the selfhood -. characterize^J whatever is radically different from m e . self and other are mutually exclusive.the subjectivity — of that person.

more apparent than in that mode of literature generally described as the fantastic. English. different. unclean. in the words of Rosemary Jackson. Anglican). Christian (or more specifically. . . and so on. defines the dominant self. emphasis added). In fact. primitive. as Jameson defines it. needed to establish the self's privileged identity as male. strange. white." requires it to be. the avenger of cumulated resentments from some oppressed class. mad. socially deprived. or a combination of them. In the name of defeating the 'inhuman. which allows. then the marginalized other against which that self is defined will . criminal. . he is evil because he is Other.* such fantasies attempt to dismiss foes inimical to bourgeois ideology" (Fantasy 122). (Political Unconscious 115) Nowhere is the figure of the other. about whom the essential point to be made is not so much that he is feared because he is evil. heterosexual. progressive. . . or else that alien being . western. deviant. bourgeois. "troublesome social elements [to] be destroyed in the name of exorcizing the demonic. rather. 3 or in our own time. and unfamiliar. crippled or (when sexually assertive) female" (Fantasy 121. behind whose apparently human features an intelligence of a malignant and preternatural superiority is thought to lurk: these are some of the archetypal figures of the Other. the other is whatever the self. Interestingly. as a member of Jackson's "bourgeois culture. Jackson describes these disturbing elements as "the shadow on the edges of bourgeois culture {which] is variously identified as black. it is the self's opposite. If any of these characteristics. alien.

foreign (non-English). as David Punter notes. female. Burton Hat 1en in particular has noted the fluidity of Dracula*s otherness. The self and the other define and redefine each other. however. All of the types listed above. E. or the alien. aristocratic or proletarian. will be discussed here. and his observations can be applied to the vampire more . Foust calls "the fantasy- antagonist" (441).the other. not only is it impossible to sec a vampire's reflection in a mirror. Indeed. and the number of single and combi:«v. 4 be. and originating in the East and/or the past. homosexual. the monster. According to Bram Stoker's vampire hunter.d characteristics which establish degrees of selfhood and otherness make a complete catalogue of otherness impossible to create. presents itself as "natural. perhaps this is because they themselves represent precisely the "horrible shadow' of the dominant culture -. I am particularly interested in the figure of the vampire as a site of overdetermincd otherness. for example. non-white. heathen or demon (non-Christian). unchangeable" and "the major way in which that which is for social reasons designated as 'unnatural' can make its presence felt is precisely in the guise of the 'supernatural'" (419). but vampires cast no shadow (289). The dominant ideology. There is no more obvious other than the vampire. all these embodiments of the other can converge in tne figure which R. Professor Van Hclsing. eternal.

" promoting excessive. I shall examine three representative nineteenth- century vampire narratives regarding their treatment of these types of otherness. and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897). 5 generally. In this context. which Hatlen does not address. Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla (1872)." originating in an isolated foreign land characterized by superstition and magic (Hatlen. often violent sexuality (Hatlen. . "Return" 122-25). as well as being connected with homoerotic desire. and Edward Bulwer Lytton's Tl„e Coming Race (1871). which Rieder sees as "the most influential of all the Iscience fiction] alien's precursors" (37). Hatlen also considers the vampire as a threat to bourgeois society ("Return" 130- 31). and James Rieder also believes that the "alien is first of all a projection of the Other" (36). As well. . s/he is "socially other. "Return" 125-27). and their relationships to the self: John William Polidori's The Vamovre (1819). English blood" (Hatlen. With this connection in mind I have selected two works of nineteenth- century speculative fiction which explore the relationship of self to other: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818)." being "a racial outsider . S/he is "sexually other. who threatens the purity of . The vampire is also "culturally other. which Darko Suvin's study of Victorian science fiction refers to as having "generally . Veronica Hollinger explicitly connects the vampire and the alien of science fiction as "variations on the outsider" (145). . . "Return" 129-29).

Similarly. which still reflects cultural attitudes present at the height of the British Empire. The Coming Race . reveal a cross-section of cultural responses to otherness. Frankenstein. I hope. while Lytton's novel places the human protagonist in the midst of the alien culture that often plays the role of other in the twentieth-century science fiction which Hoilinger and Rieder discuss. the culture that called the Gothic into being and sustained it" (41): I would say that the same is true of the speculative texts I am discussing. 6 synthesizing as well as historically seminal Isic] significance" (327). the texts vary in their relation to established literary and popular canons: both Dracula and Frankenstein are the focus of much literary study. while The Vampyre is not yet a canonical text despite its status as the origin of the modern literary vampire. creator and creature. Because my texts cover a broad range both chronologically and canonically. Camilla is now accepted as a part of the Gothic canon. of course. they will. by contrast with the "High Victorian" works of Le Fanu and Lytton. as well as being icons of popular culture. Two of my texts (Polidori's and Shelley's) originate in the early years of the century. William Patrick Day writes that the Gothic "is created and defined by the collective fears and desires of nineteenth-century culture. and the later effort of Stoker. is a definitive exploration of self and other.

marks the other. As well as being defined as different. may affect the texts* presentation of the relationship between the self and the other. then it is not surprising that. both in terms of social anxieties present at the time. and regarding the texts" intended audience. and. at least as the self constructs it. These issues. "the fantasy conflict is structured upon an implicit assumption of the binary" (445). as Jameson writes. This threat may . "Romance" 140). If the "most important of . Culturally defined difference. . under which all the other types of attributes and images arc clearly subsumed" (Jameson. radically unlike the self? Jameson provides some clues in the long passage quoted above. although its author is not. of course. as Foust claims. but why does the dominant society find it necessary to exaggerate this difference to create figures of otherness which are. or (more likely) the self perceives the other as such a threat. the other must be by definition evil. as well as those of genre itself. . the other presents a threat to the self. organizational categories is the conceptual opposition between good and evil. a relationship which depends upon the culture that produced these texts. if the self is obviously good. I is also obscure in terms of the literary canon. What is less obvious is why the other is viewed as other. and the text itself is highly influential within the genre of Victorian science fiction.

The experience of the protagonist mirrors that of the reader: just as the "protagonist's identity is redefined by the unbounded possibilities of fear and desxre" -. "the Other serves as the limit against which the self can be defined and as the realm on to which it can project what lies within" (190). . In other words. more powerfully. or. . which "exonerates the self" (Garnett 3 2 ) . the "not-I" which defines the "I. The self also relies on its opposite for purposes of definition." but a projection of illicit desires. 8 originate in the fact of oppression. Day identifies the seemingly conflicting responses of fear and desire as equally intrinsic to the Gothic genre.that is. and limit" to be "fundamentally contradictory" (190). in the words of Elisabeth Bronfen. Rieder describes a similar effect occurring in speculative fiction which concerns . While Bronfen finds the function of the other as "both mirror . it is not only the embodiment of a culture's greatest fears. oppressed other. in the belief that the weaker other w='ill finally rebel against his or her oppressors. in the belief in that hidden superiority which Jameson appropriately calls "preternatural" and which is a more obvious threat to the dominant society than is the weaker. in which "the protagonists find themselves in a world created by the circle of their own fears and desires" (4). by his or her response to otherness — "the reader is aLle to explore their limits" (Day 6 3 ) .

9 itself with the alien other: "the alien . for example. again in terms that apply to the other generally. Although it Is tempting to see the repressed other as psychological. In both cases." the return of which provokes an ambivalent response from the self. do not exist. although macabre. realization of the original fantasy" (36). and thus with the oppressed. but because. not because sexual. Similarly. the other is a site of socio-cultural anxiety. such distinctions are not so easily made. and the source of illicit desire which is directly opposed to social convention. Hatlen refers to Dracula. the product of illicit desire. so that "we shudder with horror and with hunger" ("Return" 8 2 ) . those marked by such differences "naturally" occupy the othered position in which the self places them (419)_ Nor are they necessarily a "real" threat to the self's society. Finally illicit desire is often itself a source of fear. . tends to become both the agent of the heroes* imprisonment or loss of power and an even more compelling. thus the other which is the source of the . as the "repressed and the oppressed: the psychically repressed and tSie socially oppressed. and to align the social other with a real-life threat to the dominant society.. as Punter has remarked. The social other is similarly a figment of the self's psyche. racial and class differences. then. culture affects psychology by determining what its members repress and do not repress.

Because of the attraction present in the first part of Jackson's equation — the depiction of forbidden desire -- the latter type of "expression" is not always co»pietely successful. The self's potential response to the other. 19 self's fear and desire must be oppressed. the distinction between the self and the other. . is highly complex. especially if that other is also a source of desire. in a cainor variation. manifest or show desire" and "expel desire. then. while the other that the self perceives as a threat to order can only be violently oppressed/repressed. They are indivisible" (Moretti 791. unstable at best. "fear and desire incessantly overturn into one another. In this case. Accordingly. Tne response to the others presented in the texts varies according to a cocraon pattern of increased violence in response to increased threat. when this desire is a disturbing element which threatens cultural order" (Fantasy 3). so that the self treats an unthreatening other only with condescension. or. their presentation of the other and of the self's reaction to it nay betray a desire which outweighs more socially acceptable fear." by which she means they both "tell of. begins ~o collapse. Jackson claims that. as an object of study. The texts' own responses to the other are more complicated. as well as exorcising the demonic source of fear. while the self's feelings towards it must be repressed. fantastic texts "express desire.

rather than oppression. And what may be the use of him is more than I can see. . very like sac from his heels tip to his head: And I see hisa jump before eae. which she calls "a source of fear and loathing whose return threatens to overcome the forces of Consciousness and Culture (the forces in wliose interests it has been repressed in the first place)" (148). Hyde. While the shadow in this poea seems Although ay analysis of the self and the other is applicable to this text. the idea that the other cannot be contained by the self which creates It — both psychologically and socially — is significant. the self is found In the Other. 11 Hoilinger. author of the famous fantastic text The Strange Case of Dr. also wrote the children's poem from which the title of this introduction is taken: I have a little shadow that goes in and out with ne. The speaker's e-rphasis on the shadow's benign uselessness may be concealing the anxiety surrounding the other as the shadow of the self. and the Other is in fact a face of the self" (Day 2 2 ) . Although this statement cakes no eaention of desire. in which self and other are literally one and the same. Jekvll and Mr. He is very. It seems more than a coincidence that Robert Louis Stevenson. in fact. like Hatlen. acknowledges the persistence of the other. as intimately connected as fear and desire: "everything contains and becomes Its opposite. when I jump into ssiy bed. for the other and the self are. I do not have the space to discuss it here. and invokes only repression.

a privileged position which only appears autonomous. oeabers of the dominant society tend so create themselves in the image of the self. one of construction. It may be a distorted iesage of that which creates it. . yet still bearIsJ an important resesblance to human society" (350). Waller. . Perhaps this is why the other elicits fear and desire: . and its sheer persistence. humanly constructed" ("Romance*' 140). in the words of Gregory A. is "an ideological formation.innocent enough. the other is a reflection of the substance which is the self. of course. . and cannot exist without it. it possesses traits similar to those of that threatening other: its dependence on the self. its resemblance to the self. it is "outside human society. and the other on the self for its very existence. very much alike. The process is. self and other arc csutually dependent. In fact. ." as Jameson notes.the self and its shadow are. The difference between self and other is often merely one of perception. "such an opposition. as in Stevenson's poea. although the opposition is ostensibly absolute — hence the exaggeration of difference and denial ol resemblance -. but it is never a simple negation: rather. Like a shadow. and. The two are interdependent: the self relies on the other for its identity. and both positions in the hierarchical binary which opposes good to evil and self to other arc ultimately artificial. . historical and .

perhaps what we are saying is that we are afraid to see a reflection — however uneasy and strange — of ourselves" (147). 13 because the self secretl/ recognizes its affinity for the other. where the other is ostensibly destroyed. which interprets them as alternately reactionary and radical. Therefore.. Thus they are incapable of seeing themselves. varapires have no mirror reflection. Even in those texts.. all of which present an ambiguous relationship between self and other. as we hold the mirror up to our unnatural counterparts. The speculative . of course. Carol A. sosseti&es desire. Certainly this resemblance is evident in the texts I will be discussing.. My interest hinges on their subversive potential. C a m i l l a and Dracula. Nonetheless. an affinity which it cannot. Shadows are not all that vampires lack.(Vamoire 16) John Allen Stevenson expands on Senf"s point: "when we say the vaspire is absent from the mirror. admit.that we often fear. with equally ambiguous results. and we are equally Incapable of seeing these clearly. s/he.we see in the vampire something.Senf writes: according to tradition. their hidden countenance is always there — a reflection of our deepest fears and desires.. like the ghost that haunts Macbeth or Stevenson's stubbornly clinging shadow. on the ambivalent portrayal of otherness reflected in the often-contradictory criticism of these texts.. but remains in the reader's memory as a powerful and often perversely attractive figure whose presence calls attention to the characteristics of the self. is never completely contained.

society's definition of the abnormal reveals assumptions about what is considered normal as well. is also about the self. and the speculative ones which question the distinction between that other and the ordinary are potentially critiques of the societies of their writers and readers. the ways in which the texts themselves respond to otherness. Indeed. and "stories about the self are also stories about the world in which the self exists" (Day 8 6 ) . the otherness present within the self. particularly the extent to which they challenge the beliefs responsible for those same anxieties by destabilizing the distinctions between self and other. Any text about the other. then. similarly. in contrast to what Hollinger calls "that longstanding [science fiction] tradition of representing the alien as the threat from the outside. Eric Rabkin notes. then we know the world from which he comes" (73). with their ambivalent portrayal of the ostensibly evil other. Rieder calls the figure of the alien a "distorted mirror" (26). Regarding "escapist" fantasies. reveals the degree to . The Gothic novels. Examining the texts* presentation of other and the self's response to it reveals the cultural anxieties that exist to create the social boundaries Jameson mentions. 14 texts show a similar connection between self and other. "if we know the world to which a reader escapes. the other who must be driven from human territory if humankind is to rest secure" (150). the texts 1 have chosen to discuss reveal a lack of differentiation.

15 which they subvert or reinforce the ideological limits that the dominant society establishes. .

an aristocrat. represents several types of otherness which threaten the dominant social order: he is associated with the distant past. as if he could not participate therein" (108). . are taken. "the hero of a romance" (110).Polidori*s holograph revision renames the vampire Lord Strongmore. in Senf's words. a characterization which is far from the truth. 16 CHAPTER ONE "A Fiend Amongst Them": Otherness in The Vampvre Lord Ruthven. Polidori establishes Ruthven"s otherness from the outset. This fact is made even more explicit. These aspects of the vampire give Polidori the opportunity to comment on the social structures Ruthven challenges. and is later referred to as having "nothing in common with other men" (110). and excessively sexual. thus. unless otherwise specified. in Polidori*s holograph This is the name given to him in the original (1819) version of Polidori*s text. Ruthven is not of this world. as is the initial assumption of his virtue. there can be no doubt that Ruthven stands apart from those around him. from which all my references. Although Aubrey views him here as a paragon. he is literally outside society in that he "gaze]s] upon the mirth around him. although he appears at social events. the title character of John Polidori*s The Vampyre. using this Gothic figure "to probe the realistic social problems that plague the lives of ordinary human beings" ("Vampyre" 206). a wanderer with no national affiliation.

the two are related. where Strongmore ironically appears to be "above human feelings and sympathies. Clive Leatherdale notes that. as. the fashionable names for frailties and sins" (33). Indeed. and intolerance towards. On the first page. they only know that he is different. which is. while his true nature remains mysterious- Ruthven*s otherness also manifests itself physically. and people with physical disabilities. beyond the comprehension of Aubrey and of London society. and of the vampire folklore invoked In the anonymous "Introduction. in folklore. a fact which is significant in view both of contemporary cultural anxiety. people of colour. at this point. just as his stare produces a "sensation of awe" (108). The suggestive adjective recurs in the description of his face. his countenance is also described as beautiful. Polidori establishes his vampire as unmistakably . the visibly different. the nobleman's actual sins are. such as women. 17 revision. like those of his literary descendants. Indeed. then. This belief illustrates the pervasive fear of." which accompanied The Vampyre when it appeared in the New Monthly Magazine in 1819. the physically different were thought to be doomed to vampirisni (Leatherdale 27-28). however. traditionally. and indeed Ruthven*s most notable feature is his "dead grey eye" (108). this prejudice extended even to those whose eye colour differed from regional norms (28). of a "deadly hue" (108): despite its colour.

not the monster of folklore. Macdonald and Kathleen Scherf note. 18 other. Rather. but also invites an ambiguous response to that otherness. so different from us. Ruthven is. are associated with the folklore to which both the "Introduction" and Ianthe's tales refer. but a "real. after all. His physical differences are not so great that he cannot move within fashionable circles. his vampirism. social and emotional difference preceded. Ruthven remains largely a mystery. however arbitrary they may seem. Despite what are initially described as his "peculiarities" (108). though monstrous.L. and this mystery contributes greatly to his otherncs. Later works of Gothic and speculative fiction. . and his ability to do so perhaps addresses a deep-seated cultural fear that we cannot recognize the other. as D. human being" (3). This characteristic. and the response to it. or if he looks and acts this way because he is a vampire. and therefore the object of both fascination and fear. that s/he is not. While the vampiric condition in folklore has definite causes. It is not clear whether his physical. he is simply presented as if he has always been this way. Ruthven*s nature remains enigmatic. have similarly taken advantage of the fear of the other who can pass as human - Although he is not a folkloric vampire as such. from the vampire novels inspired by Polidori to Invasion of the Body Snatellers. or possibly caused.

and eventually produces similar anxiety. on Tzvetan Todorov*s definition of the fantastic as the "hesitation . . literally immortal. . Aubrey cannot accept his lack of knowledge. as the "Introduction" states: "the superstition upon which this talc is founded is very general in the East" (183. Ruthven is. however. Ruthven. and the reason the young man's Romantic imagination is free "to picture every thing that flatterls] its propensity for extravagant ideas" (110). between a natural and supernatural explanation of the events described" (Todorov 3 3 ) .to know" the other (Fantasy 29). Admittedly. at least. and one which . Initially. would be seen by English readers as coming from a foreign land. for. a creature from another time. Jackson cites "unknowingness" on the part of protagonist and reader as "a recurrent feature of nineteenth-century fantasy" and notes the consequences — including the madness eventually suffered by Aubrey — of the "inability to define . As a vampire. Jackson focuses on this "epistemological uncertainty" as structural. and the fact that Ruthven is a man without a past is both the source of Aubrey's curiosity. but it seems to me that Ruthven*s consistently undefinable nature serves a similar purpose on a thematic level. . 19 and to his attraction. whose name is Scottish. Even in terms of his possible origins in western culture. Ruthven is what his admirers perceive him to be. and also from a faraway place. . emphasis added). as lanthe and the tale's introduction suggest.

as do the superstitious Scottish peasants who take the place of the Greek lanthe and her parents as sources of folklore which turns out to be true. its associations cling to him. Thomas Love Peacock compares the favourite settings of Byron and Scott. Planche's melodrama The Vampire. marrying an uneducated Greek girl" (114) and by his very romanticizing of that exotic and innocent (because "The view of Scotland as a site of primitive superstition persists in J. 20 had its own share of primitive associations. viewing the East and the North. The play's Scottish setting." published two years after The Vampyre. and while Ruthven is clearly not the vampire of folklore. In "The Four Ages of Poetry. Such a culture views itself in opposition to the primitive other of its own past. That Aubrey views Greece in this way is made obvious when he realizes the absurdity of "a young man of English habits. as Greece is here. directly opposing the self- perceived progressiveness of western culture which Aubrey. and of regions seen as backward." He accuses both writers of "wallowing in the rubbish of departed ignorance. See my appendix for a discussion of Planche's play and the ways in which it differs from Polidori's talc. and presumably Polidori*s readers. Polidori may be engaging in something similar in The Vampyre: although the tale's relationship to the introduction is far irss simple. . or The Bride of the isles (1820). adds to the vampire's primitive mystique. represent. as i equally uncivilized. although chosen "because Planche's company had a stock of kilts it wanted to get some use out of" (Macdonald 191). respectively. an adaptation of Polidori's tale.R. and raking up the ashes of dead savages" (15).

9 but it lacks responsible 'guardians. however. . Elizabeth MacAndrcw notes that "what appears as ordinary debauchery when dressed up in the trappings of civilization looks different under the revealing sunlight of a primitive landscape. Indeed. in that she speaks for the "primitive" time and place which is the origin of the vampire. related. . Split off from the "civilized* man. The two are. lanthe herself is othered throughout. Yet. but because he knows the rules of the game and is so completely assimilated . while one effect of the novel's two settings is a subtle anxiety concerning invasion by the powerful and seemingly civilized other. In London Ruthven is merely a rake: in Greece he is a vampire. seemingly because of the setting. whose history Aubrey ridicules as "idle and horrible fantasly]" (114). all apparently conspired to heighten that superstitious melancholy" to which Aubrey becomes subject (119). Ruthven"s sexuality is revealed as predatory and ruthless" (166). the fantasy becomes reality. a fact which can be connected to Ruthven"s otherness. another is to suggest that London may not be so civilized after all. of course. 21 "uncivilized") woman. partly because of her nationality. to make his condition literal. and partly because of her gender. and indeed. As Waller writes: Like Aubrey. "a country in which . London society possesses 'great wealth." Polidori*s villain can 'disappear' not because he has supernatural powers.

" so that "the wealthy. . he is correct in citing the vampire's ability to manipulate both this society and those who are vulnerable in their positions outside it (Waller 50- 5 1 ) . plagued by ennui. and in their cases. the "guardians. seek to stimulate themselves by flirting with vice" ("Vampyre" 205). that very society. arc ineffectual. . and Aubrey himself. The way in which Polidori has altered the vampire of folklore to create Ruthven. while Ruthven is described as being "dangerous to society" (112). Miss Aubrey. He plays the part of the traditional rake. rather than the folkloric monster (Senf. and demonstrates how failures in the self are often projected onto the other. The vampire's innocenr victims arc obviously exceptions to the rule of London society." 1501 While Waller overstates the extent to which Ruthven the outsider is assimilated into London society. is "thoroughly corrupt. which views him at best as a curiosity (108). Waller's assessment of London society is also astute. as Senf observes. The "tour. downplays many of that . they appear only when it is too late (124). wherever scandalous intrigues are mentioned" (110). and not allowing them to appear as if fallen from the skies. in that. then. 12 into a corrupt 'fashionable world" that thrives on "violent excitements." as Waller notes." an established tradition long before the arrival of Ruthven. "Vampyre" 201). such as lanthe. is described as "necessary to enable the young to take some rapid steps in the career of vice .

Aubrey himself "believels] all to sympathize with virtue. literalize the unspeakable nature of Ruthven"s otherness. to acknowledge. As well as being a luxury available to the rich and the titled. both because of its invasive potential and because of the respectability of land-ownership. which manifests itself in English fiction both before and after The Vamovre: excessive mobility was a cause for fear. which "typically prey on their own families and neighbours" (Macdonald/Scherf 4 ) . even by those who are less naive than Aubrey. Unlike folkloric vampires. 23 creature's repulsive qualities to create an other who is ultimately more frightening precisely because of his resemblance to a component of humanity which young gentlemen such as Aubrey are reluctant. because it suggests that he has no tics to a particular nation. His oath of silence. This increased mobility makes him more threatening. such as gypsies or. in anti- Semitic discourse." and his letter of explanation never delivered to Miss Aubrey (125). and fthinks] that vice {is] thrown in by providence merely for the picturesque effect of the scene" (109). which simply cannot be believed. if not unable. Ruthven does . and thus that he is invading English society. Ruthven*s zcndcncy to travel may also indicate the otherness of traditionally unlanded groups. Jews (Halberstam 343}. Despite his social position. and ~he fact that his fears are taken for "the ravings of a maniac. Ruthven is a traveller who can seek his victims whenever he desires.

and that these circumstances parallel those surrounding Byron's departure from England in 1816. This is not all the result of the vampyre's "winning tongue" (109): the victims are. he simply appears in London. obsessed with his own gain (110) and literally parasitic. He is the stereotypical evil nobleman. but to the corrupt "to allow him to wallow in his lust. then. He is admired in social circles. and ultimately charms the young man's sister into marrying him. Indeed. in part." initially worshipped by Aubrey. as Macdonaid and Scherf note (152). and community" with which Judith Halberstam connects the concept of "home" (343). among them travelling. . He is an inversion of the idealized. is not entirely in keeping with his aristocratic position. gambling and sexual promiscuity. however. Despite this anxiety regarding the aristocracy. Ruthven"s very power and freedom also make him the object of envy and desire. he threatens the very values of "marriage. giving charity not to the needy. 24 not seem to have an ancestral home. Ruthven*s lack of a fixed address. monogamy. although it is possible that his extensive travelling can also be read as a critique of the upper classes who shirked their social responsibilities in order to partake of the pleasures in which Ruthven indulges. paternalistic aristocrat. It is also worth noting that the irresponsible use of his presumably inherited finances is what necessitates his leaving England (110). sought after by "female hunters of notoriety. or to sink him still deeper in his iniquity" (110).

It is worth noting that Polidori*s new name for the vampire. The description of the lower-class lanthe after his attack. Ruthven*s excessive sexuality. his most dangerous characteristic. that kind of absolute sexual privilege which is a concomitant of absolute power" (Punter 119).especially given his relationship with Byron — and his audience might have coveted that of the aristocracy at the time. both sexually and through his vampiric assaults. Ruthven clearly seduces Miss Aubrey. suggests the more violent penetration of rape: "upon her neck and breast was blood. and upon her throat were the marks of teeth having opened the vein" (116). will be "dishonoured" if she does not marry hia (125). which allows him to practice "a kind of droit de seigneur. who. and it is this aristocratic power which makes Ruthven so seductive.They want his power as Polidori -. By figuring the vampire's "feeding upon the life of a lovely female" (114) in these ways. Lord Strongoore. is directly related to his class. each heightening the other. however. "has connotations of phallic potency and size" (Macdonald/Scherf 152 n35). "Vampyre" 2G5). which are explicitly sexualizedr as when lanthc's parents refer to the vampire's "nocturnal orgies* (115). The response to him is one of both attraction and repulsion. He glories in ruining "fraxl" (125) young women such as Miss Aubrey. 25 complicit (Senf. Polidori*s tale invites the . he says.

but our women. in that the formerly virtuous women whoa he corrupts do not hesitate. This fear is heightened when the other threatens not only our society. both wosen are young and beautiful. This. as Macdonald and Scherf note. "to expose the whole deformity of their vices to the public gaze" (112). illustrates cultural anxieties about the other and about the fine line which separates "them" fro-a "us. 26 reader to condemn the excessive and often violent sexuality of the rakes of his time. too. increasing the attraction his vampire holds both for the young women in the story. willingly comply - Certainly this is the cost obvious way in which Ruthven represents the threatening other. like Miss Aubrey. "infectious" (5). youth and beauty. and his erotic nature is. and when they. and for the reader. paradoxically. the Greek lanthe possesses "innocence. Punter suggests that Ruthven"s absolute sexual power is "a predictable object of middle-class fantasies" (119). which. unaffected by crowded drawing- . suggest incest. if not oorc so. afterwards. when combined with Aubrey's response to the saarrlage of his sister. and. It is worth noticing the parallels between them. more i-sportantly." given the cosaaon fear that the other will somehow convert or contaminate "normal" -seabcrs of society. he attacks the two women Aubrey most loves. they arc as innocent as Aubrey. as well as. another foraa of perverse sexuality. Both have been protected from the "dissipations" (108) of society life.

while the eighteen-year-old Miss Aubrey "halsj not been presented to the world" (121). The narrator mocks the naive protagonist and. although he only literally attacks vosaen. at the same time. If Ruthven is the ultimate representative of male sexual power. attractive and susceptible to the vampire. when he might be her protector" (121). then considered suitable only for women or children. Ruthven threatens her brother's masculinity. The wos?en"s innocence makes then. Aubrey is unable to protect either of thea. by extension. significantly. the response to the other is once again aabivalent. 27 rooms and stifling balls" (113). the va-rpire proves himself a threat not only to women but to naive young men. the vampire symbolically drains Aubrey. he is presented throughout as incoherent and impotent. and his penchant for romance novels. and. and reveals his complicity in . By seducing Miss Aubrey. to the family as an institution. her debut being deliberately delayed "until her brother's return from the continent. he is compared to a "milliner's apprentice" (109). is often invoked. Indeed. In this way. and indeed to the entire society on whose young blood he lives- However. Aubrey is explicitly feminized. in that Polidori does not seem to make Ruthven entirely responsible for the destruction of Aubrey's world. the society that produced him. who suffers a burst blood vessel in response to his own helplessness.

in many ways he is no better than Ruthven. as Senf describes him is "a kind of extreme metaphor of ordinary human traits" ("Vampyre" 203. emphasis added). Consequently. The innocents play a part in vheir own destruction. It does so. Ruthven does riot care for the plight of the lower classes. as Senf writes. then. believing that "the misery of a cottage merely consist[s] in the vesting of clothes. but through those of his victisss as well. and thus makes him a victim of "his own devouring thoughts" (123). Polidori"s tale. however. but which (are] better adapted to the painter's eye by their irregular folds and various coloured patches" (109). addresses the socially relevant issues that Senf calls "the horrors of everyday life: the corruption of the innocent. the destruction of the ignorant. Aubrey has no knowledge of the world or its problems. which Tare] as warm. just as the vampire. "his high ideals and poor judgement are indirectly responsible for his own death and for the death of his only sister" 2"Vampyre" 205). Aubrey seems totally unaware of it. 28 his own demise. Although Aubrey represents another extreme. not only through the figure of the vampire. and the exploitation of the young" ("Vampyre" 205). Ruthven ignores social constraints: Aubrey's socially constructed honour results in the oath that silences him. Thus Polidori begins a two-hundred year-old tradition of literary .

he originated enduring variations on the folkloric vampire. the other and the self. "While Polidori was far from the first writer — even the first English writer — to use the figure of the vampire in his work. . but destabilizes it. breaking down the distinctions between the monster and the human. and can thus be said to have created the "modern*5 literary vampire (see Macdonald/Scherf 3-5). 29 vampirism* which not only establishes the vampire's otherness.

Tracy believes that much of Le Fanu's uneasiness stems from his Anglo-Irish origins. even if. his vampire is much more sympathetic than Ruthven. "myth often represents social anxieties" (xx). Macdonald's biography of the Anglo-Italian Polidori suggests that he may have been in a similar position. for. there is another issue here. although born in England. Italy in the early nineteenth century was under the control of empires whose power England had helped to restore. am not an Englishman" (Macdonald 20). and then largely in the context of the Irish myth of the ban si or banshee -. In an 1813 letter to his father. while Tracy's connection of the vampire to Anglo-Irish anxieties is valid.L. However. even when her true nature becomes apparent to the reader. Although not actually a Britis'i colony as Ireland was. and again uses them for political and social purposes. Polidori writes "I.the potentially dangerous fairy-woman who is again associated D. and notes that the various guises of the other — political. religious. Laura. and to Le Fanu's naive narrator. . one which he only briefly mentions. 30 CHAPTER TWO "Ambiguous Alternations": Otherness in Carmilla Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla (1872) expresses. Also. many of the types of otherness present in The Vampyre. as Robert Tracy writes in his introduction to the novella. and intensifies. as Tracy suggests. "Le Fanu turns his anxieties into myth" (xx). racial and sexual -- "were abundantly present in nineteenth-century Ireland. to be encoded in Carmilla's pursuit of Laura" (xx).

they seem "an illusion of the moment" (255). and people. her mother. Carmilla is an enigma. revealing only her name. 31 with Le Fanu's position as an Anglo-Irishman. "LeFanu [sic] uses the vampire motif primarily to focus on the condition of women's lives during the time that he wrote" ("Women and Power" 2 5 ) . potentially represents many types of otherness. Carmilla. while definitely othered. an ever wakeful «*eserve" (262) . The circumstances of her arrival at Laura's father's schloss are strange. are hardly the focus of the narrative. in such a way as to present a social critique of the ways in which patriarchal society constructs women. everything in fact connected with her life. While it does seem that. depicts both a female vampire and her female victim. but for Carmilla's presence. Her origins remain mysterious. by contrast. to say the least. and that her home lies "in the . Laura finds that "she exercisefsj with respect to herself. the age and nobility of her family. her history. Le Fanu's attitude towards the other is complex and often ambivalent- Like Ruthven. like Ruthven. As with Polidori and later authors of vampire fiction. Aside from this folkloric association. Carmilla. where women. in which the exoticized lanthe and the frail Miss Aubrey exist only as mediators. as Senf believes. Carmilla's gender also allows for a more in-depth examination of woman—as-other than is possible in Polidori*s tale. plans. which centres on Aubrey's relationship with Ruthven.

The latter is also masked. who must remain the same in order for the male self to be "transcendent" (1087). Laura also refers to the vampire's "amphibious existence" (317) Carmilla*s variable nature is interesting because tbe other is usually defined as an unchanging position against which the changing self is defined. known to the General only as "Madame la Comtesse. and invokes "secresy" when discussing their ider. certainly her air of ancient mystery makes her both a source of fear and an object of fascination. because it is not fixed." will not reveal her nationality (299). is threatening in itself. as well as in her aspects of "beautiful girl" and "writhing fiend" (319). able to appear as something like "a monstrous cat" (278). and by Simonc de Beauvoir. Carmilla herself lacks a stable identity: she is literally a shape changer.tities (302). 32 direction of the west" (263). which her mother shares. her earlier appearance to General Spielsdorf at the masked ball seems to signify her mysterious nature and changing identity. Her presence is never explained. . in terms of the female other. in terms of Orientalism (230). nor is that of the "hideous black woman" who travels with them (257). Similarly. a phenomenon described both by Edward Said. Laura describes her arrival in terms of the spectators* "curiosity and horror" (252). Carmilla*s identity. and allows for the equally contradictory responses to her in the text.

now [presumed] extinct" (245). especially the distant past" (xxi). 33 The sense of mystery and ambiguity which surrounds Carmilla is related to her position as a creature from another time. As the last of the "proud family of Karnstein. She is associated with the primitive. and with memories of the past. but Carmilla is. As Walter Kendrick notes in reference to Polidori. she is careful to state that her family is "very ancient and noble" . She is associated with the ruined village with its "mouldering tombs" and "equally desolate chateau. one of "the great and titled dead" with whom Laura associates General Spielsdorf's vampire tale (311). indeed. If she will reveal nothing else about her identity. of course. and in that she holds the views of a feudal aristocracy famous for its "atrocious lusts" (305). Carmilla is literally a figure from the past. This fear of the past is even more evident in Carmilla. implied by his resemblance to the folkloric vampires which lanthe describes (114). another aspect of her otherness. over a century old. the portrait of her as Mircalla Karnstein is dated 1698 (272-73). and by his ability to rise from the dead. "there [isJ something scary about the past itself." She is. While Ruthven*s ancientness is largely a matter of association." and Laura refers to her family as "extinct" (245). Laura identifies her with her own childhood nightmares (246-47). Carmilla is also a member of the "old order.

at least in its degree. the nobility of which is inherently connected with its venerable age. and on one occasion displays a tyrannical streak that British audiences in 1872 were likely to associate with the aristocracy of the past. the middle classes represented by Laura and by Bertha Rhcinfcldt. making literal the concept of a parasitic aristocracy that drains the lower classes dry. and burnt to the bones with the castle brand" (269). and flogged with a cart-whip. while all Carmilla's victims are of a lower rank than she. 34 (263). take his pleasure in different ways: he claims the lower-class lanthe by simple violence. Similarly. declaring "I don't trouble my head about peasants" (266). who provide her with emotional and sexual sustenance. Carmilla feeds on peasants. given that Ruthven selects his victims based on their gender and then on their connection with Aubrey. perceiving herself insulted by the hunchback. She scorns the lower classes. There is some indication that Carmilla herself sees the absolute power of the upper classes as characteristic of the glorious and longed-for past when. in a manner which Polidori only barely suggests. she defines herself by her lineage. it is those closer to her station. He does however. As a vampire. she exclaims: "my father would have had the wretch tied up to the pump. rather than merely with . whereas hxs conquest of Miss Aubrey involves a lengthy courtship and even marriage.

. . the name of their estate. . because she threatens them even as they want to be like her. and often feel themselves inferior to her. her as they might think. . Carmilla's class also invites a mixed response from the bourgeoisie. then. as Waller writes. . the country they lived in" (263). when Laura discusses the . He is also obviously impressed by "Madaoe la Coatcsse. it is to be admired. "nourishment is not always synonymous with pleasure" (52). General Spielsdorf's predilection for fawning over the aristocracy is made clear in his assessment of Count Carlsfield's entertainment — •Princely! . Indeed. . Laura feels "flattered" by Canailla's attentions (261). Laura and her associates envy the aristocratic Carmilla. they are not as different froa. He has Aladdin's lamp" — and guests — "It was a very aristocratic assembly. . As with Ruthven." who instills a similar "conviction that she (is] a person of consequence" (254) in Laura. while it obviously renders her different from them. These feelings too may lead to an ambivalent response on their part. For example. significantly while she tries to learn more of the details concerning Camilla's family: "their anmori-sl bearings. it seems less likely that the aristocratic seductress would waste the effort on peasant girls. 35 blood. I was myself almost the only "nobody* present" (296). and occasionally thinks herself "ill—bred" by comparison. .

" is "oblivious of the actual relation between his artistically landscaped property with its extravagantly large house and the tangible world of labour on lana" (27). living as he docs in the "solitude of a country mansion which is protected from the intrusion of other men by miles of picturesquely planted woods. when he "purchased this feudal residence . Although Le Fanu sets his tale entirely in remote Styria." which relates to Bhalla"s theory of an oblivious bourgeoisie in that." also took advantage of the financial condition of "this lonely and primitive place" (244)_ Place is another location for the other in C a m i l l a . . Rather. despite the size of the building. and the small number of people who live there. Alok Bhalla suggests that Laura's father. but she does not realize that her father. in Styria. she admits that she disregards servants and their dependents." rather than live in the castle proper (245). apparently must "occupy rooms in the buildings attached to the schloss. not only is she unaware of her economic dependence on the lower classes. Laura's father's schloss appears as a little piece of . she takes comfort in the fact that. a bargain. "everything is so marvellously cheap. 36 inhabitants of the schloss. . she docs not seem overly concerned about their lack of funds or grandeur. This bourgeois oblivion extends to Laura as well. although she mentions her father's "small income'1 and that they are "by no means magnificent people" (244). who. for.

By entering the schloss. 37 "civilized" England. Similarly. even if it exists within her native land. with gleaming eyes and large white eye-balls. sexually and economically. in Turkish Servia. Carmilla's association with the East. Carmilla herself is associated with a negative racial stereotype in the form of the "hideous black woman. especially as it is presented as wild. who preys on the people of London in more-or-less socially acceptable ways. . also has racial connotations. in Poland. and her teeth set as if In fury" (257). with a sort of coloured turban on her head . This land is in the "primitive" East. Laura writes of the vampire legend's origins in eastern locations such as "Upper and Lower Styria. or degenerate. When Joseph Andriano states that "she plays no other part in the story but to complete the Unholy Trinity [with Carmilla and her mother]" (102). then. . with which its vampire is associated. the Styrian Carmilla can be seen as invading British territory. the source of the vampire myth. he ignores the racial implications of this figure who . in Moravia. drink tea. <?ven in Russia" (315). "partly to prevent its becoming a lost language among [them]. much as is Ruthven. and partly from patriotic motives" (245). and read Shakespeare "by way of keeping up [their] English" (251). but does not become truly and visibly dangerous until he travels to Greece. Indeed. Silesia. the inhabitants of which speak English. that is. primitive.

Andriano translates it as "mud." and applies it explicitly to the black voman (102). and with the threat of the racially other. a form of "the demonic feminine" (102). and class — as other may relate to the anxiety the colonized Irish caused such landowners. suggesting a Czech or Polish servant" (345). as he does notice. as Andriano suggests. as Andriano believes (102). 38 is. whose descendants. . While Tracy's notes state that "Matska" is "a feminine diminutive. place. Tracy writes: "(t]his insistent Englishness. In Tracy's words. may be an aspect of Carmilla. .time. as well as national. their isolation. often haunted . That "Matska. Le Fanu's portrayal of Carmilla's origins -. reduced to peasant/tenant status. implies the possibility of racial. Tracy's introduction connects these themes of foreign and racial otherness with the idea that "the past survives to torment the present" (Tracy xxviii) to suggest that Carmilla's invasion of this island of Englishness represents a more specific anxiety to its Anglo-Irish author. rather than being "associated with . strongly suggest the lives of many Anglo-Irish landowners" (xx). "[s]he is one of the ancient lords of the land." who exists only to present the reader with a physical description of negative racial stereotypes. If Andriano's theory is correct. it seems to indicate degeneracy and regression to a primal. earth" in the capacity of Nature-Goddess. animal state associated both with Carmilla in her beast-form. invasion.

of "individual regression or going native" (Brantlinger 2 3 0 ) . Bhalla comments on Le Fanu's "known nationalist sympathies" (26). which they considered rightfully their own" (xxvii). which help to explain why Carmilla "is not a demonic intruder into Arcadian space. as sympathy. The determined efforts of Laura's family to maintain its "Englishness" imply a fear of losing it which is consistent with the threat of being consumed or converted by the vampiric other. the very role Carmilla plays. and which Le Fanu hicaself displays in his depiction of her. however. which Laura does feel for the vampire. but the very spirit of the place. a category in which it seems reasonable to place Carmilla. Patrick Brantlinger lists such regression or conversion along with "an invasion of civilization by the forces of barbarism or demonism" as two of the "principal themes of imperial Gothic" (230). may manifest itself not only as vicious repression of the other — Carmilla's eventual fate — but. Anglo-Irish guilt at this invasion of the other's homeland. it is Carmilla who is portrayed as the perpetrator of an alien invasion. It seems likely that English landowners in Ireland would fear the natives of the land they had invaded as a threat to their own security. This theory works well to explain why. 39 the Anglo-Irish estates confiscated from their ancestors. when Laura's English family has been imported to Carmilla's native land. The evil that she manifests is an inherent . potentially.

for instance. as will be established later. another possible motivation for sympathy with the Irish other. the family schloss. and connected to an old and significant family. Styrian. is later described in the sane terns (306). the ruined church. gender. 40 part of a hierarchical and coercive social order" (30). like Carmilla. 'and never was the sarse since"" (276). . examples of the architecture which "vendrick connects with the fear of the past here represented by Canailla (xx«). race or. It is possible that the Anglo-Irish felt thesssclves inferior to. whether it is based on class. a position which may contribute to an ambivalent response to both the othercd Irish and dominant English culture. wounded here. the family is saved by the arcane lore of Baron Vordenburg who Is. and excluded from the society of. and despite its valiant attempts to remain "English" is associated with the foreign other. Siailarly. whose resting place. nationality. Like Laura. possesses a "Gothic chapel" and a "Gothic bridge" (244). Laura's family lives in Styria. By creating a vampire who can herself claim "*I was all but assassinated in my bed.* she touched her breast. the Anglo-Irish are trapped between cultures. an aristocrat. who is neither Styrian nor English. If nothing else. the English in England. Le Fanu appears to be critiquing that social order.

fancying I heard the light step of Carmilla at the drawing—room door" (319). establish her as an outsider. Even when he does so. and a potential invader of the nest of bourgeois British civility that exists in the Styrian seountains. so Laura must be . who among theaa represent all the institutions of a patriarchal social order: "doctor. concurrently. scholar. but remembers her in her "ambiguous alternations" (319). 41 The fact. General. Carrailla's attacks suggests the potential for social critique on Le Fanu's part. that Laura and her family are implicated in. These possibilities. as Laura concludes with the words "often from a reverie I have started. General Spielsdorf and Baron Vordenburg. The text ends on a note that suggests the exorcism has not been entirely successful. and Carailla's degeneracy. As women are excluded from all these authoritative roles. Laura is unable to condemn her utterly. They invite the vampire into their English home. and it takes Laura's father an inordinate amount of time to discover the truth about her. or class distinctions. whether connected to foreignness. who is not portrayed as a simple representation of the evil other. evoke a response of fear as soon as they are realized by Laura's father. Baron. Carrailla's origins in the past and. and indeed. in the priaitive East of the English imagination. she continues to be haunted by the vampire. priest" (Waller 5 3 ) . racial otherness. father. in many ways compile!t with. Clearly.

and is even welcomed as a companion for Laura. is physically. although human. and therefore potentially dangerous. plays the other role. Carmilla personifies the even greater anxiety concerning the monster who can move among us unnoticed. and correspond to two masculine constructions of femininity: the angelic woman who requires masculine protection. Whereas Ruthven. cadaverous vampire. and the demonic woman who inspires masculine fear. While her father's secrecy in part indicates that he wants to protect his innocent daughter. and the vampire. that of the ideal Victorian woman. Carmilla's nature is unspeakable. As far as she is concerned. "a secret which [her] father for the present determine[sJ to keep from [her]" (314). because she. William Veeder notes that she does not resemble "the traditional. before she is revealed as a threat to patriarchal institutions. Carmilla soon fits in easily with the society there. Despite her dramatic arrival at the schloss. like Carmilla. is a woman. who is less threatening. Suspicion or fear and chivalric condescension are the two stock patriarchal responses to women. morally and emotionally different from the London social circles through which he moves. but equally othered." but rather. Both are present in Carmilla. 42 excluded from the plans to destroy the female vampire (314). embodies "the physical . it also seems to suggest that he cannot trust her.

Laura's father. and that the languid. but even believes her to be another victim. like a needle" (269). rather. and lustrous. the general. Hence Laura's father does not suspect Carmilla. her hair was quite wonderful" (262). . none but the hunchback notices this. In sum. and wonderfully graceful. Such disbelief is a common . pointed. and Laura's father does not think to suspect the beautiful young lady. and a need to be protected. dark. rather than the cause. of his daughter's "disease" (290). all the better to inflict Laura's mysterious puncture wounds. they are largely ignored. and Laura herself see this languor as attractive" ("Women and Power" 3 0 ) . thin. like vampires. Carol Senf notes that women are. . her features were small and beautifully formed: her eyes large. Although she apparently has "the sharpest tooth — long. Certainly such passive women are hardly to be feared. Senf writes: "[h]aving learned that such useless and ornamental behaviour is desirable for women. she is "the most beautiful creature" Laura has ever seen (261). passive Carmilla is no exception. . Her very languor suggests helplessness. Laura describes her thus: "slender. 43 traits conventional with Victorian True Womanhood" ("Carmilla" 213). "defined primarily by their physiology" ("Women and Power" 30). like an awl. Her complexion was rich and brilliant. characteristics highly prized in Victorian women.

"Women and Power" 2 8 ) ." while she remains certain that "the visit of the strange woman was not a dream" and is "awfully frightened" (247). she does not tell him of her symptoms. he "fails to give her information that might enable her to protect herself" (Senf. for it reveals her father's inability to see her as a person" ("Women and Power" 2 7 ) . but the same kind of condescension is more disturbing when she is a grown woman. Laura's father demonstrates the same attitude towards his daughter. and suggest that Carinilla more specifically . when she asks about the doctor's diagnosis. In so saying. He compares this commentary to Polidori"s indictment of Aubrey's guardians. and later.*eat her as the non-human other throughout. I would elaborate somewhat on this argument. because she is afraid he will laugh at them (279). his reply is "you are not to trouble your head about it" (291). Waller uses this lapse in judgement as proof that Carmi11a "offers a veiled commentary on the status of the family and on the failure of parental responsibility" (52). In Senf's words "such patronizing treatment of a six-year-old child is perhaps understandable. 44 response to a non-threatening other such as women are often perceived to be. Indeed. His opinion first becomes apparent when he dismisses her childhood encounter with the vampire as "nothing but a dream. He continues to t.

It is as if. by claiming that the vampire "is a metaphor . Carmilla acts as a surrogate mother. I felt immediately delightfully soothed" (246)• It does seem as if Laura comes . Carmilla's literal blood-sucking represents "the economic dependence that was virtually mandated for women during most of LeFanu's [sic] lifetime" (29). the two are connected through the maternal line (273).and as parasites. Senf offers a valuable analysis of this feminine position. 2 5 4 ) . for certain aspects of women's lives" ("Women and Power" 2 9 ) . As well as signifying her aristocracy. after each of Carmilla's attacks. who recalls: "she caressed me with her hands . as Laura herself lives idly in the schloss. 45 addresses a society which creates vulnerable and easily victimized women. and thus like the ideal woman. -s Senf suggests. the woman legally ("Women and Power" 29) -. Indeed. She compares women and vampires on the basis of their status as "dead" beings — the vampire literally. . . Laura grows more pale and languid (282) — more like Carmilla. and how it is perpetuated. and she lives idly on their hospitality. "teaching Laura to be exactly like her" ("Women and Power" 30). then. Carmilla and Laura are remarkably similar in their lack of activity. and the vampire plays a maternal role during her first encounter with the child Laura. . General Spielsdorf and Laura's father invite her into their respective homes out of chivalry (301. and. . .

"the seemingly weak Laura has a significant kind of power — that of telling other women about their condition" (Senf. Laura thinks. slender. find Carmilla's languor. Senf's "powerful" women tend to victimize other women. "Women and Power" 2 9 ) . angelic victim persists. odd (265). which is certainly revealed in Le Fanu's text. her mother is dead. Thus. 46 from "a long line of victims" (Senf. and passive women such as Carmilla. So the construction of woman as passive. it should be noted that these usually work within the feminine framework which the patriarchy defines. Still. however. finds the process difficult (264. "Women and Power" 2 8 ) . 3 1 6 ) . and failure to eat. passing from woman to woman in much the same way as the vampire's condition (318). the text can be read as a critique of this containment of women. if one notes that Laura is relating hei tale to another woman. This assumption suggests that Laura's audience in her urban milieu may be even more susceptible to fashionable constructions of femininity. entrenched as she is in patriarchal constructions of femininity. although Carmilla and her mother are able to manipulate Laura's . late-sleeping. although it is also made clear that Laura. rather than directly challenging the patriarchy. designed to produce apparently weak. the "town lady" who might not. Senf refers to other types of female power as well. Thus. and warns her in a dream "to beware of the assassin" (283).

there is. As the response of Carmilla's coach horses to the stone cross (252) and her own horrified reaction to the funeral hymn (266) suggest. presumably. or the oppressed revolt. as indeed Carmilla does. the alternative role for women. some women are able to use their masculine-constructed passivity to manipulate others ("Women and Power" 3 0 ) . Carmilla does when she convinces Laura's father that she is helpless. . Even if. in one great stain of blood" (283). the powerful. as Senf notes. a fine line between woman as angel and woman as demon (108). According to Senf. as Senf maintains. victimising woman is the other side of masculine-constructed femininity. much less to attempt to change that world" ("Women and Power" 3 D . and just as much an other. an instability which may indicate the patriarchal fear that the repressed will return. In her demonic role. among others. As Nina Auerbach. but this seems more a function of masculine biases than of feminine power. from her chin to her feet. it is Laura and Bertha Rheinfeldt who suffer for it. has noticed. 47 father and General Spielsdorf. which is represented both by her appearance in animal form (278) and by Laura's vision in which she appears "bathed. in fact. and. Carmilla presents women as something more complex than "simply passive victims of masculine oppression" ("Women and Power" 31-32). "what these women are not trained to do is to understand themselves and the world around them. as. Carmilla is no Victorian angel.

seductive. Like the traditional male vampire. and Laura's condition is treated as a disease before its cause becomes known. This vocabulary of infection is interesting. whom she corrupts. Carmilla's condition is contagious." which is "defined . but also that the passionate woman represents a "cultural threat" ("Carmilla" 199). "(d]o women have passion?" Veeder rightly maintains that Le Fanu's answer is "a resounding yes" ("Carmilla" 198). assertive feminine sexuality. and associated with blood. she attacks the patriarchy through its women. unlike the later manifestations of the female vampire in Stoker's Dracula. While Carmilla. . 48 Carmilla represents the dangerous side of femininity. for example. Baron Vordenburg explains that the bite of the undead has the power to turn the living into vampires (318). This monstrosity has much to do with the question. The demonic woman whom patriarchal society fears is aggressive. who dies as a result of Carmilla's attacks. as posed by Veeder. . Like Ruthven's sexual immorality. given Victorian anxieties surrounding potentially deadly . does not expressly endanger men and their bodily fluids with her monstrous desire. that which threatens the patriarchy. Spielsdorf also describes vampirism as "a plague" (314). causing the reader to wonder about the fate of Bertha. Day characterizes this as "active. she does pose a threat to their masculinity in that she has no need for monstrous" (89). dangerous.

rather than her earlier vocabulary of nightmare. a highly sensual description that invokes nudity. Many critics sec Carmilla as a representation of Laura's own transgrcssive sexuality (Punter 167). when. in fact. and ultimately. 49 sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis. the results can be used to deconstruct the categories of self and other. who begins to act like her. moisture and motion in a way which is undeniably sexual. when we move against the current of a river" (282). Again. "that pleasant. She also begins to describe her nocturnal encounters using Carmilla's language of desire. peculiar cold thrill which we feel in bathing. but also. for example. the threat to her innocence is also a threat to the "pure blood" of the patriarchy. does not find Carmilla's advances entirely repulsive: rather "the sense of attraction immensely prevail[sJ" (261). and the blame for such a transformation is usually displaced onto that "infectious" other. but is also intrinsically related to otherness. There is a deep-seated fear of coming to resemble the other. Carmilla's association with Laura does seem to trigger a sexual awakening in the "world of [her father's] making that seeks to exclude sexuality and maturity" (Waller 5 2 ) . Carmilla has "interested and won [Laura]" (261). a threat of miscegenation. the prevalent sensation is agreeable. as . to critique the self- Laura. as Tracy states in hi» inventory of Anglo-Irish anxieties (xxvii).

This speech. whether expressed as anxiety concerning same-sex boarding schools or in the rhetoric that sexual preference is a "choice. The fear of the "contagion" of the other is significant in this context as it relates to the central issue of Case's article: homophobia. 50 Sue-Ellen Case argues. sexual impulse in another woman. Carmilla poses the greatest threat of all. rather than reproductive. in the earth. The fear that lesbians and gay men can somehow convert innocent heterosexuals has long been part of homophobic discourse. By arousing a purely pleasurable. which is the arbitrary result of being attacked by another ." That same anxiety emerges in Carmilla. Case writes: "|i]n the nineteenth century. although not -ithout a counter-argument. the stable notion of nature as natural and of the natural as good made it possible to configure same-sex desire as unnatural — thus monster -- thus vampire" (15-16). her lesbianism. a threat to "pure heterosexuality" (6). however. Le Fanu's most powerful and explicit statement regarding the acceptance of difference. act and live as Nature ordains? 1 think so" (270). puts these words in Carmilla's mouth: "all things proceed from Nature -- don't they? All things in heaven. Le Fanu. but specifically. and under the earth. seesas to address not only Carmilla's otherness as vampire. about which she has no more choice than she docs concerning her vampirism (318). and as woman.

In "Sec. although whether it is her attraction to a vampire or to another woman which disturbs the reviewer is not clear. The Marquis dc Sade. eternal. red in tooth and claw" (56. But can we be blamed for the side on which she casts us? No enorc than the wasp can be blamed who plunges his sting into your flesh" (27). for example r precedes Le Fanu's vaapiress as a defender of sexual and moral otherness as products of nature. . but merely "obeyls] the irresistible law of [her] strength and weakness" (263). . unlike Sade. to make its consumers think that the cardinal features of the world they Inhabit are natural. Punter notes that "it is the function of ideology to naturalise the presented world. the equation of the natural and the good was not necessarily as stable as Case believes.15). . for example the following argument — similar to Carmilla's even in its sexually suggestive flesh-piercing Imagery — from Sade's "Dialogue Entre un Pretre et un Moribond": "Itjhere is not any single virtue which is not necessary to nature. She herself is not unnatural or evil. unchangeable" (419). Certainly the Athenaeum's review of Carmilla refers to Laura's "unnatural yearning and passion" (13). but existed simultaneously with another. 51 vampire. . who celebrates violent nature. Concurring with Case. and conversely not a single crime which is not necessary. although it privileges the former." Tennyson's In Memoriaa perpetuates a similar opposition between civilized culture and "Nature. which makes her a victim of social constructions of monstrosity and otherness. counter ideology also relevant to C a m i l l a . However.

and the . Although Le Fanu's text appears to endorse a similar hope. this is a misreading of Canailla.133). given the demise of Carmilla as representative of brute nature. Despite Carmilla's physical destruction. Carmilla does not simply prey on Laura for her own gain. to what extent the reader can believe the vampire is questionable. neither the counter-construction of nature as aligned with otherness. rather than mere narcissistic pleasure. For example. the counter-construction of the natural has been absorbed into the dominant ideology. / And let the ape and tiger die" (11&.In terms of the economics of sexuality. lesbianism is the expenditure of energies in seeking pleasure for oneself alone. so that Nature is "no longer half-akin to brute" (131. by the end of the poem. but represents their relationship in terms of love. (31) As well as being a misreading of lesbianism that borders on the homophobic. Admittedly. its project is not entirely successful. It seems unlikely that Carmilla's lesbianism is incidental. as I shall demonstrate later.26-28). working out the beast. despite the fact that many critics try to make it represent something other than the passion between two women. Bhalla claims that for Le Fanu lesbianism is the sterile fantasy of sexuality without responsibilities and is the structural equivalent of the desire for property by men without any social morality. the sensual feast: / Move upward. can be entirely exorcised. 52 Memoriam values the ability to transcend "the reeling Faun. nor the lesbian vampire as other.

the efforts of the text itself- Laura herself wonders if perhaps Carmilla sight be "a boyish lover [who] had found his way into the house. . is also significant. or in the subcultural subversion to flaunt her distance from the "real. 53 privileging of pleasure over reproduction. Case points out that "(t]o ask 'will the real lesbian please stand up. or indeed. or exists only in supernatural novels. then. and sought to prosecute his suit in masquerade" (265): she cannot consciously conceive of lesbian desire.' when she is em- bedded in the dominant discursive mandate to disappear. she refers to the difficulty of committing this "unspeakable horror" (316) to writing. despite her knowledge of the vampire's nature. while Le Fanu's dialogue and narration are both fairly explicit. and will be discussed later. the lesbian either docs not exist. and her invisibility helps explain why critics seldosa address this aspect of Carmilla in other than metaphorical terms. is obvious from the last lines. The literal lesbian cannot be erased. and also why Carmilla's sexual preference has little bearing on the patriarchal response to any threat she may pose. that Laura feels affection for Carmilla. despite the efforts of critics such as Bhalla. and. which Bhalla does not actually mention. and the fact that she cannot forget her." is like asking the vazapire to appear in the mirror" (9). Like the vampire. That the pleasure is often mutual has been established.

if Carmilla is considered a threat not only to the individual daughters of the patriarchy. Carmilla's vampire sex. who threatens the hero's women. and. which infects the "healthy" (read heterosexual) human being. as Case suggests. «frich produces children. Thus. but to the family as an institution. but never connect the two. 54 It is questionable whether Carmilla's lesbianism makes her a greater threat than the male vampire. Case notes "the equation of hetero=sex=life and homo=scx=unlife" (4) which can be translated as the relation between vampiric sexuality. in this context. however. Lesbianism is. as Ruthven docs. Carmilla's sexual preference does not seem to be an issue for the male collective that sets out to destroy her. scans the death of the family unit. for them. not reproduction. Indeed. literally unspeakable. the vampire as lesbian is effectively erased. and as a threat to their daughters. as such. the men do not consider it. and thus similarly destroys their masculinity. There say be a connection here. Carmilla's designs . any more than Laura can conceive of -roaen who prefer women. as its end. notably Dracula. and "normal" (read heterosexual) human sexuality. a type which appears in later fiction. has pleasure. or than the sexually aggressive female vampire who preys on men. and thus ucsans him. so they hunt Carmilla as an unacceptably aggressive woman. like lesbian sex. Although I do not agree with Robin Wood's assessment that "the heavily signified contagion of vampirism is a very different thing" from reproduction (130).

so that the father can be sure the child is really his. she has no plans for legions of vampire offspring. takes place on a much smaller. as Senf notes (Vaeoire 1471. . while the lesbian vampire remains immortal. is not infectious (Macdonald/Scherf 5>. in that Ruthven"s vampirism. Similar anxieties surround the explicitly matrilineal connection between Carmilla and Laura. Just as Senf differentiates between the literal and the metaphorical (""Women and Power" 2 9 ) . but merely on specific young women. The men. Laura can see both the angelic arid demonic aspects of Carmilla. Polidori makes a similar distinction between vampiric and sexual contagion. unlike his excessive sexuality. her "ambiguous alternations" (319). In her priorities she differs from her famous descendent. and the men must thus band together to destroy her. Stoker's Dracula. 55 and. Carmilla's agenda. In any case. achieve no such balanced reading. so Carmilla's literally contagious vampirism should not be confused with her figuratively contagious lesbianism. but I can make no other attempt to explain the feeling"" 1264). even more importantly. whatever it may be. While the fact that Laura is related to the Karnsteins through her mother's "old Hungarian family" (271) frees Laura's father from any taint of vampiric otherness. and her designs are not on human civilization. of its {presumably male) lineage. and is able to accept her own response of combined fear and desire as she writes "this I know is paradox. Carmilla threatens the patriarchs. more personal level. who plans to conquer English humanity through just such a reproductive strategy. however. it also acts as a location for suspicion about "purity of blood. but think in the binary terms of do not seem to involve procreation." for legitimacy is a patrilineal inheritance.

in all respects such as might escape from a living person in the last agony. a "fiend" (295). and reduced to ashes. she becomes more of a threat to the status quo. the woman is either submissive or dangerous. and as such. Even if Carmilla "suggests that women gain power over men"' (Senf. they must utterly destroy Carmilla the demon. and a critique of the social construction of women. and a torrent of blood flowed from the severed neck. While the father. which were thrown upon the river. The body and head were next placed on a pile of wood. who uttered a piercing shriek at the moment. in the company of "the good priest" (314). she must be constructed as a "monster" (294). the general and the baron. Carmilla is not as empowering as Senf. Then the head •Bias struck off. Thus. but for the threatening female vampire only the violent "ancient ritual" is sufficient: a sharp stake was driven through the heart of the vampire. (316) While this account invites some sympathy for the vampire who resembles a living person. The powerless ideal woman is patronized. To them. they cannot safely enact this power for their own advantage. and "the horrible enemy" (314). it never mentions Carmilla's . she must be more brutally repressed. a "plague" on the region. As the other gains power. for example. 56 self/other and angel/demon. When Carmilla is revealed as something other than the ideal young lady. but never anything more than socially othered. "Women and Power" 32 n4). while Le Fanu does present a potentially positive view of female pleasure (Day 89). would have us believe. protectively exclude Laura the "good" woman.

the response of the patriarchs in Carmilla has no such flaws. who are free of the taint of being unjustified aggressors" (242). However. and. If Aubrey's oath. Carmilla's death appears to restore the patriarchal authority she threatens. according to Waller. the sympathetic portrayal of Carmilla. indicates a human sense of honour that seems misguided and naive in the face of an inhuman foe. makes the hunters' actions much more questionable. and the fact that the ritual can be read as an attempt to destroy the other for no more substantial reason than her socially constructed otherness. besides literalizing the unspeakable nature of Ruthven"s otherness. 57 name. This oxymoronic response is x. Nevertheless. as well as avenging the death of Bertha and the attacks on Laura. They feel perfectly justified in committing this "pious sacrilege" (2^4). any human features the vampire possessed have been destroyed. literally turning her into a non-person. and it is certainly more violent than any of Carmilla's own attacks. this act "satisfies both the public and the private sense of justice" (Waller 345) in that it has the sanction of the Imperial Commission (316). By the end of the ritual. or even her gender. can be justified because the text "clearly distinguish[es] between the offensive violence of the undead and the defensive actions of the vampire hunters. The text itself reveals Carmilla's otherness .*s some ways as fraught with contradictions as is Laura's.

58 as a social construct. show that the binary opposition between self and other is artificial and arbitrary. Spielsdorf speaks about the necessity of believing in the supernatural other for the purpose of killing or containing it. who refers to such constructions as "prejudices and illusions" (293). her ultimate fate cannot be ignored. despite Laura's fond memories and the sympathy the reader feels for Carmilla. ironically. The similarities between Laura. but I have learned better" (293). is to misread General Spielsdorf*s statement to Laura's father: "you believe in nothing but what consists with your own prejudices and illusions. daughter of the dominant society. The sudden hostility of the patriarchs. and nowhere is the violent repression of the other by . and Carmilla the vampire. and. not only demonstrates a similar arbitrariness. itself an illusion. both through her argument that she is merely acting naturally (270). Nevertheless. whom the text portrays as much like the self. however tempting that may be. in the words of General Spielsdorf. who admire Carmilla until they belatedly discover her otherness. increasing the reader's sympathy for the other. but reveals them as hypocrites. I remember when I was like you. To read Carmilla as a portrait of the empowered woman. While prejudices engender the socially constructed other. Professor Van llclsing makes a similar statement concerning the desirability of an "open mind" (230). In Dracula.

. whose violent response is again directly proportional to the other's power. more apparent than in Stoker's text. and therefore to its threatening potential.representatives of the dominant ideology.

and also presents a more complete and intense version of the cultural anxiety surrounding The other. . There is more blood in this novel than in any I have considered so far. and "poison" (322). Christian. or heterosexual — or some combination of these — as "pure blood" in danger of contamination. 60 CHAPTER THREE "Of Wolves and Poison and Blood": Otherness in Dracula Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) is more complex than both The Vampyre and Carmilla. whether they define dominant as English. The threat of conversion from within is much more insidious than any direct threat of violence." Critics often represent the dominant ideology which excludes the other. and in terms of the cultural anxieties associated with the preservation of "pure blood. this threat exemplifies the anxiety concerning the possibility that we may become like the other. which is not just a literal threat co the life and blood of his heroes and heroines. but potentially contagious as well. "pollution" (296). as well as a more explicit repression of that other. male. white. both in terms of sensational violence and sexualized vampirism. that the categories of self and other are not stable. It seems Stoker omits few of the forms this threat can take. or that "we" are not that different from "them" from the outset. "infection" (320). Variously figured as "corruption" (251). forms represented by vampirism.

without benefit of the traditional invitation (143). the "children of the night" (18).o Lucy's bedroom. whose Sadean view of nature is worthy of Carmilla. Thomas Bilder. for the poison works to reveal the latent wolf in its victims: in the words of the zookeeper. like the wolves which serve Dracula. it also does more to blur . I would argue that Sister Agatha's description of Jonathan's ravings "of wolves and poison and blood" (99) summarizes the portrayal of otherness in Dracula. in terms of its ultimate violent repression of the other. and thus potentially positioning the other inside the society of the self. the means by which the vampire gains direct access x. 61 Leonard Wolf expresses confusion over the significance of "poison" in Harker's delirious dreams. and into which he can transform himself. then. "there's a deal of the same nature in us as in them there animiles [sicJ" (136). The wolf. The image of poison is not wholly separable from that of the ravening wolf. turning them into beings resembling Dracula. n 3 1 ) . the vampiric threat may be presented as poison that does not kill its victims but corrupts them. however. illustrates the violent destruction of the dominant society. since "[h]e has no experience of it in Castle Dracula" (131. devourers of mothers (45) and babies (140). however. and may be direct. Dracula is a more conservative text than those which precede it chronologically. It is always a threat to the pure blood of the self. Although. Alternately.

too. as Punter notes. reveals that Dracula is. In his thorough analysis of Dracula*s otherness. which also applies to Stoker's own inconsistent portrayal of the relationship between the self and the other: Count Dracula represents. for example. a powerful record of social pressures and anxieties" (256). ("Return" 120) Regarding the social oppression of the other. then. we shudder with horror.. When the repressed/oppressed returns. . . offers a Freudian explanation in the statement "the projection of guilt and desire onto the other exonerates the self" (32) . . Rhys Garnett locates Stoker's ambivalence in the author's culture as well as in the individual mind. one can read the novel as a critique of the status quo. the repressed and the oppressed: the psychically repressed and the socially oppressed. as well as a representation of the other which threatens that status quo . Hatlen then offers a reason for the reader's often- ambivalent response to Dracula. Thus. and with hunger. It is for this reason that our response to him is so ambivalent. He. 62 the distinctions between self and other. Hatlen describes the vampire as "the socially other: the embodiment of all the social forces that lurked just beyond the frontiers of Victorian middle class [sic] consciousness" ("Return" 120). "one of the most important expressions of the social and psychological dilemmas of the late nineteenth century .a phenomenon apparent in both The Vampyre and Carmilla — but his association of that guilt with Victorian cultural norms such as racism and sexism.

This questioning of formerly stable categories may produce social anxiety. just as the vampire obscures the boundary between life and death. and of the "traditions and superstitions" of the East (2S9). "Leaving the West and Entering the East": Otherness of Time and Place Stoker. among others. PI? 88). extending it east to China and west to Rome and France (239). in Dracula they are in danger of becoming other themselves. Here. like Polidori. rather than. connects his vampire to the monster of folklore. thus making him a creature of the past. the distinctions between good and e**il blur. allows him to "tur[s»J vampire lore into vampire law" (Leatherdale 1 2 1 ) . Although Van Helsing extends the vampire's range. Van Helsing's lecture on the origins. in those of a naive young woman paraphrasing a mysterious Styrian nobleman." While the human protagonists of The Vampyre and Carmilla are often complicit in the other's attempt to invade the "civilized" world. in the words of a Greek ingenue. The fact that Stoker places it in the mouth of this character with his many degrees. like Polidori and Le Fanu. for often artificial binary oppositions serve the interests of the dominant ideology (Jameson. like Le Fanu. he emphasizes . habits and limitations of the vampire is much aorc detailed than those of his predecessors. 63 and undermines that other's defeat at the hands of the powers of "good. or.

64 vampirism in the context of "the berserker Icelander. Stoker establishes the London world of his heroes as distinctly different from Dracula"s origins in Eastern Europe on the novel's first page. where Harker. to the primitive state that was the stereotypical view of the East in Stoker's age. feels he is literally "leaving the West and entering the East" (1). situated as they are in the "scientific. Although Harker does not yet know It. more closely associated with the past than even Indeed. and presumed to be more primitive than. and eventually to Castle Dracula. the devil-begotten Hun. Harker himself notices this trend and remarks. Certainly it is old and crumbling — a truly Gothic resonant of the past. the heroes of the western world. the fewer amenities there are. sceptical. the Saxon. which at first appears to be deserted except for the Count himself (27). . and his arrival at the castle. en route to Transylvania. Dracula is. all culturally different from. "it seems to sae that the further East you go the mere unpunctual are the trains. The first chapters. like Carmilla. describe a movement backward in time. he goes from the unpunctual trains to a coach to Dracula*s wildly driven carriage. the Magyar* (239). The deeper Barker travels into this "wildest and least known portion(] of Europe" (1). detailing Harker's journey. the Slav. What ought they to be in China?' (2). matter-of-fact nineteenth century" (238). Indeed.

and to live in a new house would kill me. too. "Return" 126). Harker writes: I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians. He expresses his approval of Carfax Abbey. represents the East and the past.. Stoker establishes this connection. then. as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool. He also explicitly acknowledges his own position as what Hatlen calls "the culturally other" ("Return" 125) when he tells Harker tltat "Transylvania is not England" (21). to superstition and magic. itself a relic from such a tioe. I myself am of an old family. and. how few days go to make up a century" (23). A house cannot be made habitable in a day. 12) . the Count represents much of what is not English. He is approximately four hundiad years old. and carries his associations with a decaying past with him to contemporary London. and thus seem directly opposed to the rational and scientific forces of the West. if so esy stay aaay be very interesting {Mesa. I must ask the Count all about thesa). Indeed. with the words "I am glad that it is old and big. to which he looks back with some fondness (28ff). early in the novel. "a revenant from a pre-enlightenment age" (Hatlen. scorning the present "days of dishonourable peace" (30). Dracula. as is the vaspire myth. after all. 65 his decaying castle indicates. both of which are connected.

At first Seward. In order to defeat the vampire." a belief which Harker finds "ridiculous" (4-5). ironically making superstition into fact. "the "dark ages" have literally returned to life" ("Return" 126) — is associated with the magical and the non- scientific. through the study of magic and. Seward's dictating machine. in Hatlen"s words. The superstition becomes fact. presumably. including a blue flame that Is later said to indicate the presence of buried treasure (21). Initially. then. a pact with the Devil (241). as Harker witnesses strange events on the journey to Castle Dracula. but they are less than sufficient when it comes to his destruction (Garnett 46). when "all the evil things In the world . representing the general attitude "here in London in the nineteenth century" (192). 66 This ironically apt statement gathers force as Harker's Transylvanian landlady warns him of the perils of Saint George's Eve. the heroes must first believe that he exists. prove useful in the pursuit of Dracula. The "resources of science.. and Van Helsing's medical equipment. he became a vampire of his own will. is reluctant: only the eapirical . as well as the coachman's mastery of the wolves (13). have full sway."1 as Van Helslng calls them (238). Dracula himself was in life a practitioner of magic. Dracula — in whom. while Harker and the other heroes employ and praise up-to-date technology such as Mina's portable typewriter. however..

and that particular religion's power against the vazspire. I have been taught to regard such things as in some measure idolatrous" (5). The hunters. those of Catholicism. Scientific procedures such as blood transfusions cannot save Lucy's life. as can be seen in Harker's initial response to the crucifix which his landlady gives hla: "as an English Churchman. the hunters must subscribe to it. the progressive. In order to defeat the supernatural. blurs the lines between the English self and the Transylvanian other. That the Anglican Harker should find it so in Dracula"s castle indicates the association between Transylvania and Catholicism. who has his own brand of magic. in the form of garlic and wooden stakes. the hunters employ religious weapons. This. of whoa all save . too. although he remains aware that "it is odd that a thing which 1 have been taught to regard with disfavour and as idolatrous should in a tiaee of loneliness and trouble be of help" (28). would like to believe. specifically. however. He comes to appreciate it. as "a comfort and a strength" (28). Thus. 67 evidence of Lucy's transformation causes him to begin to believe in the remedies prescribed by Van Helsing. or Stoker's nineteenth-century English readers. scientific citizens of the Western world are not as far removed from the superstitious practices of the priaitive East as they. nor can they kill Dracula. "Devil in Callous": Religious Otherness In addition to science and folklore.

n 3 ) . priaordial ambience of Dracula challenges the complacent rationalism of the Victorian bourgeoisie" ("Return" 126). Wolf also notes "Stoker's misuse of the concept of indulgences" (255. (Hatlen. Wolf footnotes the episode as follows: "Father William Quian. which in Gothic novels is so often Catholic as well as foreign. begin to blur. which are "a remission from . as the reader Imagines good scientists like Seward holding up crucifixes to ward off the Prince of Darkness. . whose religion associates him with the foreign. of the Canon Law Office of the Arch diocese of San Francisco. 68 Van Helsing are presumably Anglicans like Harker. and good members of the Church of England helping Van Helsing to purify Dracula"s boxes of earth with holy wafers — blessed. the English heroes arm themselves not only with stakes and garlic. n 2 ) ." magical. Counselled by the Catholic Van Ilelsing. by a Catholic priest. but because the Professor's use of "the to hisa most sacred of things" (210) in this -gray is undoubtedly sacrilegious. . "Return" 126) Hatlen finds this proof of "how profoundly the "dark. in terms of Church doctrine. make use of this power in their battle with Dracula. Again the distinctions between the self and the other. no matter how exalted the end in view" (255. advises ise that this procedure is. absolutely impermissible . but it also suggests the contagious nature of that ambience. The issue of the host is particularly interesting. not only because of its Catholic implications. presumably. but with crucifixes and the host.

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. and their graves make sacred the earth where alone this foulness can dwell. (241) While Leatherdale suggests that the most likely explanation for Dracula"s need to sleep in holy ground is that it is "designed to highlight the sense of blasphemy. and thus again establishes Catholicism's link to the past. whereas Van Helsing refers to his as if it applies to sins not yet committed (210). much as the blood transfusions are a (much less effective) antidote to Lucy's vampire-induced anaemia. which works to negate the effects of the vampire"s corruption. The act of "sterilizing" (242) Dracula*s earth with the host. In any case. given Van Ilelsing*s remarks indicating that this earth is already consecrated: [tjherc have been from the loins of this very one great men and good women." he also admits that Stoker may be "hinting at the powerful proximity between good and evil" (178). is interesting. much as the vampire hunters in Carmilla commit "pious sacrilege" in the name of the good. Stoker's mistake seems to allude to the abuse of indulgences preceding the Reformation. Certainly this passage seems . Van Helsing is as willing to profane the host as he is to desecrate Lucy's corpse in order to rid the world of Satan's representative. 69 temporal punishment for sinful behaviour which has already been perpetrated and forgiven" (Leatherdale 181). and its inherent otherness regarding the Anglican Church.

Punter observes that Dracula represents "an inversion of Christianity" (261).ot least those surrounding religion. in that the vampire has eternal life in body rather than in spirit. Van Helsing excepted." turning their exchange of blood into a perverse Christian marriage ceremony (288): Van Helsing calls it a "baptism" (322." in which he makes remarks such as "the Master is at hand" (100). . the inverse of the Christian sacrament. Indeed. and speeches reminiscent of John the Baptist's when witnessing the comiisg of Christ." as Van Helsing calls him (237). including Renfield's "religious mania. 70 to represent the text's many ambiguities. is connected with religion by his status as anti- christ. rather. Dracula. i. Dracula himself. by contrast. Stoker emphasizes the parallel by capitalizing Renfield's references to Dracula (Leatherdale 179). the "devil in callous. Other evidence also supports a reading of Dracula as Christ-parody. as Hatlen notes. paradoxically. and the fact that the touch of a communion wafer following this experience "burnIs] into the flesh as though it had been a piece of white-hot metal" (296) clearly signifies that it is. Garnett describes the heroes" religious beliefs as merely "a vague awareness that they are Christians" (48). 343). are not" ("Return" 126). Dracula himself calls Mina "flesh of my flesh. "is. religious in a way that the other characters.

which forbids blood drinking: "Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life. but of the blurred distinctions between their position and that of the ostensible heroes. Renfield's scriptural quotation tne blood is the life" (141)" is literally true. and of Catholic—tainted superstition. All of these characteristics are apparently directly opposed to those of his English enemies. all types of otherness which Dracula represents. representative of the distant past. class. race. his words are actually from Deuteronomy 12:23. then. inextricably involves the Church in his otherness. and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh-" . Dracula is "culturally other" ("Return" 1 2 5 ) . such as that of foreignness. enacting the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation by making the blood more than the symbolic sacrament of the Anglican Church. then. an interesting choice of words in that the other usually literalizes a projected threat. The fact that the vampire also literalizes Christian ritual. there is a fine line between parody and parallel. of a foreign and primitive place. or sexuality. Thus religion is another indication. and cnagic. not only of the vampires* otherness. 71 m For Dracula. and thus cake the vampire all the more frightening when he i "Although Renfield's mantra recalls the New Testament's references to thss drinking of Christ's blood. Hatlen calls the vampire a "Christian literalist" ("Return" 126). "Dark Stranger": Imperial Anxiety and the Racial Other In the words of Hatlen.

There can be no doubt that Dracula*s immigration is an invasion. however. In bringing the obviously foreign Dracula to England. despite the Englishness contained within the schloss. heartily approves of this strategy: Mr. who. and later refers to his military skill in direct relation to his plans for England. and fought for them. objects to the novel's lack of "awful remoteness" (835). That would have been merely to revert to the Mrs. for example. Stoker goes farther than either Polidori. telling Mina that he has "commanded nations. Bram Stoker was not content with the small honour he could have gained by having (Dracula) in an out-of-the-way corner of Europe. from "foreign radicals" (Wcissman. . perhaps referring to the presence of the other in contemporary London. the simultaneous invocation of . for Dracula is established early on as one of a long line of conquerors (24ff). Radcliffe style of fiction. and intrigued for them. . 72 invades their homeland. Stoker alternately amazed and shocked contemporary reviewers. sets his entire tale in Styria. (21) The Athenaeum. By first establishing Dracula as culturally other. and then having him invade England. The mixed response reflects cultural anxieties concerning the invasion of England by any number of various others. rather than safely contained in a distant land. hundreds of years before (the heroes] were born" (288). . whose tale does not emphasize Ruthven*s foreignness. Half Savage 191) to monopoly capitalists (Morelti 74-75). The Saturday Review. or Le Fanu. So Count Dracula Is brought to London .

but. respectively. he is associated with darkness. a defender of the Christian Church and European land from the invading Turks (240). sickly odour" (47). As Hatlen and . . who Mina fears has come to London with imperialist designs (342). refers to him as the "dark stranger" (173). . He envisions himself in control of English society. you and others shall yet be mine — my creatures. "Return" 129). to do my bidding and to be my jackals when I want to feed*' (306). Although Dracula is not himself a member of a colonized race. which is mentioned more than once. is conflated with that of the colonized. thus revealing another set of related anxieties: those surrounding imperialism and the racial other. 73 intrigue and combat again calls to mind the twin images of poison and wolves. later dsclares: *"My revenge is just begun! . Hatlen speculates that he "has spent so much time guarding the frontier against the dark. In addition. . in both his consistently black clothing and his nocturnal habits (Hatlen. and makes no reference to the pale skin that so impressed her husband. enslaving its people. racial other. Dracula*s position as conqueror. and literally living off them. upon first seeing him in Loudon. Dracula is also associated with "a deathly. Despite his "extraordinary pallor5* (18). Dracula. in fact. then. Mina. barbaric outsider that he has become such an outsider: a metaphoric Turk" ("Return" 1 2 9 ) . a threat to cha pure b^ood of England.

The vampire women.-ie other. Finally. Along with sexual prowess. too. They. and also occurs in Harker's account . the idea that the racial other smells different. "Return" 129). and which justifies his colonizing of the other Dracula"s "penchant for entering bedrooms at midnight. have a distinct smell (38) and two of them are "dark" (37). are both exoticized and demon!zed. "make's] hiru an archetype of the dreaded black rapist" (Hatlen. note the racial characteristics which Stoker assigns to r. is firmly entrenched in racist discourse (Hatlen. comes physical strength: although he appears an "old man" (15) when Harker first meets him. "Return" 129). The profound significance of vampire sexuality will be discussed later: here." combined with the traits mentioned above. Dracula exhibits the sexual and physical prowess which this discourse so often associates with people of colour. as types of the "deliberate}lyI voluptuous" I38) woman of colour. and usually unpleasant. at least in the case of the male vampire/man of vampires. just as a lizard moves" ( 3 A ) . . 74 others observe. . which is reserved for the white imperialist. he "sho«v[sJ an astonishing vitality" (17) as well as a remarkably strong handshake (15). too. He is also able to climb down the castle wall "face down . rather than with the superior intellect. it is enough t<. This an* -al analogy is significant in terms of the rhetoric of . whom it connects with the body.

Half Savage 1 9 7 ) . of course. who "lick(s] her lips like an animal" (52) ." which others apparently harmless people of colour through condescension. admired" (Half Savage 197) also indicates his racial otherness. and that Dracula is able to command wolves and rats. When Judith Weissman posits that Dracula is a rejection of the positive. Romantic view of nature (Half Savage 197) — a critique which resembles. largely because these people are T h e r e is no need similarly to anin. whom Weissman identifies as "tribal people. 75 of the fair vampiress. ." for in his novel "the power to be one with nature belongs to evil. who are already explicitly associated with the lacial other. rather than through fear. . who is often seen to have a "primitive" connection with natural world. the kind of people whose natural vigor Romantics . Although Weissman does not make the connection. it seems that "(bjy reversing the Romantic meaning of affinity with tribal people and the natural world" (Half Savage 1 9 8 ) . Stoker is offering a critique of the figure of the "noble savage. it also connects to the discourse of the racial other. not to good" (Weissman. That the vampires are often presented in animal terms. as well as to transform himself into a wolf 01 a bat. Dracula"s association with the gypsies. the Sadean view invoked by both Carmilla (270) and Bilder (136) — one possible implication is that Stoker is refuting the Romantic ideal of the "noble savage. marks them as non-human.alize the two "dark" vampire women. . and therefore other.

an accurate description of Dracula"s Transylvania. his lament for the old "warlike days" (29- 3 0 ) . 76 powerless to threaten the Europeans who so characterize them. Dracula thus addresses the fear of "reverse imperialism" (Senf. he is also a racial other with power: the slave turned master. Garnett suggests that the heroes project not only their fear of other races. human sacrifice and cannibalism" (Brantlinger 179). onto Dracula (31). and his subsequent rejection of "a ruin [sic] tomb in a forgotten land" (321) in favour of ner and vital London. Further. however. invoke what Brantlinger claims is the third theme of imperial Gothic. as well a*-. a part of the world possessed by a demonic darkness or barbarism. In the discourse of Victorian imperialism. so that "what has been done by imperialist . colonial Africa was "a center of evil. If Dracula is a racial other. the vampire is bringing this colonial evil to the "civilized" world. but their imperialist guilt. This parallel places Dracula once again in the position of imperialist conqueror. the imperialist*s anxiety ever "the diminution of opportunities for adventure and "-eroisra in the modern world" (230). revolutionary colonized. represented above all by slavery. Renfield's name for him (100). By immigrating to London. a colonial revolution in which the conquered becomes the conqueror. "Unseen Face" 9 7 ) . indeed. which is.

which makes England its victim. and aristocratic descent with witchcraft and barbarism" (233). Brantlinger notes that "[fjor most Victorians . like Le Fanu.- the British were inherently. was Anglo-Irish (Leatherdale 215). and as an indictment of British imperialism. emphasis added). "reads like a grim parody of the 'conquering race" rhetoric in much imperialist writing" (Brantlinger 234). although it does not precisely mix races. 77 Britain will be done to imperialist Britain. who not only possesses aristocratic imperialist lineage. by 'blood'. Brantlinger indicates the arnbiguour and dangerous nature of this rhetoric ishich "confound[s] racism with the mixing of races. Their group too.. a theory which is doubly applicable to Dracula. In this context. pride in pure blood «?ith blood-sucking cannibalism. Van Helsing even views the vampire's emphatic declaration of his intent to conquer as a sign of fear 1307). The greatest of nineteenth-century imperial powers is itself to be colonised" (37). contains members who are just as foreign as Dracula: . a conquering . Brantlinger"s indictment of Dracula"s confused discourse also applies to the hunters' response to him.. a paradox which may derive from the fact that Stoker. but literally gains his power through blood. Dracula*s imperialist discourse.- 'race'" (21. and is by no means condoned. In general. the hunters" desperate attempts to stop the invader may be read simultaneously as the defeat of a colonial rebellion.

" while Dracula seeks to perpetuate "the historic struggle between the aristocracy and the oourgcoisie"' (Leatherdsle. and Morris speaks a variety of Texan slang which amuses Lucy (58/. who hoards money and feeds parasitically on his subjects. 217)." Arthur "accepts the Icgitissacy of saiddie-ciass hegemony. but. hut actual ioner class characters exist primarily. As "the 'tamed* aristocrat. as we have already seen. . 299. . the vampire aristocrat. 18). for comic effect." Also. Although Moretti identifies the vampire with capitalism (74). the Professor ETJUSI be content with "Arthur Holmwood. Dracula*s English is better than Van Helsing*s. domesticated aristocrat. out lesa. Van Helsing. •threatening than. Like Dracula.* as fluid other. Dracula is priisarily i. He contributes his wealth and influence to th? campaign (294. "(o]nce Van Helsing"s knowledge has been utilized and his enlightening functions exhausted. these two are distinguished from the English hunters by their language. whose phonetic spellir-g confuses Harker (260-63). . bourgeois novel- Drncul.Saxon race the glory of the final scenes" (Leatherdale 2 1 3 ) : excluded f«*o*g the killing of Draculsr. As Morris and Van Helsing demonstrate harmless foreignness in opposition to Dracula"s position as threatening alien.snd ayre thus: just as othered as. l|fce EilJer. he is despatched to *. since he uses this knowledge to help Englishmen defeat the foreign threat. later Lord Godalming. so Arthur is the good aristocrat to Dracula*s evil count. is also connected to Dracula through his arcane knowledge and his religion. performs a similar function as token.hc margins of the action. Hatlen note?. 3 5 6 ) . he can be considered an honorary Englishman. allowing the Anglo-. but is no danger to the bourgeois class at the centre of the novel. the easily-bribed Joseph Srsollct. or the ship's captain whose excessive use of the word "bloody" -<so excites Van liaising (31. 78 the Dutch Van Helsing and the American Quincey Jlorris. can also be identified with the lower classes (130-31).

the hunters also engage in their own "blood- sucking. Symbolically. Van Helsing sucks the blood of Holrcwood. Franco Moretti goes to great lengths. as Renfield acknowledges (244). repurified and fortified power of the 3rltish ruling classes. in the symbolic person of their heir" (Garnett 3 7 ) . in fact. Besides the "pride. and he is entirely left out of the scene of domestic bliss which Harker describes in his final note. through the contribution of his distinctly American weapons — Winchesters and a Bowie knife — to the campaign. The American represents. as Van Helsing"s note to hiza repeals. as Garnett observes. in a plot to capture British capital (74-75). to prove that Morris is actually In league with Dracula. Moretti also notes that it would be impossible to portray "a product of Western civilization" (75) directly as a vasapire. being prevented first by Lucy's refusal. Seward. who is nsxcd after hid O ^ S ) . sucked the Professor's blood in order T O remove the "poison of the gangrene" (112). Morris also does not get the chance to marry an Englishwoman. and Morris with . However. 79 disposing of the vampire pure blood" which they share with Dracula. He is then killed and "incorporated (as a valued contributor rather than potential rival) into the restaoiXised. accordingly. and then by his admittedly heroic death." Explicitly. Morris is first disarmed.Seward has. a potential imperial rival to Britain.

Rather. The ways in which Dracula implements his invasion plan further confirm the similarities between the self and the other. like the Transylvanian women. if only on the b"ssis of attitude. Finally." which. Dracula uses the subtler effects of poison. are not so different from the colonized/iaperiailst threat they seek to destroy." the final ambiguous mixture to which Brantlinger refers (233). The hunters also shed a significant amount of blood in the process of killing Lucy. although such force is involved. initially one of the human community. in the deaths of the Demeter*s crew. and the vampire women. although this occurs in order to save Lucy. . the year of Dracula's publication (Garnett 30}. The various letters and journal entries in Stoker's novel are not dated by year. for example. is combined with Lord Godalming's "aristocratic descent. The heroic representatives of England at the height of its imperial glory in the year of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. violent acts which could constitute the same "barbarism" Brantlinger ascribes to Dracula in his imperialist guise. and 3 1897. is herself transformed into a blood-sucking vampire who. 80 his hypodermic. feeds on the blood of children. along with the direct and brutal power of the wolf. Lucy. he inserts himself into English society through stealth. in the ritual kxlling of Lucy."* then. so it seesas reasonable to assume a connection. His conquest does not depend on brute force alone. Dracula. just as Van Helsing"s supernatural weapons can be read as "witchcraft.

Indeed. signing himself "Count de Ville" (273). law" (19). and his business acumen. examine the dead Lucy's papers without authority (163). or pause in his speaking if he hear ssy words. and finally commit what Jonathan. 3 3 4 ) . and as an English-language tutor. also allow him to enter England legitimately. botany. in his realization that if Dracula*s body "fall[s] Into dust . His knowledge of English law. politics. As the heroes begin to disregard English law. "Unseen Face" 9 9 ) . and studying English "history. so that no man stops if he sees me. . geography. Westenra (150). there [will] be no evidence against us" (335). commit bribery (261. to say 'Ha. break into Lucy's tomb. geology. political economy. 81 perpetuates his otherness through infection. and to hire solicitors and cartage firms. who avoid an inquest into the death of Mrs. his behaviour is in many ways more legal than that of the hunters (Senf. 263. which prompt Harker to declare that "he would have made a wonderful solicitor" (31). . 294-99). ha! a stranger!'" (20). He recruits Harker as a source of more information (22). so Dracula takes all pains to erase his foreign identity. desecrate her body (203ff). break into Dracula*s houses (249. That assimilation will aid his imperialist cause becomes clear in his next line: "I have . because he realizes that his accent distinguishes him -zxosn the society he is about to invade: "I am content if I as like the rest. actually admits would be perceived as murder. .

all of whom remain at Castle Dracula. 82 been so long master that I would be master still — or at least that none other should be master of me" (20). is the significance of Van Helsing*s remark "the circle goes on forever widening" (214). especially given that his conquest docs not rely on forces brought with him from outside England. The Count's ability to learn and change. This. who demonstrates his own susceptibility to Dracula's poison when approached by the women in the castle (33). but like Lucy. a statement which in turn recalls Barker's earlier expression of his fear that Dracula might "create a new end ever widening circle of semi-demons to batten on the helpless" (51). Harker's help is. he converts English citizens. in a . It seems that the plan succeeds. and by the time he addresses Mina and the heroes in London. as he himself admits: "this was the being I was helping to transfer to London" (51). as he tells the men (306). Rather. beginning. Dracula's minions will not necessarily be cultural or racial others like himself. makes him an even more powerful ad\*ersary than the passive other. his English is much improved (287-88. 306). which Van Helsing recognizes (320-21). such as his *»:my of Szgany or the Transylvanian vampiresses. with Lucy and Mina. and like RenfielsS. It is also Harker who engineers the vampire's entry into England. then. will be as English as Jonathan Harker. for Dracula can hire a Hansom cab without attracting undue notice (172).

but in part responsible for the invasion of their homeland. . and. "Dual Life": The Female Other as Angel and Demon No aspect of Dracula is so much analyzed as the position of its women. indicates that the English are not only corruptible. The repressed/oppressed other. Dracula's invitation to London. and the possession of their women. and thus make the fluidity of Stoker's other easier to comprehend. sexual otherness and the anxiety that surrounds it connect all other types of otherness in the novel. just as the empire's repression of its colonies was responsible for their violent uprising. a version of the invitation necessary for the vampire to enter a house (240). which permeates the text and which must be Judith Halberstam's article "Technologies of Monstrosity: Bram Stoker's Dracula" makes a convincing argument for the "monster Jew produced by nineteenth-century anti-Semitism" as a similarly unifying. to the point that critical responses vary from celebrations of Stoker's feminism to condemnations of his misogyny. like that invitation. and connects the other types of otherness through the overwhelming threat of violation. and tsiscegenation. The sexual anxiety "expressed" in Dracula. sexuality and empire" (337). is overdetcrained. whicf. gender. 83 sense. and in that of expulsion (Jackson. Fantasy 3 ) . cannot be that easily contained. is also ambiguous. class. both in the sense of manifestation. Indeed. however it is defined. "all-purpose" other. in that this figure "represents fears about race.

The women who belong to this order — and the relationship is largely one of possession — are its greatest treasure: Garnett calls them "symbols of the moral. Thus the way in which Dracula most threatens English society is to prey on these women. the latter by a violent response to the threat she represents. spiritual and racial 'superiority* of England's ruling classes" (30). Stoker's portrayal of gender relations is nothing if not . 84 contained and violently destroyed at the end of the novel. and more importantly. so as to restore the dominant social order. figured as a "sexual union with women like Lucy and MinaJ. Often. while Lucy. reflecting "the ancient fear that 'they" will take away 'our" women" (Stevenson 145). represents the demonic female most obviously embodied by the thr<se vampire women introduced in Harker's journal (Andriano 111). critics present Mina as the angelic woman.J physically deracinates them and re-creates them as members of his own kind" (144). Stevenson suggests that Dracula's bite. particularly after her conversion. women in Dracula seem to fit into two categories: the passive and non-threatening angel and the aggressive and (sexually) threatening demon. once again. If the women represent the "pure blood" of England. these distinctions are not so absolute. In fact. The former is othered by patriarchal underestimation and condescension. not only drains but contaminates this blood. As in Carmilla. to corrupt them. then Dracula.

. leaving them unable to face the real dangers of the world. Van Helsing describes Mina as a "pearl among women" (218). 85 complex. with its naive hero and corrupt society. the boundary between them. like Lucy earlier in the novel. Although she finds it "a bitter pill . a sentimental scene of Victorian chivalry if ever there was one. However the fact that this protective isolation is exactly what makes Miiia vulnerable to Dracula's attacks suggests that the paternalistic chivalric code the men follow is. simply has a tendency to blur. on the grounds that vampire hunter "is no part for a woman" (235). being the moral centre around whom the men literally rally. and in Carmilla. present in Dracula. in fact. subservient to men and requires male protection. Accordingly. as between t):e self and the other. . and like Le Fanu's Laura. a "group of loving and devoted friends kneeling round that stricken and sorrowing lady" (332). The angelic woman Is passive. as well as being a paragon. harmful to the -tromen they would protect. Both angels and demons are. where Laura is . a scenario comparable to that present in The Vaapvre." Mina has no choice but to accept their "chivalrous care" (242). thus leading to the contradictory critical responses. In some ways. Mina does indeed fit this description. and often undermines itself. to swallow. of course. she is precious and must be guarded. Mina is initially excluded from the men's plans. suggesting that.

which is also in constant need of revision. Indeed. while the men admire her wosianly compassion. although it is worth noting that. lending them her strength. . Despite her apparent vulnerability. In some Instances she seems stronger than her husband. where it can be expressed and simultaneously contained. and daughter to Van Helsing. 86 similarly helpless. She is also kind to Renfield (232-33). however. mother acd sister to Arthur. Indeed. Mina is neither passive nor helpless. when they realize their mistake. at which point they once again exclude her (323). and she consoles the men on various occasions. A similarly fluid analysis is possible regarding the passive. Their new resolution is once again undermined. serving more to define Mina than to affect anyone else's feelings for the vampire. and she again supports their decision (324). they really pay little attention to it. subservient nature of the Victorian "ideal" woman. in which women are nurturing and supportive of their men. So Mina is wife to Jonathan. agree with Mina's declaration that "there must be no more concealment" (290). when they begin to suspect that Dracula has corrupted Mina. the men in Dracula. Indeed. and even expresses pity for Dracula (308). Sympathy for the other is placed in the mouth of a woman. although her care for them places her in a maternal role in keeping with the angelic stereotype.

PM-13K"x«.25 | | . 4 if. Madness often simply translates as an unwillingness to .I 11.0 gIS ES ^ ^ c i I2£ 122 fr HI 1 2 0 I.6 PRECISION5" RESOLUTION TARGETS 100 Renfield represents the often feminized state of insanity.PHOTOGHAPH1C MICHOCOPY TARGET H3S 1010a AHSI/iSO S2 EQUIVALENT 1.

. Indeed. You have aided in thwarting ma. she never usurps the male role. who is "an assistant schoolmistress" prior to her marriage (53). therefore. she is superior to the seemingly perfect woman embodied by the passive Lucy. Even as Mina fulfils the conventional criteria for "good" woman in being maternal. Mina. unlike the Transylvanian vampiresses and the vampiric Lucy. you shall cross land or sea to do my bidding. 87 Harker's response to her pity is the wish to send Dracula's soul "for ever and ever to burning hell" (309). You would help these men to hunt me and frustrate me in my designs! . supportive. . and compassionate. however. When ray brain says "Come!* to you. Mina has "a woman's heart" (234). like the others. and demonstrates considerable Jeductive ability. and vows to subdue her: you. not dangerous. (287- 88) Despite her strength. has a remarkable knowledge of train schedules. . She uses her talents almost exclusively in the service of men (Stade . who is unable to resist Dracula. George Stade believes that these are the product of the "unwomanly" part of her (47): the "man's brain" Van Helsing identifies (234). in some ways. Thus Mina is not entirely a woman. and is. but. Mina integrates traditional femininity and potential female power. can type and write in shorthand. the Count himself complains of Mina's lack of submission. Unlike Lucy. her strength remains an anomaly. From the start. who seems to have few practical skills. wculd play your brains against mine. now you shall come to my call.

however. argued that wctsv-n should carry their maternal virtues outside the home to the wider public sphere" (Vampire 159). .--ves xn woman's traditional role as a mother" (Senf. and her economic independence before marriage" are characteristics of the latter ("New Woman" 4 8 ) . it could be . Mina "adhere[sj to the traditional view that sives should defer to their husbands [and] . a tendency which reinscribes her feminine role and prevents these skills from defining her as a proto-feminist or even a VictoxIan "New Woman. "Mina's intelligence.And a nice job she will make of it. 88 4 6 ) . to explore alternativs-*. to ausCla-it. as Senf notes. Mina herself jokingly suggests that she and Lucy could "shock!] the "New Woman' with [thcirj appetites" (88). But I suppose the New Woman won't condescend in future to accept: she will do the proposing herself. "S£ew fnaan" 3 5 ) . a project in which. . but her wit regarding the forwardness of these women takes on a disapproving tone as she continues in reference to Lucy's engagement to Arthur: some of the "New Woman" writers will some day start an idea that men and women should be allowed to see each other asleep before proposing or accepting. a -view not necessarily endorsed by the New Woman. "New irf~ " < 1 . too! (120) ^s Senf observes. who "felt £*>»e to initiate sexual relationships. also ue". "Senf notes elsewhere. traits which directly oppose the ideal of Victorian femininity Senf discusses in relation to Carmilla ("Women and Power" 3 0 ) . ' Mina. . ." although. and to discuss sexual matters" vC-nf. That "nineteenth- century feminists . and motherhood. her ability to function on her own.

although the result is that she. She is certainly the more helpless of the twe women: "virginal. Mina's traditional position remains unaltered. on the other hand. and. by contrast. 89 then. appears to be just such an angel from the beginning. sweet. is once again contained. and she uses all her talents to help the men in their hunt for Dracula. one considers these other characters as part of an extended family. and be reborn as a good Victorian angel-in-the-house" (Half Savage 205). Her foremost wish is "to be useful to Jonathan" (53). a damsel in distress" (Stade 39). by the novel's end. has been silenced -- Harker has the last word — and reinscribed in the role of mother. and as such is the object of masculine admiration to the degree that she receives. If. and at certain points during her conversion. argued. inexperienced. and any threat she may have posed is negated. "THREE proposals in one day!" (56). Lucy represents this ideal in cany ways prior to her encounter with Dracula. To quote Weissman: "to be saved she must leave most of her modernity and all of her independence behind. as she exclaims ecstatically. too. "New Woman" 46). . Lucy. "New Woman" 45). While Mina's active independence directly opposes the languorous passivity of the Victorian ideal. Mina is participating by becoming "a mother-figure to all the other characters in the novel" (Senf. defenseless. remains "a modern woman" rather than a New Woman (Senf. Thomas B. She gains very little by her efforts. Byers notes that men are attracted to passive.

. lifelike death or embalmed life" (41). this ideal feminine weakness that coakes them susceptible to Dracula's poison. . although it is. and therefore beautiful. Auerbach notes that "Victorian culture abounds in icons of beautiful corpselike women and In women . -vho Is nowhere more beautiful than in death. Like the languorous Laura. and "even the woman who performed the last offices for the dead" tells him that "'she makes a very beautiful corpse"" (162). As well as demonstrating how the other functions to define the self. whose face then takes on an appearance of "unequalled sweetness and purity" (216—17). A similar phenomenon occurs when Arthur kills the vampire Lucy. protectable. while at the same time it is the quality which permits evils such as Satan — or Dracula — to attack mankind" (Griffin 144). Weak or dead women are non- threatening. 90 dependent women partly because they "can more easily believe in their own superior strength of character if the women play the role of "weaker" vessels" (154). the ultimate passive. Seward remarks that "death had given back part of her beauty" (162). . silent state. "weakness makes women lovcable. Byers's assessment expx-iins why the heroes are so overwhelmingly attracted to Lucy. paradoxically. who arc transfigured in trance. sleep. Lucy grows more beautiful as her mysterious illness progresses and her beauty culminates in her death. innocent.

because they are unafcle to care for themselves (Griffin 146)." It is not surprising that Lucy. Johnson contends that female rebellion in Dracula is justified and has been provoked by the undue constraints and condescension which have been inflicted on her by ner society. they are children to b« protected. 231). Alan P. 91 Nevsrtheless. and as "little girl. and then to Mina. Quincey Morris summarizes the attitude with which the heroes regard such women in his reference to Lucy. as Auerbach implies with speculations on the potential power an "army of [vampirej women" could possess "had Dracula survived" (24). is irreversibly converted. (21) Johnson's argument for a reading of Dracula as a novel of feminine rebellion and liberation is flawed in that the women still need the male vampix^e If they are to gain any kind of liberation. as "little girl" (59. This position is much at odds with that of the powerful and demonic vampire-woman. docs not seem to promise any kind of radical liberation — Harker has already noted that . to use Hatlen's terms. who is more contained within the role of Victorian angel even than Mina. who needs no one's care. Lucy's resurrection is truly the return of the repressed/oppressed in force. and can be redeemed only in death (Garnett 3 9 ) . Dracula's men prefer to keep their women weak. chiefly by the men around her and chiefly because the thinking of the society is dominated by anachronistic notions of social class and chivalry. in her capacity both as mother. and victimizes the children to whom the angelic woman is related. Similarly. quoted above. Dracula's speech to Mina.

but of slow poison. Dracula's greatest effect on women. and Dracula's .the King Vampire tends to command hxs women as he does hxs wolves (39) — and Lucy appears to achieve her greatest sexual pleasure while being ritually murdered with a phallic stake iStade 4 3 ) . not only a vampire. but also converts them into something manifestly other. then. This is the novel's clearest indication of the fear of otherness. "Women and Vampires" 4 0 1 ) . not only that the other will breed with "our" women. The women Dracula preys on are. as Auerbach puts it "heaven is woman's prison as well as her sphere" (72) — undergoes the most violent transformation. Bilder declares that neither women nor wolves are to be trusted (137). in the imagination of Victorian men. which literally drains them of life. is correct in noticing the feminine response to oppression. who has been the most confined — for. and threatening. is to convert them into something like himself. who eventually admits that "Stoker is ultimately conservative" (23). and therefore an even greater threat. but that he will somehow coxxrupt them. it seems. Johnson. but a sexual presence. and it is significant that Lucy. Nonetheless. the victims not only of wolves who will leap through bedroom windows to ravish them and take their blood. "there is always the possibility that the chaste Victorian wife will become the kind of woman her husband both desires and fears" (Weissman.

but to reproduction. Thus all three portrayals of the vampire other threaten the family as sacred to the self. of which Miss Aubrey and her brother are the last. not only preys on the dominant society's women. which turns women into the aggressors. but manages to feminize its men. that is. according to Garnett. Dracula. Ruthven*s violent sexuality appears to be sterile. Because she does not need men. Similarly. If Mina's practicality is the positive side of the New Woman. too. a view which obviously threatens an institution which ostensibly exists for the purpose of perpetuating itself through the bearing of children. Carmilla is an obvious threat to such a patriarchal institution. feminized men and sexually aggressive women. unequivocally other. he effectively prevents the perpetuation of Aubrey's family line. Weak. rendering them impotent and ineffectual to the degree that Harker is unable to have a child until the vampire is dead. are "not merely unwomanly but un-human" (42). like his counterparts in Polidori and Le Fanu. Aubrey himself. although there is one notable difference in Dracula: Stoker's concept of contagious vampirism is more easily connected. the vampire poses a threat to the family as an institution. is the negative side. 1 because "female sexuality is In all three vampire texts. Dracula represents above all the threat of miscegenation not directly apparent in The Vampyre or Carmilla. and to make it harder to distinguish between the other and the self he asy have converted. and by killing Aubrey's beloved. upset the male-dominated power dynamic of the traditional family. typically viewed by the homophobic as a threat to the traditional family. not only to infectious sexuality. Carmilla presents the same sterility. 93 poisonous influence has the effect of turning women into wolves (Bentley 144). Stoker's Count. but here it is coupled with homosexuality. this sexual liberation. either for sexual pleasure or for procreation. They also threaten the patriarchal family. Such women. or . although there are subtle differences as to the form this threat takes. his sister and. present in all three texts. indirectly. thus undermining this family as a dominant institution. These women threatex men directly. privileges sexual pleasure over reproduction. because he is more likely to contaminate the pure blood of the dominant culture. This particular threat makes Stoker's vaispire even more frightening than his predecessors.

indicate that the greatest angels. but on children (39. Mina's marriage remains "unconsusrnated until after the major events of the novel have taken place" (24). for so both the women seea to be. of course. Griffin discusses. Thus. . I tend to agree with Mary K. a sexual union between one man and one woman" (Senf. Mina's partial transformation. It is the very antithesis of Motherhood" (Stade 42-43). "New Woman" 4 6 ) . even more so. who maintains that. is possible. "if woman's capacity for virtue Iher perceived weakness] indeed. 94 insatiable and selfish. Stephanie Deaetrakopoulos believes that the married Mina's sexual knowledge protects her from complete seduction by Dracula: however. which is apparentl>' restored with the birth of Jonathan Harker's son (378). 211). followed by her own "unclean" state after Dracula's attack. . Lucy's conversion. To return to the hazardous ideal Gail B. Patterson Thornburg. the self-sacrifice and suppression of appetite upon which the survival of the family depends. again threatening the male line. . Both the Transylvanlan vamplresses and the undead Lucy prey not only on men. can potentially become demons. "a baby which is named for all the men who had participated in the quest to destroy Dracula . . and. . the experience of motherhood paradoxically negates Mina's sexuality even further. . the child is the product of an asexual social union rather than . fathered. . 9Provided. almost as though . because of Harker's illness following his Transylvanlan ordeal. indifferent to the decent self- restraint . that further negation of the sexuality of a woman who believes it "very Improper" for her husband to take her arm in public (171).

Seward describes her appearance in the cemetery: "we recognized the features of Lucy Westenra. yet still recognizable as "a devilish mockery of Lucy's sweet purity" (214). of course. Traditionally. but yet how changed. . 95 contains her capacity for vice. Harker believes "there is naught in common" between the Castle Dracula's female "devils of the Pit" (53) and Mina. The sweetr-ess was turned to adamantine. This fluctuation. and Lucy in particular crosses it repeatedly — first fluctuating between sleep and waking. as Senf notes. the vampire cannot enter without an invitation. Still. After Arthur hasxac* *• the stake through her heart. heartless cruelty. and the purity to voluptuous wantonness" (211).:c among many Indications that she is "an accomplice in her own continued repression" (Wood 183). but even she suggests that "some of the taste of the original apple . . "undying* and dying (152-53) during her conversion. although the fact that she thinks this is oi»ly o. Senf's observation . however. then transforming from a beautiful dead woman to a demonic undead one. she is always suspect. is only an extreme version of the latent duality of Lucy's own nature. dangerous" (144). he "cannot influence a human being without that oerson's consent" J"*"nsecn Face" 98). remains still in our mouths" (183). there is a fine line between angels and demons. Lucy Westenra. Lucy reverts once more to her "unequalled sweetness and purity" (216-17).

. further indicating what Day calls "erotic That the transfusions also render Van Helsing a "bigamist" is less relevant. Lucy's somnambulism is also suspect.(DraculaJ usually employs seduction. as many critics have noticed. . she calls herself a "horrid flirt" (58) and expresses the "heretical" idea of marrying three men (59). she also speculates on what she would do if she were a man (57). to break through Lucy's window. 96 that "although perfectly capable of using superior strength when he must . insane. relying on the others' desires to emulate his freedom from external constraints" ("Unseen Face" 98) illustrates the privileging of corrupting poison over wolfish violence when it comes to his female victims. and explicitly make Lucy a "polyandrist" (176). for example. In her second letter. and because his own wife is presumably. Lucy. which can be read as a figurative invitation to further corruption. she writes of telling Morris she is not "broken to harness at all yet" (58). . early in the novel. Finally. suggesting a sexual promiscuity unacceptable in Victorian angels. foreshadowing her later usurpation of aggressive masculine sexuality. shows demonic potential. Bersicker. By compelling the wolf. Dracula is able to enter her room without being literally invited (143): however. The blood transfusions reinforce this notion. since the sexual conduct of men is under less scrutiny. because they both clearly establish the connection between blood exchange and sexual intercourse. and significantly.

Mina.The text approves Mina's feelings of guilt by presenting an "injured" Jonathan (287). when she realizes what has happened. when performed on Lucy earlier. by contrast. actions which. as Griffin notes. Lucy also appears to enjoy her nocturnal trysts: after rescuing her from the cemetery. refers to herself as "unclean. and in the company of her husband. While Lucy is refreshed by Dracula's visits." and essentially accepts blame for something that could be correctly figured as rape (284). Mina says she "seems more restful than she has been for some time" 192). also suggest rape (Bentley 30). resembles not only the scar her . She initially goes *o Dracula more-or- less voluntarily. while Mina. by contrast. Mina requests that. although literally unconsciously. which. and through the host's caustic effect. as she sleepwalks to the suicide seat: Mina is significantly concerned "for her reputation in case the story should get wind" (92). Lucy remembers only that her experience was "very sweet and very bitter" (98). Finally. 97 restlessness" (146). is attacked in the perceived safety of her own bedroom. She is also obviously worried that she will infect or poison Jonathan: hence her exclamation "I must touch him or kiss him no more" (284)." the men should "drive a stake through [her] and cut off [her] head" (331). should she die while still "unclean. and more dependent on her "good brave men" (311). Mina. becomes more passive.

Mina's speculation that "it is part of the curse that this happens when his touch is on his victim" (287) indicates xhzx issues of consent are complex here. In fact. Whether their ignorance is deliberate is doubtful: however. but women are what men make them. and thus non- threatening. more listless — more a conventional Victorian woman" (Half Savage 205). the prize in the game between . more passive. however. 98 husband has left on Dracula's forehead. The brand on Mina's forehead implies that she is at fault. the vampire's attack may serve as a form of wish-fulfilment for mortal men faced with strong women like Mina. and by giving them an endangered icon around which to rally. although she "IdoesJ not want to hinder iDraculaJ" (287). whether it is through a vampire bite that converts the angel into a demon. she also acknowledges that her lack of resistance is the result of the vampire's power. Mina's victimization serves their purposes by rendering her more in need of protection. Men can choose to be vampires. Women. but also the scarlet letter of adultery (146). it seems. or through the condescending patriarchal chivalry that both creates that angel and leaves her vulnerable. From then on she becomes weaker. are currency. it seems more likely that Mina's undoing is the result of negligence on the part of the men who fail to protect her. for Dracula gets to her when she is unprotected. Although Weissman argues that Mina's "liberty is her undoing.

The men seem to be the victims of the direct attack that results in death. as is Mr. and to blood-drinking (141). who dies of a broken neck. most easily poisoned. . is enslaved by Dracula. rather than of masculinity: if Dracula represents male power gone mad. Apparently. it is the novel's women who are most easily corrupted. Renfield is also connected to animals. However. a term that accurately describes the vampire as well. because of his habit of eating flies and other animals. Even Quincey Morris dies relatively cleanly. Seward calls him a "zoophagous (life-eating) maniac" (70). the men in Dracula are far from incorruptible. As Hollinger observes: "in their passive receptivity.self and other. Despite his gender." Renfield is Dracula's disciple. women are at once the susceptible mediators through which the Other may penetrate into human territory and the spoils of war which fall to the victor in this battle between Good and Evil" (152). already alienated. the animals that kill brutally but quickly. then. as it were. which I have connected to the solves of Harker's delusions. to whom he refers as hxs "Master. Swales. as opposed to the poison that gradually corrupts. "Stalwart Manhood": Failed Masculinity and Homosocial Desire The most obvious example here is Renfield. whose mind. Renfield is more a representative of the condition of madness in general. The crew of the Demeter is killed outright. however.

composed of the aristocrat. and the vampire. Twice Van Helsing must step between Arthur and his newly amorous fiancee. who are already "othered. the American man of action. Hence." defined as vulnerable. and as much contained by these definitions as is Renfield by his straight-waistcoat and his cell in Seward's madhouse. Insane even before he encounters Dracula. or perhaps because of it — in many ways Stoker's men are as naive as Polidori"s Aubrey — the heroes are very much susceptible. as are the women. and often tedious. the madman. magician and father. and Van Helsing. Despite their apparent. . it is more interesting to note the poisonous effects of the vampire on the novel's heroes. normality. 100 Renfield represents the often feminized state of insanity. Renfield is susceptible to Dracula's influence. Come. . the feminine demon. she urges- . and we can rest together" (211). who is clearly trying to convert him into an other like herself: "leave these others and come to me . forming what Waller calls a "moral community" (343). Madness often simply translates as an unwillingness to conform to social codes — as does evil. . for example. the "Renaissance man" (Waller 34) who plays the roles of priest. the middle-class solicitor. among others. Consequently. to the same illicit desires that characterize the female response to the male vampire. the doctor. who appear at first to represent various social norms.

There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive. . I lay quiet. that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips. just touching and pausing there. shivering touch of the lips on the supersensitive skin of my throat. attraction and repulsion in a manner . I could feel the soft. Harker alternates between fear and desire. . . looking out under my eyelashes in an agony of delightful anticipation . in which the vampires* deadly teeth are "pearls. burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips.I felt in my heart a wicked. the very thought of whom here inspires guilt in her husband. . . All three had brilliant white teeth. to the gloom-haunted rooms" f. IT]he skin of my throat began to tingle as one's flesh does when the hand that is to tickle it approaches nearer — nearer. . He describes the scene as follows: in the moonlight opposite me were three young women." later a positive metaphor used by Van Helsing to describe Mina. . and the hard dents of two sharp teeth. some longing and at the same time some deadly fear.There was something about them that made me uneasy. . and thus again makes Harker complicit. I closed my eyes in a languorous ecstasy and waited — waited with a beating heart. . . . . .?7) but to sleep instead in "the portion of the castle occupied in bygone days" (35). Harker wanders through the castle and "determineIs 1 not to return . Deliberately ignoring the Count's warning. (37-38) Nowhere else in the novel is there such a clear description of a vampire attack and the ambivalent response it provokes- From his opening description. . 101 Male vulnerability is even more obvious in Jonathan Harker's response to the vampire women in Castle Dracula. This decision again alludes to the tradition that vampires must be invited into the homes of their victims.

wolves can be defeated with Winchesters. while wolfisL in its violence. even women with phallic stakes." The distinction between wolves and poison is never entirely clear. Dracula's attack on Mina. to be penetrated by those "two sharp teeth" (38). "peering out from under the eyelashes las] . Unlike Dracula in his attacks on women. casting Harker as the foolish woman who ignores the warnings of her (male) superiors. that of Bluebeard's wife. one has popularly come to expect from any coy female who docs not wish to 'encourage* her lover" (Leatherdale 148) and prepares to be ravished. In this case. Harker is. but how does one cope with the enemy within oneself? Even more significant is the fact that Harker's role here is decidedly feminine. the vampiresses do not appear to transform their victims into vampires. they are more interested in pleasure than in reproduction. Like the naive young women who fall prey to Ruthven. and like Laura. Harker lies back upon the couch. only to be horribly punished (Schechter 244-46). like a fairy-tale princess. 102 reminiscent of Laura's relationship with Carmilla. In this case. Like Carmilla. who storms into the room with the anger of a father discovering his Although Harker is grappling with his own desire — the other in himself — his experiences are not exactly comparable to the effect I have termed poisonous. The situation's allusion to another culturally significant tale. the desire is even more frightening than the fear. . though. rendering her "unclean. both appear wherever there is blood. rescued by a man: Dracula. is poisonous in that it corrupts her. . and rats with terriers. . By contrast. establishes the reversal of gender roles from the outset. however. because there is no element of conversion.

. then. . and ltheyJ marry him" (57). "the vampire mouth equivocates. and indeed. any of you?*" he thunders: "'Beware how you meddle with him. "'How dare you touch him. is contagious. or you'll have to deal with me*" (39).. the gender-based categories of the penetrating and the receptive" (169). . much as a woman might look to her father or husband (36). Harker himself looks to the Count for protection. At its foot a man may sleep -- as a man" (53). giving the lie to the easy separation of the masculine and the feminine. Dracula not only complicates the rigid distinctions between the angelic and demcnic feminine. . after the incident with the vampiresses. like the vampire's excessive sexuality. . and the precipice is steep and high. as culture defines them as masculine and feminine. As Christopher Craft notes. this gender instability is characteristic of vampires. 103 daughter's virtue is about to be compromised. Lucy suggests that "women are such cowards (theyJ think a man will save Ithem] from fears. but the very boundaries between self and other. . most 'Stade not.s that the scene parallels that in which Van Helsing similarly interrupts Lucy's seduction of Arthur (38). (It] fuses and confuses . He also recognizes his position in the castle as a feminine one. when he resolves to risk death by trying to scale the castle wall rather than staying with "those awful women" because "God's mercy is better than that of these monsters. respectively Although encounters with the vampires. Perhaps confusion about gender boundaries. particularly those aggressive female ones with masculine traits.

The self needs the other in order to define itself. Indeed. 104 explicitly reveal the feminine side of Stoker's heroes. Thus. whether that response is chivalric care. any attempt to establish a fixed definition of masculinity is likely to be undermined. Seward observes that "even his stalwart manhood seemed to have shrunk somewhat under the strain of his much-tried emotions" (168). even to the extent of throwing his arms around the doctor. is. establish their own identities in response to women. their masculinity is questionable in other situations. (repressed) desire. 238). and masculinity is. a consequence which necessarily produces considerable anxiety in the heroes. the novel struggles as hard to define and control manhood as it does to restrict women to the ciasculinist roles of angel and demon. and "la[yingj his head upon [Seward's] breast" (168). for the heroes. Stoker's men. . Thus it is that Godalming loses much of his masculinity over Lucy's death. itself constructed. Unfortunately. fluid. as I have noted above. particularly under the destabilizing influence of the vampire. There may be more at stake for them than the welfare of humanity or even the purity of Mina: their own self-definition — as men. the definition of femininity. and this speculation is confirmed when Godalming breaks down In his presence. then. defined in relation to femininity. Early remarks regarding the "laconic" Quincey Morris (204. and with the same limited success. or outright fear.

. from breaking down" (151). Harker's "brain fever" has the same connotations. and Godalming*s shrinking manhood suggests impotence. and looks forward to meeting Harker from whose Transylvanlan journal he has received the impression of "a good specimen of manhood" (225). but Seward seems particularly interested in the size of the other protagonists' "manhood-" In addition to the two remarks made above. and again madness is connected to helpless femininity. Whether Seward's preoccupation is the result of latent homoerotic desire — to be discussed later — or simply of insecurity regarding his own masculinity. If control of the emotions defines masculinity. both of which are in his journal. Here it is Mina who nurses him back to health. too — to keep . 105 the epitome of the strong. She Is able to restore her husband's lost manhood. indicate that Arthur's behaviour is unbefitting a real man. whereas before he "felt impotent" (188). Also grief- stricken as Lucy's unexplained illness worsens. the doctor refers to the "strong young manhood which seemed to emanate from [Arthur]" (121). which she has obtained by giving copies of his diary to the professor. Jonathan is raving (99). has "made a new man of [him]" (187). I* and no mistake " (149). . Mina's efforts not only establish her as the stronger partner. . silent male stereotype who "even manages to die in manly silence" (Howes 111). After his escape from Castle Dracula. apparently irrationally. Morris is able to use "all the manhood of him — and there was a royal lot of it. a fact he all but admits when he reveals that her showing him Van Helsing*s letter. only shortly after Van Helsing has described him as "a man. is open to debate.

srhile Seward's use of the term — significantly associated with the feminine — is derogatory. Seward suggests the correct response to female hysteria . as Seward says when trying to comfort his distraught friend in a way that does not threaten his own masculinity. In much the same way that her care makes Arthur's second outburst more socially acceptable. which takes place in Mina's presence. just as a wozsan does" (174). Mina describes Arthur's conduct as "hysterical" (230). as much as his involves protecting her. "there is something in woman's nature that makes a man free to break down before her and express his feelings on the tender or emotional side without feeling it derogatory to his manhood" (229). However. Morris having left the room "with instinctive delicacy." does less to unman him: as she says. Consequently. Arthur's hysterics are transferred through Mina. . whose stereotypical role involves caring for him. 106 somehow justify Jonathan's breakdown. a tera Seward uses earlier to describe Van Helsing*s uncontrollable laughter: "he gave way to a regular fit of hysterics . If "in such cases men do not need much expression" (168). Once again. the stereotypically nurturing woman determines what is acceptable masculine behaviour. who comforts both him and her husband not as a strong man protects his wife — indeed. Arthur's second breakdown. and laughed and cried together. . a man can safely express his emotions in the presence of a woman.

despite all efforts to the contrary. Given Arthur's frequent breakdowns. "I never thought at the time how strange it all was" (230). While some critics suggest that the sexual threat in Dracula is a purely heterosexual one (Deesetrakopoulos 103. . the context shifts again: he and Mina become brother and sister (230). confirms the reader's belief that the heroes. Arthur cries "like a wearied child. explained as "a congenital abnorsality by . 107 involves "sternness" (174) -. and their combined failure to notice Dracula's attacks on Mina. cannot quite fulfil traditional masculine roles. . Morris's bad aim not to mention his death. Van Helsing*s hysterical outbursts. Seward's constant questioning of his sanity. However. this sceas simplistic given the feminizing of the male heroes." and Mina feels "this big sorrowing man's head resting on [her]. as though it were that of the baby that some day may lie on [her] bosom. given that women often play the child's role. and . Harker's actual descent into cental instability. Leatherdale 156). Just when it seems that this infantilization poses another threat to Arthur's masculinity. Christopher Craft notes that Victorian conceptions of homosexuality defined it as "sexual inversion" (172). the escn In Dracula are strangely ineffectual if one judges them by the traditional masculine criteria Stoker sceas to be establishing. Mina's remark.but in a maternal fashion. strokeis] his hair as though he were [her] own child" (230).

it is entirely possible for a text such as Dracula to represent the threat of homoeroticissi from within a "sexual framework [that] is rigidly heterosexual" (Leatherdale 156). as with Swales and Renfield. according to Leatherd2le"s inventory. Dracula docs not dismiss male hossoerotic desire and threat: lesbianism. . According to Craft. Although Dracula hiisself appears to feed on. are fulfilled through a saedlatisig female. indirectly. senstruation. seduce and convert women by preference. rape. "correct" Rather. manages to represent. incest. Dracula "does not dismiss homoerotic desire and threat: rather it simply continues to diffuse and displace it" (171). Morris. oral sex. "seduction. adultery. 108 which a female soul had beco=e united with a male body" (173) so that "a male's desire for another male. for Instance. while his male victiess are dispatched by direct violence. it seems. but rather to another invisible sexual self composed of the opposite gender" (174-75). Because such a definition "understands homoerotic desire as misplaced heterosexuality" (Craft 175). hoaoeroticism is present in a disguised forsa. group . is too unthinkable even for a text which. beside male homosexuality.. Craft writes: "all erotic contacts between esales. none of whom loses any blood to hisa. and.-x. through the surrogateon of the other. is from the beginning assumed to be a feminine desire referable not to the gender of the body . and none of whom becoaes a vampire. venereal disease. . whether directly libidinal or thoroughly sublimated. [and] voyeurism" (146). necrophilia. paedophilia.

Dracula has turned them into vampires. they are both his brides and his daughters. from the critical response. The only time Dracula directly threatens one of the heroes with the scxualized loss of blood that is vampirism is when Harker cuts himself while shaving: "when the Count saw oy face. suggestive of the anal-exotic [sic]" (Hanson 337). . and taboo areas . if. there are other indications of Dracula's desire for Harker. whose The relationship of these wossen to Dracula also relates to sexual taboos and unstable boundaries. because. his eyes blazed with a sort of demoniac fury. and thus lover of. The same critics who see Dracula as exclusively heterosexual try to downplay this scene as either a casual Interest. appears to be an effective mask. However. the Count. the most obvious examples occurring during Harker's imprisonment in his castle. and he suddenly made a grab at ay throat" (26)." although there is no indication that this is their position. with Its "dark passageways. varapiric sexuality "collapse[sj the distinction between sexual partners and offspring" (143). Dracula appears to be the focus of this anxiety concerning the homosexual other. locked rooms. as Stevenson realizes. Once again. The scene with the worsen those same critics often call his "brides" or "daughters. thus maintaining the rigid heterosexual framework which. . or as a momentary loss of control on Dracula's part (Roth 62). also puts Harker in the position of potential prey for. Only the crucifix Harker wears saves him here. which the vocabulary clearly contradicts. 109 gender" (176). . as Dost critics assume.

phantasaic rejection by recasting of an original homosexual (or even merely homosoclal) desire" (Sedgwick. Between Men 91-92). and indicates the same anxiety concerning same-sex penetration. in which "the Count turn[sJ. emphasis added) — parallels Harker's decision to brave the cliffs rather than the inhabitants of Castle Dracula. Freud's theory that a paranoid "sense of persecution represents the fearful. again. It is better to die like a man" (85. Harker himself recognizes his position when he writes "to him alone I can look for safety. by the scene with the vampire women. I too can love*" (39). The castle's threat to Harker's masculinity is not only embodied in its female vampires. The line most quoted by those who subscribe to homoerotic readings of Dracula confirms such an interpretation: "This man belongs to me!" (39). after looking at [Harker's] face attentively. 110 interruption of the scene takes the tone not only of protective father but of jealous lover. it seems. so that attraction to another can is recast as hatred which is projected onto the desired 17Howes notes that the log entry of the Demeter * s captain — "the mate was right to jump overboard. which implies but does not describe them" (107). and sa[ys] in a soft whisper: — "Yes. but as a heterosexual man. signified. even though this be only whilst I can serve his purpose" (36). but what is not acknowledged is that the purpose Harker may serve for Dracula may not be entirely in the capacity of solicitor- Rather. it may be a sexual one. . and Dracula threatens not only his position as a man. "and therefore [the deaths of the sailors] are admitted but suppressed by the narrative.

He exclaims: "I care for nothing now . I would sell my soul to do it!" (303). While Harker's hatred of Dracula is obviously motivated by either protectiveness of Mina. not only for the violation of his wife.. but specifically lying on the bed "his face flushed. Indeed the most explicit assault on her again places him in a feminized position. creating the fantasy of persecution. with multiple talents reminiscent of. and breathing heavily as though in a stupor. and that his hatred of the Count is either a mask for his desire or the result of the need to be revenged. for it is clear that the Professor admires Dracula.. then.. though different from. D." as Seward describes it (281). Harker's particular hatred. Litt. its vehemence outdoes even that of Lucy's suitors. but for the threat to his own masculinity- Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's application of Freud to Gothic novels of same-sex persecution may also explain Van Helsing's seemingly unmotivated pursuit of the vampire. D. whose love-interest the vampire has actually killed. which again suggests his potential relationship with Dracula... referring to him as "in life a most wonderful man" (302). etc. not only unable to rescue his wife. or jealousy of Dracula's relationship with her. Ill man. Harker seems to be in a state of post- coital exhaustion. etc.D. .Ph. may be fuelled by more than love for his wife. Van Helsing's own credentials of "M. is also relevant to Dracula. except to wipe out this brute from the face of creation." .

Van Helsing's relationship to Dracula may fall into this category. and that another possible form for the recasting of the sentiment "I (a man) love him (a man)" (Epistcmology 161) is "I do not love him. Sedgwick notes that the paranoid Gothic generally involves "neatly demarcated pairs of doubles" (Between Men 113). expresses the "necessity to utterly stamp him out" (301-02). statesman and alchemist — which latter was the highest development of the science-knowledge of his time" (302). and a heart that knew no fear and no remorse" (302). for Dracula in life was "soldier. as his changing hair colour indicates (301). learning beyond compare. certain aspects of his physical appearance and his occult knowledge. Van Helsing. of course. Indeed he protests too much. is also Dracula's double. to the Count" (114. Harker. It is almost as if. . Despite this affinity for Dracula. but his relationship is defined by an exchange of powerJ as the Count gets younger and stronger (51). Jonathan gets older and weaker. telling Mina that his pursuit of Dracula is> "necessary — necessary — necessary!" which the repetition surely is not (319). emphasis added). like Harker. Van Helsing also resembles the Count in terms of his age. whom he resembles in his scientific knowledge as well as his "mighty brain. via his wife. as Leatherdale suggests. I am him" (Episteroologv 162). 112 (112). "his energy is transferred.

such a relationship. to which they have all contributed. emphasis added). to attack them through their women. as Spielsdorf seems to desire her mother. of 'heterosociality' in that Carmilla does not seem xo desire the men with whom her relationship is mediated by Laura. Certainly Dracula has access to the blood of the heroes. the men's anxiety concerns another kind of contamination by the other. complicated by her own orientation. mediated by women in the creation of an erotic triangle. if not directly. but this is. like Ruthven. attacks patriarchal society through its women. Dracula may actually attack men directly. through Lucy's bloodstream. Besides the connotations of miscegenation. IS the greatest fear of this group of chivalric heroes. but he is more likely. 113 The fact that the exchange of energies occurs through Mina is significant. of course. especially given the recent incarceration of Oscar Wilde for homosexuality (Schaffer 381). one which is also homosocial. if not homosexual. however." "I love him" becomes "I do not love him. . I love her" or "T do not love him. The words of Dracula himself confirm this theory: "your girls that you all love are mine already. although they may desire her. and through them you and others shall yet be mine" (306. is less so. ISCarmilla s too. and is. mediated by a woman. Besides "I do not love him — I hate him. as Sedgwick and others have noted. she loves him" (Epistemology 161). There is no evidence. If the portrayal of a male vampire attacking a male victim would have been too transgressive in 1897.

in conjunction with certain expected relationships between men. the male heroes engage in homosocial bonding through the presence of women. as a tool of social control. as well as outright expressions of affection. similarly. Once again the male self is defined in relation to the female other. 114 Sedgwick also mentions the use of homophobia. the potential for homosocial relations among the "little band of ii. before the vampire appears. homosexuality. The Professor also frequently declares his love for the younger men in ways that seem too extreme to be merely paternal (150. By contrast. as in the striking image of Mina at the centre of the quasi-religious tableau (332) which erases any sexuality even in her relationship to the men. "only through women may men touch" (171).en" (378) is apparent at the outset. Once again. as Craft writes. Scw&rd's affection for him seems more than hero-worship. one which DracuJ a consistently threatens or destabilizes.. and also blurs the distinctions between heterosexual friendship and homosexuality. for. "the prescription of the most intimate male bonding and the proscription of . the suitors' respective relationships ." perpetuating masculinity as an institution (Epistemology 186). 175).. Van Helsing's first memo to Seward establishes their relationship as one which once involved the exchange of bodily fluids so heavily coded in this novel <112). As with the "gender inversion" mentioned earlier.

a concern which Morris echoes when he urgently asks.t. then through the transfusions. "Arthur was the first: is that not so?" (151). actually performs the act (215ff). then through her death. then the killing of the vampire Lucy with a phallic stake is a violent consummation. Van Helsing is acutely i»ware of the sexual nature of the blood exchange when he warns the others not to mention their contributions to Arthur (128). first through their proposals. but Van Helsing's hypodermic penetrates each in turn. vicariously participating in what Senf describes as a gang rape ("Unseen Face" 100). However. Morris. the other men play the part of voyeurs. with each incident becoming more sexual than the lar. as Lucy's fianc6. as Godalming. Dracula may not vampirize men. and then the vampire drinks from Lucy. is immediately recontextualizcd . while outwardly redeeming his shrunken masculinity by sexually victimizing a woman. Van Helsing's reference to Lucy's polyandry (176) absolutely confirms that "beneath this screen or mask of authorized fraternity a more libidiiial bonding occurs as male fluids find a protected pooling place in the body of a woman" (Craft 188). 115 wxth Lucy unite them in an explicitly sexual context. and Van Helsing variously suggest. Finally. Arthur participates in an intense homosocial experience. Thus. this experience. If the transfusions are a metaphor for marriage. Although Arthur. like Arthur's feminized hysteria.

in which decapitation or symbolic castration figures more prominently than penetration (Bentley 30). the male heroes. turning Sedgwick's erotic triangle into an erotic pentagon with a coffin in the centre- Although he does not participate in either the transfusions or the staking of Lucy. however beautiful she may be. then. dead. is more noticeably a homosexual act than a restoration of Jonathan's manhood. 116 as Van Helsing suggests he kiss Lucy's "dead lips" (217). in fact. and thus not a really valid sex object. This heteros-jxualizing of the homosocial experience is also reminiscent of Barker's immediate shift of focub Xo the demonic women after his morning—after speculation that "it was the Count that carried me here [to his bedroom] and undressed me" (40). literally over Lucy's dead body. and at this point impotent. Harker has his own opportunities to reaffirm his masculinity. Dracula's death. because of Harker's own Intimate relationship with the Count — he is the only one of the heroes who has actually met the vampire. However. and is undermined by the fact that Lucy is. Harker. and they too are ambiguous. bond with each other. minus the happily married. In the staking scene. the phallic equivalent of Arthur's stake. should be Harker's "ultimate sexual revenge" (Leatherdale 155). "Harker tears a throat . and he is the most prominent target of Dracula's direct and displaced homoerotic desire — the use of his "great Kukri knife" (376). Ultimately.

his own body must be soaking Harker's lap into a sticky pool of blood" (419). and it blurs the distinction between social duty and personal revenge (Waller 3 4 6 ) . "while Quincey rejoices in Mina's snowy stainlessncss. results from "an asexual social union" ("New Woman" 4 6 ) . the understated presentation of Dracula's death is not surprising. it involves "personal objects and practical tools" — the Kukri and the Bowie — as opposed to the generic stake (Waller 347). Given the text's homoerotic anxiety. Finally. Although he has obviously physically recovered sufficiently to father a child. more specifically. If anything this scene is more homosexually intimate than the ritualized staking of Lucy. which is significant in that. 117 until it bleeds. as Talia Schaffer notes. not entirely successful. the scene ends with Morris dying "with his head on [Harker's] shoulder" (444). Senf believes that his birth. Harker's final note regarding the birth of his son is as unsatisfying as his participation in the death of the King Vampire. but adds further connotations of same-sex blood exchange to a scene which already Involves homosexual penetration. attempt to restore Harker's masculinity. that child's "bundle of names" (378) proves problematic. being another. I would . which is precisely what Dracula did" (Schaffer 4 1 5 ) . far from reestablishing Harker's virility. Morris's death not only mars Harker's moment of masculine triumph.

" mediated in turn through Lucy. and thus. Schaffer believes that "little Quincey Harker can be read as the child of Dracula's and Harker's mutual desire" (419). . In any case. . of course. as Craft notes. Harker writes that his son's "bundle of names links all [the] little band of men together" (378).. because it is through him that she received the blood of the "little band of men. certainly his questionable lineage disturbs an otherwise closed ending. . Quincey Harker is the product of a homosocial union. and Morris's blood has "soaked into Harker" (Schaffer 419) even as the two men came together over the homosexual penetration of Dracula. as well as that of the heroes and the surviving good woman. once again safely mediated through the body of a woman. 118 suggest. With this consanguinity in mind. Dracula's blood. flows symbolically through the boy's veins. son of an illicit and nearly invisible homosexual union" (189). complicates Quincey Barker's paternity still further. despite the ostensiole return to order- . Mina "holds . the secret belief that some of [Quincey Morris's] spirit has passed into him" (378). . Indeed. "suggests an alternative paternity. The vampire's blood exchange with Mina. This is the fantasy child of those sexualized transfusions. It seems the line between self and other remains unstable.

like Carmilla's love. and this is the real anxiety at the heart of Dracula: whether it is adultery. but to convert or possess It. Is always figured as possession. and the expulsion of "a disturbing . or the insistence that Godalming must never know about the other transfusions (128): unspeakable sex acts. "1 fear to say of what" (99). but also become like him. The other. as when Jonathan fears to write of his experience with the vampiresses (57). bourgeois. "I must cither suffocate or swallow some of the — Oh my God!" (288): or other crimes still more unimaginable. if the vampire represents the bestial other. and the correct response is the immediate projection of that illicit desire onto the other. the most powerful threat of all. again alluded to In Sister Agatha's reference to Harker's dreams. Desire in Dracula is worse than fear. Jackson refers to the "expression" of desire in the Gothic novel where "express" is both the depiction. who must then be destroyed (Garnett 32) in order to absolve the self. Protestant. then. heterosexual. s/he also reveals the other in the self. his victims become his. whatever determines his or her otherness. threatens not only to drain or destroy the self. 119 "High Duty" and "Savage Delight": Ambiguous Violence and the Response to Otherness Indeed. male England. as in Mina's incomplete statement. Dracula's bite. the potential for self-generated corruption in the blood of white. The self's potential to commit unspeakable acts is double.

"female sexuality _ . The presentation of this threatening other. The fact that the Destruction of Lucy. and of the protagonists" response to the threat. Hence the need for the violent destruction of the vampire other.arouses men. and far Bso**e violent. 120 element which threatens cultural order" (Fantasy 3 ) . As the examination of the response to women as angels and as demons shows. who are weak" (39). both of whom threaten the heroes" stable. whether s/he is an aggressive vosan or. masculine identities. the greatest threats merit the most violent response. in the words of Stade. is far more dramatic.. perhaps because. or the scene of domestic harmony which follows it- The most memorable scenes in Dracula are either those which depict the vasnpires" violent sexuality — such as Harker's encounter with the three vampiresses or Mina's with Dracula — or those illustrating the huaans* capability for scxualized violence. most notably the ssuch-analyzcd and sensationally violent description of Lucy's second death. than the death of Dracula suggests that these sexually aggressive women are a greater threat to the heroes thai* the Count himself. however. Is ultimately more Important than either the death of the King Vampire. the hasssering of a stake through Lucy's heart actually suggests that the circle . Certainly Dracula's greatest anxiety concerns the threat of the sexual excessively potent man. While apparently morally justifiable. followed closely by that of the Transylvanlan vampire women.

an act which. Seward has earlier believed "as emch an affront to the dead as it would hav#» been to have stripped off her clothing in her sleep whilst living" (197). and. This . and will continue to do so throughout the novel: "I. break into Lucy's tocsb. together with Morris and Seward. contradictory duty which nonetheless takes precedence here. too. and to show how Dracula's sensationalism undermines its apparently conservative coral stance. Arthur at first opposes Van Helsing's request to cut off Lucy's head. with the words: "I have a duty 10 do in protecting her grave £roa outrage. Van Helsing and Arthur have a conversation that explicitly puts the act they are about to corrait in the context of "duty. a duty to the dead. and the two cea. by God. who narrates the incident. This rhetoric convinces Arthur. Van Helsing's similarly-phrased response introduces another. as both a coral necessity and a source of pleasure. Icxsediately before entering Lucy's tosb. but of enjoying them." a concept that is intrinsic to the vaspire hunters" violent practice. have a duty to do. I hope xo explain this ambivalent depiction of violence. by God. by examining it in the context of the contemporary response to the violence reported In Victorian newspapers. 121 of righteous vampire hunters is capable. not only of committing its own atrocities. significantly. a duty to you. a duty to others. J shall do it!" (206). I shall do itl" (206-07). and.

. And then the writhing and quivering of the bedy becasae less.His face was set. whilst the blood from her pierced heart welled and spurted up around it. . driving deeper and deeper the cercy-bearlng stake. and the face to quiver. the sight of it gave us courage. which is most apparent in the scene which follows: Arthur took the stake and the hazxser.. . Finally it lay still. with its excruciating attention xo detail. placed the point over the heart. (216) Senf notes that this scene. and high duty seemed xo shine through it. apparent not least in the very fact of Seward's voyeuristic description. . and as X looked I could see its dint In the white flesh. blood-curdling screech came from the opened red lips. group rape and carder of an unconscious woman"* ("Unseen Face" 1001. But Arthur never faltered. . It had indeed been an awful strain on hiea. resembles nothing so ssuch as the . . 122 comparison establishes the persistent connection between sexuality and violence. . Arthur is not the only one under . "despite Seward's elevated eaoral language!. and his breath case in broken gasps. and quivered and twisted in wild contortions: the sharp white teeth champed together till the lips were cut and the south was smeared with a crissson foam. The terrible task was over." is at odds with the icaagery of sexual pleasure. Great drops of sweat sprang out on his forehead. The morally justifiable destruction of the vaaspirc. . . He reeled and would have fallen had we not caught ham. The Thing in the coffin writhed. and the teeth ceased to chaszp.] . the "high duty. He looked like a figure of Thor as his untrcsbling arm rose and fell. and a hideous. The body shook. The hammer fell froa Arthur's hand. . Then he struck with all his might. and had he not been forced to his task by enorc than human considerations he could never have gone through with it.

123 tremendous strain here. I could have done it with savage delight" (211). the doctor is alcost certainly taking pleasure In the spectacle. such sexual violence being based on a dchussanzzing process. Seward"s response suggests there Is oore at stake here than coral justification. . but earlier. Lucy Is. Seward's response to the suggestion that they cut off Lucy's head icoediatoly after her first death establishes a binary opposition between necessary and gratuitous evils: "why eautilatc her poor body wi thout need? The dehumanizing of the varspire. he admits to feelings not in keeping with the ostensible morality of the hunters" cause: "had she then to be killed. perhaps. and if Arthur is not enjoying the act." The latter is Seward's terra. despite the rhetoric Van Helsing and his disciples consistently employ. coupled with a need to keep that pleasure firmly disguised as duty at all times. the whole scene barely contains a terrific tension between coral duty and pleasure in sexualized violence for its own sake." and "it" is an Important elessent of both sides of the duty/delight dichotomy. upon seeing Lucy In her va=plre state. after all. why Arthur Is so affected: he can barely keep the "high duty" in his face from becoming an expression of "savage delight. Not only does he present us with the graphic description. and therefore they are justified in destroying I t — but also emphasizes the sexuality of the violent act. Lake Van Helsing's hierarchy of duties.this thing sust be destroyed because it is not human. who In this scene is referred to only as ""the Thing. It obviously reinforces the morality -. reduced to fcer body and its component parts." m the body. This tension is.

124 And if there is no necessity . one "of degree and not of kind* (353). . as Waller notes. Any difference between the conduct of the heroes and that of the villains is. to us. To quote Senf regarding Lucy's death. in the Victorian age as now. and nothing. better expresses the paradoxical and potentially troubling relationship between offensive and defensive violence than the premeditated transfixion of a sleeping. However. Beth Kalikoff . and nothing xo gain by it — no good to her. and those of the vampires. their enemies comait what Waller calls "offensive violence" (342). xo science. "for the safety of one [they] love — for the good of mankind. to human knowledge — why do it? Without such it is monstrous" (165. such hypocrisy had its place in culture. while they act. and for the honour and glory of God" (321). completely passive (and for the moment) defenseless female vampire. . (342) For the protagonists. which is ironically equally sexual. emphasis added). characterized by Lucy in her seductive and child-devouring "bloofcr lady" persona. and more explicitly violent. "this kind of attack on a helpless victim is precisely the kind of behavior which condemns Dracula in the narrators* eyes" ("Unseen Face" 100). the vampires* violent sexuality. This is the fundamental distinction. Is truly monstrous. as Van Helsing claims. as Waller notes. as the hunters see it. between their own violent deeds. and can thus be used to justify their own suppression of it. However. the distinction is far more blurry.

His sentiments cause Mina to respond in "fear and horror" (309). Stoker's heroes* use of brutal but morally sanctioned violence explicitly indicates the instability of the distinction between good and evil. some characters seem more conscious of this than others: "1 care for nothing now . 125 notes the increasingly popular belief that "detectives must use illegal or criminal methods to fight crime" (135). except to wipe out this brute from the face of creation. . rough and brural measures to curtail rough and brutal crimes" (Kalikoff 136). according to Van Helsing. this declaration is remarkably ironic. I would sell my soul to do it!" exclaims Harker (303). Admittedly. and cites the fervent support of capital punishment in certain periodicals. If beyond it I could send his soul for ever and ever to burning hell I would do it!" (309). . Similarly. the belief that "violence . Harker's animosity towards the Count parallels that of Seward towards the undead Lucy. . Given that. and he anticipates Dracula's destruction with the same kind of savage delight: "May God give him into my hand just for long enough to destroy that earthly life of him which we are aiming at. must be met and answered by legal violence . the vampire has achieved Immortality through just such a pact (241). as she is aware that. . . although the violent destruction of the vampires is necessary. . as proof that "the difference between good people and criminals shrinks until it is minimal or arbitrary" (Kalikoff 169). it cannot .

given that they have only just brutally disposed of Lucy. . they "never come to the realization that their commitment to social values merely masks their violence and their sexuality. however. during the Victorian age. we become as him. it is ironic too. . . and the danger they face even in committing morally sanctioned atrocities: "if we fail here. In fact." a fact Senf takes as evidence of hypocrisy on their part ("Unseen Face" 100). Presumably Van Helsing is afraid of the hunters* being converted by Dracula if they fail. who was loved by at least three of them. to quote Altick: . Further. as the Victorian response to sensational newspaper articles Indicates. this process of moral disguise is a cultural phenomenon. Richard D. preying on the bodies and the souls of those we love best" (237). Altick notes that. but the statement has other implications: of course. we henceforward become foul things of the night like l«im — without heart or conscience. . "murder was above all a popular entertainment" (Victorian Studies in Scarlet 302) and that the typical response was "a delicious frisson rather than a shudder" (VSS 10). . and the professor also realizes the tenuous nature of the distinction between the hunters and their prey. Harker's response is hardly in keeping with Van Helsing's rational justification. Even as the hunters become more like those they would destroy. 126 acceptably be an overt source of pleasure.

and responses to. (VSS 299-300) This is presumably the characteristic response of the Victorian reading public to novels such as Dracula. sought to give the public what it wanted. the insistence on that respectability actually grew stronger in opposition to the violence " Although Boyle focuses on the rise of sensation in the 1860s. explains the contradictory psychology at work. Thomas Boyle. The moralizing hand did not want to know how the reportorial hand offended. . nor did it care. |B]oth. whose memorably titled study Black Swine in the Sewers of Hampstead discusses Victorian newspapers in relation to the sensation novel as a force opposing what is commonly thought of as the "Victorian cult of respectability" (37). 127 [i]f one seeks abundant illustration cf the hypocrisy which has so long been assumed to be among the unlovelier attributes of Victorianism. violence within the text itself. an initial brief surge of decent outrage and then a wholesome wallow in blood. . and again parallels the ambiguous nature of the acts oi. he can do no better than examine a file of a daily or weekly newspaper which saw no incongruity in describing the minutiae of the latest murder on one page and censuring the prurience of the press on another — a close relative of the technique of leading off a crime report with the usual deploring cliches and then getting down to the real business of the gory details. . the Victorian {public could enjoy graphic journalistic accounts without compromising its respectability. his analysis seems remarkably applicable to Dracula. which The Spectator compares to the works of sensation novelists such as Wilkie Collins and Sheridan Le Fanu (150-51)." By morally dissociating itself from sensational violence.

to condemn the violence committed by the obviously other. which. and does not only implicate the male protagonists. but its own violent image of buttoned-up respectability. but helps explain the text's own contradictions as well: Publicly respectable and authoritarian. such as the lower classes in reality. on the brink of madness. Such a thought process occurs throughout Dracula. under the guise of moral justification. one's own violent acts are masked. (Black Swine 34} It is necessary.* the age was at the same time obsessed with the unspeakable and unrestrained excitations of the human organism . . Boyle's description of this "divided consciousness" (196) not only describes the possible attitude of Dracula * s readers. [Sjociety in these accounts often appears to be teetering. the self can safely enjoy not only accounts of that violence. could still be enjoyed. In this way. like Dracula Itself. or indeed. while presenting to the outside world . 128 described in contemporary newspapers." but the very ease and indeed unconsciousness with which such mental contortions . as Senf suggests. Although Mina's description of Dracula's death is now. Dissociated from the violence of thr» other. and the vampire in Stoker. although overtly denounced. privately. then. . like the moral violence perpetuated by the heroes. like the offensive violence of the vampire. devoted to 'moderation. she makes one remark that demonstrates not only this "Victorian double-think.iere near as sensational — or as sexualized — as Seward's account of Lucy's demise.

suggesting his "vicarious en-foyment of what Dracula has done" (183).. 129 occur. but cannot. . Seward asks why. 'I the guxlt crxtxcs claim the hunters never expeixence. for the professor suggests his loss of control is the result of the strain his awareness of forbidden themes causes when he tells Seward "if you could have looked into my very heart then when I want to laugh . suspiciously) aware of issues of otherness. Van Helsing is surprisingly (indeed. Here. and erasing the humans* complicity- The difficulty of maintaining the necessary degree of detachment — whether thrcigh distancing oneself from criminal violence or justifying the violent means used to oppose it — is readily apparent in Van Helsing's destruction of the three vampire women at Castle Dracula. the morning after Dracula's attack on Mina. and will sleep late" (351). The famous "King Laugh" speech has much the same effect. disguised by the euphemism "what followed. Wood reads the remark as a Freudian slip (182). . To read Dr. Mina says that she Is tempted to feel pity for the vampire. despite occupying a position of authority within the text's dominant order. When he observes. However. . and what followed. but occasionally approaches . thus justifying further violence against him. Seward's account of poor Lucy*s death. maybe you would perhaps pity me the most of all" (176). and Van Helsing responds simply. because "this Thing is not human -." "Actually. it is also possible to read them as a simple willingness to speak the unspeakable. Mina projects the men's violence towards Lucy.not- even beast. although the smile with which Van Helsing speaks these tactless words supports Wood's argument." onto Dracula. His account not only shifts between the familiar poles of high duty and savage delight. "because I know" (176). that the vampire has "banqueted heavily. is enough to dry up the springs of pity in one's heart" (228).

in his own mind. and for his own violent sexual feelings. I should have fled in terror and left my . the plunging of writhing form." "butcher work. and the gladness that stole over it just ere the final dissolution came . and it persists throughout his account as he refers to the ritual staking and beheading variously as a "horrid task. morally suspect. re-emphasizing the sexual nature of the hunters* violence. Thus he overcomes his remorse. 130 His description of the first woman — "so full of life and voluptuous beauty that I shudder as though I have come to do murder" (369) — suggests with the words "as though" that he is surprised by his feelings. Van Helsing is able to use the women's appearance to blame his victims both for his guilt. because the act is. and is never." a "terrible task." and "butchery" (369-71). . I could not have endured the horrid screeching as the stake drove home. which he euphemistically calls "the very Instinct of man in me" (370). he does raise the question of murder. However. satisfies his desires." to be "dreaded. The connection of the women's voluptuous beauty with these feeixngs of remorse complicates the scene even further." a "deed of horror. . justifiable. after all. and lips of bloody foam. which abandons any questioning of his actions for the more standard model of overt duty and covert pleasure: had I not seen the repose in the first face. which he sees as an effect of vampiric "fascination" (369—70). The contradictory nature of Van Helsing's feelings is clearest in the following passage.

according to the heroes. albeit of the vampire. not. Thornburg writes: it allows [the victims and the reader] the same sort of sadistic pleasure the villain has probably enjoyed. rather than the offended person. even The Bookman's." thus demonstrating a suitable distance from the morally questionable source of pleasure. For of course it is God or the Universe or fate punishing the offender. Patterson Thornburg*s model of the sentimental/Gothic myth. and is implied in Arthur's kissing of the dead Lucy. (23) This last is Van Helsing's explicit response to his "butchery" of the vampire women. and may be taken as representative of the Victorian reader Boyle profiles. regarding the possibility of pity. 131 work undone." admits to reading "nearly the whole with rapt attention. of themselves (217). But it is over! And the poor souls. who claims that "a summary of the book would shock and disgust." but a tragic victim. and which is even more explicit in Mary K. which becomes acceptable because "human skill and courage pitted against inhuman wrong and super-human strength. who may now be forgiving and properly sympathetic. . Reviewers appreciate the novel's horrid moments. Contemporary reviews of Dracula demonstrate the same contradictory consciousness as Stoker's characters. (371) The last remark. is in keeping with the mechanism of moral distancing which Boyle describes. Regarding the just punishment of villains in the sentimental tradition. "not any more a foul Thing. while freeing them from moral culpability. I can pity them now and weep.

given that reader's own (conscious or unconscious) need for the same moral disguise. We did it ourselves. from a review in The Spectator. the happy domestic ending regains uppermost. thus. This last remark. strikingly shows that. characterized by the victory of its heroes. Readers are attracted to Dracula. admission of Dracula's appeal implies a certain anxiety regarding the tenuously safe appreciation of sensational violence within a moral framework: "this is a book to revel in. I believe. when he or she knows "that so dangerous and literally blood-thirsty a person ha[s] ceased to exist" (Saturday Review 21). but . at least. Other reviews similarly celebrate Dracula's ultimate morality. but because of the horror that morality disguises. the reader can issue a "sigh of relief" after Dracula's death. as it may not for the twentieth-century critic. Despite the horrors. 132 rise[] always to the top" (129). Because it is not the moral. and feel equally comforted when the undead Lucy is "released from [her] unpleasant position and restored to a peaceful post- mortem existence" (151). even if the nineteenth-century reader was aware of the problematic nature of the heroes' "justified" violence. to mention it explicitly would be Impossible. in the reviewers' minds. the Pall Mall Gazette's unusually frank. not because of its orthodox morality. but slightly defensive. and are not ashamed to say so" (11). However.

That the text is consciously more subversive than is usually believed is possible considering Van Helsing's brief misgivings about killing the vampire women. Nonetheless. "Unseen Face" 101). that remi. although he says nothing of widespread participation In such a retreat. ] Stoker . the double-consciousness became more difficult to maintain.ins with the reader. the knowledge that. In an essay which predates his full-length study. 133 the violent sensationalism. Boyle suggests that "by the 1860s . as well as the irony produced at the expense of those characters who do not share even the professor's short-lived awareness. . and. reveals that these characteristics are merely masked by social convention" (Senf. awareness of the retreat from orthodoxy had become general" ("Morbid Depression" 230). that Stoker consciously exposes "the contrast between the narrators' rigorous moral arguments and their all-too-pragmatic methods" ("Unseen Face" 96): while "the will of the majority enables them to conceal their violence and their sexual desires from each other and even from thetrselves [. the novel does. Certainly Senf believes this is the case. moreover. . . Whatever its conscious intent. during the later years of the nineteenth century. Dracula can be read as a critique of Victorian society and its own psychology of outward morality and unspoken pleasure in violence. adds to the evidence for a radical reading of Dracula. . through its ambiguous depiction of .

s the presentation of the other. as justifiable acts of defensive self-preservation" (Black Swine 37. Just as the heroes lsust violently destroy tne vaspire in order to preserve humanity. an interest which. "one can see the [age'sJ "hypocrisy* and 'prudery* . violent acts. in terms of taking pleasure in. then. . if not actually cceoalttlng. The violent repression of otherness in Dracula. so the Victorian reading public needed to distance itself from increasingly horrific current events. blur the distinctions between the self and the other. and the heroes' attitude towards that violence. . the brutality of seemingly justifiable violence overwhelms even the conservative effort to contain the other. and just as open to deconstruction. 134 violence. In scenes such as those which portray the destruction of the female vampires. it could be argued. as well as to erase its own Interest in those events. While the response to otherness within the text "reinforces social. because the phrase applies as much to the working of ambiguous violence within Dracula as it does to the response of the novel's potential readers. causing the reader to question the self Instead. saade the respectable Victorian as guilty as the criminal about which he or she delighted in reading. class. racial . In the light of the "gross reality" of violent crime in the Victorian age. This seems an appropriate note on which to conclude. Boyle suggests. Is just as ambivalent :. emphasis added).

to "acknowledge that [it] is. . . subversive in the very fact of their depiction. it "revolves. Its memorable scenes. 135 and sexual prejudices" (Jackson. While it is true that Dracula "concludes . . Dracula repeatedly blurs the distinction between self and other. "Unseen Face" 93). a specific form of social and cultural order" (Waller 336). ulticsately. not around the conquest of Evil by Good. Fantasy 121). in fact. but on the similarities between the two" (Senf. the text's own relation to otherness is not nearly so conservative. cause the reader to question that order. with a restoration of the "right order'" (Waller 335).

136 CHAPTER FOUR "My Form is a Filthy Type of Tour's": Otherness in Frankenstein Unlike the vampire. race. j "I have chosen this term not only because xt calls attention to Frankenstein's socially significant act of creating the other. whose Independent and mysterious existence is part of the fear he or she inspires. Like all figures of the other. discussion of the possibility that Frankenstein and the creature are literally one and the same. so that he and Victor are. jTfce interpretation upon which I am about to embark works. the other in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818) is literally a creation of the self. Unless otherwise specified. Admittedly. The fragmented-personality theory seems more Halted to a psychoanalytic approach with its focus on Frankenstein hissself. The reader witnesses the assembly and animation of Frankenstein's creature. For an interesting. Thornburg"s analysis requires a certain amount . the same person. or political difference. but because. class. an argument which can be just as easily explored by interpreting the creature as representative cf Frankenstein's repressed desires. in fact. 161). however. because it facilitates a reading of the creature as an other defined by gender. "Victor's Divided Personality: A Case Study." which Frankenstein hissself employs. all references are to this edition. be left Intact. Textual evidence for either argument notwithstanding." whose orxgxns are thus never in question. Citations where the creature is referred to in this Banner will.™ pages 81-92 in her The Monster in the Mirror: Gender and the Sentisaental/Gothic Myth In Frankenstein. as well as being a term the creature himself frequently uses (128. whether one considers the creature to be a separate entity or a projection of Frankenstein's psyche — that is. Patterson Thornburg. compared with the approach I plan to take here. and placed in the context of gender construction. while still possessing an existence outside his creator's own mind. as a manifestation of madness. I believe. it is less prejudicial than the equally common "monster. see Mary K. if slightly questionable. I tend toward the former.

He is the eldest son of a "distinguished" bourgeois family (63). His rescuer and audience. and destined to marry a woman who is more conventionally perfect. commenting on his "conciliating and gentle" manners.Walton's sighting the creature both before he meets Frankenstein and after Frankenstein's death — as follows: in the first instance. by period standards. than either of the two in Dracula (65). in this case. Even Thornburg admits that this reading. the mind of Victor Frankenstein. and "unparalleled eloquence" (60). establishes himself as the apparently normal self against which his monstrous other will be defined. Robert Walton. although "tenable. educated. from the first sentence of his tale. < . although he realizes that the man he meets is but a shadow of his former self (60-61>- Indeed. 137 the creature is the product of the dominant imagination. Thornburg explains the most obvious evidence for the creature's independent existence -. frequently confirms Frankenstein's status. it may also be evidence that Victor's death was really the termination of the conscious personality or its final submergence in that of the Monster" (90). who. the definition of Frankenstein's normality is never unquestionable. the possibility of an illicit rendcz-vous between Victor and Justine. in the second: "the cabin was darkened and <as TSalton covered his eyes to avoid having to look at the Monster. "cultivated" mind." and useful for explaining certain textual ambiguities. demonstrating neither Mina's New Womanly Independence. "Walton saw the Monster at a distance" C89). nor Lucy's sexual appetite. is "limited" (90). both at home (64) and later at the university at Ingolstadt (73ffI. which leads to her murder (86). and deteriorates drastically as he of Imagination regarding details not present in the text -- for example.

passive creature. even if the creature expresses that autonomy in so minor a way as opening his eyes. he disguises his dreams of power with the rhetoric of benevolent paternalism: "a new species would bless me as its creator and source" (82). However. and confronts the consequence of. having been so from the very moment he is brought into existence- Initially1. Frankenstein chooses his isolation. breathing. there can be no doubt that his creature is more obviously other to that society. and moving his limbs (85). like the creature"sr. political difference. who "longs for society and sympathy" (Claridge 2 3 ) . despite Frankenstein's increasing alienation from the dominant society which has created him in its own image. while the human community rejects the creature. and Frankenstein is no exception. race. The self is "driven to create by the wil exercise authority over his Other. anyway. the dominant society which Frankenstein represents that literally creates the other. by all of\ these. Although Frankenstein uses the creature's bldeousness as an excuse for his fear and revulsion." in the words of Burton Hatlen ("Patriarchy" 3 5 ) . whether its otherness is defined by gender. although. as I have mentioned. or. then. his creative experiment. class. 138 proceeds with. Frankenstein is startled by his creation's autonomy. In a process that is significant throughout the novel. because he is other- It is. Anticipating a dependent. the fact that he first offers a description of the creature only .

Victor remarks that he has "endowed [the creature] with the will and power to effect purposes of horror" (105). This kind of look explicitly turns Frankenstein. . 139 after its animation (85) indicates that. If the creature's "look" is particularly significant in an analysis of the relationship between the self and the other. previously absolutely defined as subject in his role of creator. after all. . . this reasoning provides a possible answer to the obvious question of why Victor. it is in terms of his eyes. rather than his appearance. implicitly connecting "will and power" as evidence of the creature's autonomy with his violent deeds. were fixed upon me" (87). Indeed. He himself tells Walton "I had gazed on him while unfinished. Feldman suggests. Victor . who has. thus confirming Feldman*s argument. had months to become accustomed to the grotesque appearance of his creature (83). as Paula R. into the object of the other's gaze. If eyes they may be called. . Certainly. he was ugly then. It became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived" (87). after the death of William. and in . should suddenly find its ugliness so disturbing. and notes that "his eyes. can no longer control it as he did when it lay lifeless on the table" (67). but when those muscles and joints were rendered capable of motion. "what is frightening is not how the Creature looks but that he looks . . The significance of the gaze is amplified in its recurrence when Victor later sees the creature at his bedside.

George E. During their first conversation. Victor's perceived loss of control corresponds with visions in which he is the object of the creature's gaze. as [he] first saw them in [his] chamber at Ingolstadt" (208). and demonstrating his own power. is significant as a symbol of control. 140 his later hallucinations regarding "the glimmer of two eyes that glare!] upon [him]. or make him other by looking at him (160- 62) . thus further reducing Frankenstein's control. . then. Haggerty notes that "Frankenstein feels that to grant the creature subjective presence would be to accept his own final isolation and despair" (60). The shifting balance of power within the novel confirms Frankenstein's belief that the De Lacey's blindness also relates to the connection between the other and the object of the gaze. he literally cannot see him as other. reasserting his control by destroying the creature's unfinished mate when. that is. once again. as well as the same relation between look-gaze and look—appearance present in the laboratory during the animation scene. he notices the creature at the window. the creature himself responds to Frankenstein's exclamation "relieve me from the sight of your detested form!" by covering his creator's eyes (129). "gaz[ing] on [him]" (193). because the old man cannot look upon the creature. sometimes "the watery clouded eyes of the monster. that his own subjectivity would be at risk if he were tj acknowledge that of the creature.'' Frankenstein reciprocates." sometimes Clerval's. The look.

a "thing". "Patriarchy" 42). Given this depletion of his energy. by denying the creature "an Other of his own" (Hatlen. then. although the absolute shift of power from Frankenstein to the creature occurs largely as a result of Frankenstein's complete refusal to recognize the creature as subject. and. This self-perpetuating cycle is most- apparent in the creature's demand for a mate. so that Frankenstein becomes his creature's creature. out of Victor's control. it is appropriate that Frankenstein refers to the creature as "my own vampire" (105): indeed it appears that the creature is . to the Monster" (Thornburg 115). is transferred. It is possible to see the creature's demand as a request for an other against which to define the self he does not yet have. As the creature gains power. asserting his own subjectivity by suppressirg Victor's. Frankenstein denies him the possibility of selfhood. the creature destroys his creator's family and friends. 141 subjectivity of the self and that of the other are mutuallj' exclusive. . the creature responds violently to his creator's rejection of him. to us2 the most obviously objectifying of his terms." or. Frankenstein sees the creature only as a "monster. . and in so doing gains control over him. as if "the emotional energy Victor has lost . and in the violent incidents which follow Frankenstein's ultimate refusal to create a female creature. consequently. Frankenstein grows weaker.

although for different reasons: both are eloquent and capable of rational argument. even in their vocabularies and habits such as the gnashing of teeth. more horrid from its very resemblance" (158). the creature confronts Frankenstein with the exclamation: "my form is a filthy type of your's. much as Ruthven drains Aubrey. calls attention to the most important difference between the two: their relationship is one of self and other. Frankenstein refers to the creature as "my own spirit let loose from the grave" (105. Both are ultimately isolated. and Dracula Harker. indicating as it does both the parallel between creature and creator. without the literal transfer of blood. so that any question of autonomous subjectivity becomes problematic. even more significantly. and. Despite the resemblance. between creature and creator. the creature is a negative image of Frankenstein. . often sudden. This statement. An intimate bond exists. and the imperfect nature of that parallel. This list of comparisons could go on indefinitely. both parallel and negative images of each other. each loses a prospective mate to the ether: both are eventually orphaned. changes in mood. emphasis added). It is appropriate that Walton speaks of Frankenstein's "double existence" (61) because he and hxs creature are indeed doubles. if only because both he and his creator believe this to be so. the two are alike. 142 draining him. then. but both experience radical.

the resemblance creates further anxiety. such as the De Lacey family. and I had selected his features as beautiful. The most obvious evidence of the creature's otherness is what makes him a "filthy type" of the human: his grotesque appearance. in the words of Anne McWhir. man is beautiful. that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets . to reject him. his hair was of a lustrous black. Although this is indeed the case. Walton describes him as "a being which had the shape of a man . the monster is not. and their response is. .Great- God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath. The creature reminds the humans who violently reject him of the close relationship between the other and the self. but these luxuriances only formed a horrid contrast with his watery eyes. and Frankenstein himself speaks of his decision to create "a being lxke [him*self" (82). which ostensibly causes humanity — even apparently benevolent humanity. and flowing: his teeth of a pearly whiteness. . 143 Still. in the familiar form of the possibility that the distinction between the other and the self is neither fixed nor easily defined. the monster ugly: man is good. the creature is never so far from the human as to be unrecognizable.Beautiful! . Frankenstein describes the creature as follows: His limbs were in proportion. Moretti notes that the creature is "described by negation: man is well proportioned. "a revulsion based on something sufficiently like one's self to be disturbing" (80). the monster evil" (70-71). " (57).

rather than a "natural" phenomenon. but assigns a hierarchy of values to them. if not for the emphasis on the process of creation. This pairing generally corresponds to the self/other dichotomy. As the other created in order to place the self in a dominant position. and the other with the lower . the self is associated with the higher or rational mind. as grounds for the condemnation of the other. the creature faces a characteristic dilemma: the features which his creator determines such as his immense size — a deliberate choice on Frankenstein's part (82). are reiterated throughout the novel. his shrivelled complexion. 144 in which they were set. An important example of such a binary Is the opposition between mind and body. and its effect on the humans around him. in which the former is valued over the latter. thus. a process which Frankenstein conveniently and unbelievably forgets when he immediately casts the creature as his "enemy" (90). and thus obviously a construction. Such a focus on the creature's appearance would suggest an essentialist view of othernesc as somehow natural or biological. Shelley's text. on the other hand. the creature's horrific appearance. The dominant society which Frankenstein represents not only creates binary oppositions. and part of what makes him hideous — that same creator defines as negative. (86) Although the description never recurs. recognizes that the creature is literally a collection of bits and pieces. and straight black lips.

by reason: and the working class is defined by manual labour rather than by mental activity. was the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. women are denied intellect and defined by either reproductive bodies or seductive ones: the racial other is associated with the animal. "She Appeared the Most Fragile Creature": Gender Construction and the Feminine Other Otherness as it relates to gender is perhaps the most commonly discussed element in criticism of Frankenstein. he is visibly different: as a class other. His body can also be read in a revolutionary context. Mary Wollstonecraft. among other things. The creature's obviously material body thus connects him to multiple types of otherness. the fear of that very sexuality — or maternality — which the male sell uses to define the female other. the novel's theme of creation is also obviously linked to an exploration of gender roles. a reminder of the materiality of production (Michie 9 6 ) . which is defined. as is the fact that her mother. for example. the 'body politic*" (Baldick 14). The author's own gender is obviously significant. Moving from the author to the text. Gender Issues in Frankenstein manifest . as "a variant of that venerable clichd of political discourse. again. for various reasons. a text which obviously influenced Shelley's novel. rather than the human. his hideous body represents. In the context of gender. So. 145 material body. As a racial other.

also lack a mother. so that the creature. who also comes to live with the Frankensteins. Frankenstein's mother. is never mentioned (64). the De Laceys. which "provides us with a series of family units in which every mother figure is absent" (Marder 68-69). significantly lacks the word for mother. including the position of the mother. like Walton's. but not his mother. whose absence he does not explain (50-51). had an influential mother. Dlckerson suggests that Frankenstein * s women are "present but absent. but she too has died. The creature's model family. whom the novel mentions only In the context of her marriage "to an Italian gentleman. morally animate angels. and Victor Frankenstein's avn unstable gender position. This is especially true of mothers in the text." and her death (65). which they do not use (140). Vanessa D. the possibility that the creature represents the woman other. but physically and politically inanimate mortals" (80). The Frankensteins adopt Elizabeth upon the death of her mother. Safie. leaving her . the presentation of the actual women in the text. 146 themselves in various ways. is also an orphan by virtue of the death of her father: her mother. Felix De Lacey's beloved. and his uncle. has a mother who "[can]not endure her" (93). much as Victor Frankenstein is "unable to endure" the sight of his creature (86). who learns to speak by observing them. Walton mentions his late father. Caroline. Justine Moritz.

While the dream in which the living Elizabeth transforms into the dead and decaying Caroline (86) may. in fact. of such a desire. all these absent mothers call attention to themselves. Victor's creative act is monstrous. Critics have speculated that Frankenstein's act of creation is an attempt to resurrect his dead mother. "The time at length arrives. rather than the dream-Elizabeth becoming Caroline in response to Victor's desire. if not monstrosity. Despite his obvious attachment to Caroline. whether he is motivated by grief (Brennan 36) or by an Oedipal desire (Sherwin 885). excludes the woman. who are at least born of women. and may also demonstrate Frankenstein's fatal effect on mothers and potential mothers. because it. it also shows the ultimate sterility. who in reality "dctermlne[s] to take over [Caroline's] duties" (73). Brennan. the creature literally has no mother. unlike the other characters. That is. Because the pattern of the motherless family is so consistent and so insistent. for example. signify that Frankenstein desires his mother. Victor is not as permanently affected by her death as Matthew C. too. she. dies in response to the negative aspect of Victor's ambivalence toward maternality. in part. would have une think. when grief is rather an . 147 daughter under the control of a tyrannical father (151). Victor's own mother dies just before he leaves for Ingolstadt to embark upon his monstrous act of creation (72).

which. . "I had often. and further. and had longed to enter the world. Caroline's death also completely severs Frankenstein's ties with the home. he says. philosophically. doubtless meaning other men. begins an experiment which also enacts his negative feelings towards maternality by excluding the mother even from reproduction. although it may be deemed a sacrilege. . one sphere where women have traditionally had some power. and take my station among other human beings. Frankenstein severs his connections with feminine domesticity. . but we still had duties which we ought to perform . Here too. My mother was dead. allowing him to enter the masculine sphere of the university. thought It hard to remain during my >outh cooped up In one place. remarkably secluded and domestic" life. for the university community is entirely masculine. . as compared to his "hitherto . if only as the mothers of male heirs (Bewell 1151. 148 indulgence than a necessity. his father has determined he should attend (72).. Frankenstein demonstrates his ambivalence. and is directly opposed to the feminine sphere that is the Frankenstein home. Consequently.*" he muses (74). when at home. His initial "invincible repugnance* for this environment. Is not banished. proves conquerable after all. " (73). significantly. and the smile that plays upon the lips. . for which Alphonse Frankenstein has "relinquished many of his public duties" (64).

having inherited the mother's values. the daughter is doomed." shortly before she is murdered by the cresture (214). maternal concern -.* a 3 Ironically. self-sacrificing devotion to others" (Ellis 131). she tells Victor "I would sacrifice my life for your peace" (122).proves deadly. but when she heard that her favourite was recovering. 149 Frankenstein's ambivalence towards the mother is frequently explained in terms of Shelley's biography. because she cannot keep herself from playing a maternal role: "many arguments had been urged to persuade my mother to refrain from attending upon [Elizabeth1 . but unnecessary. Frankenstein himself claims he "would die to make her happy.Elizabeth has "quickly recovered" after all (72) -. She almost immediately takes over Caroline's role. she could no longer debar herself from her society. The self-sacrificing Caroline dies nursing Elizabeth when her adopted daughter catches scarlet fever. a Prince Charming. and entered 5ber chamber long before the danger of infection was past" 1721. Certainly the maternal legacy appears lo be one of death. and. Later. . . "entirely forgetful of herself" (73). a mother who dies young. and a view of the female role as one of constant. as well as the dcatSa of her infant daughter the year before she began writing xhe novel SMocrs 95-96). specifically regarding the death of her own mother in childbirth. Caroline also Imparts to Elizabeth "everything she had: a bourgeois father. . This compulsive.

" Caroline's influence works indirectly as well. Of the portrait. that leads to the death of Justine. under which hangs another miniature. rather than as . Her death merely gives that paradigm permanent inscription" (Goodwin 101). or because of. like the larger portrait commissioned by Alphonse Frankenstein. as products of male-dominated society. as if the painting which places the woman forever on her knees were not permanent enough. lake the portraits. but. this one of the dead William. Elizabeth does die for. The portrait depicts "Caroline Beaufort in an agony of despair. It is the miniature which Elizabeth gives to William. and which the creature takes from him. Paul Youngqulst writes: "motherhood creates a lineage of death that art recreates by idealizing" (3555. kneeling by the coffin of her dead father" (106). However. Despite Mary Shelley's own disastrous experiences of motherhood. -rhich "celebrates both her martyred suffering and her husband's triumph. even her portrait is a legacy of death. Elizabeth's death in no way contributes to her husband's "peace. Is merely a representation of the woman as men would see her. Victor. just as Caroline died for no reason. as though her pain were the continuing guarantee of his power. who is another "coplyj of the dead mother" (Favret 6 0 ) . the miniature. 150 statement which comes partially true. stany of the negative and fatal aspects of maternality In Frankenstcin say be seen.

and to hold political office. . respectively. with male-oriented science. motherhood is the most obvious evidence of women being defined and confined by their own bodies. If nothing else. is social as well as personal." a nurturing construction of the feminine. "she" has ceased to be "Dame Kind. The ways In which the novel's male characters view women. in the eyes of men such as Frankenstein and his mentor. opposed to a traditionally feminine nature ("Feminist Critique" 2 8 7 ) . as much as the idea of an inevitable maternal legacy of death. which usurps the female prerogative. M. 151 biologically inherent evils. then. while nature's gender remains consistent. which In turn are controlled by men. which leaves their male counterparts free to attend universities. Certainly Frankenstein's project is an entirely masculine one. Mother Earth. Mcllor notes that. Women like Caroline Frankenstein devote themselves to caring for children. and the families in Frankenstein are devoted to the rigid separation of the public and private spheres corresponding to masculine and feminine gender roles. and has become instead "the passive female whose sole function Is to satisfy male desires" ("FC" 307). Frankenstein's critique of motherhood. as Anne K. to travel. Waldman. Finally. even unto death. determine the negative fates of Frankenstein * s women. The attitude of Frankenstein's men towards women is most obvious in Victor's creative set. the position of mother precludes political power. Mellor notes.

one Walton's voyage of discovery re-enacts. who prefers pastoral scenes. and shew how she works in her hiding places" (76). nature often serves the Isolated Frankenstein as a restorative. and submitting nature to an exclusively male view of creation. Walton too seeks the glory that comes of inscribing masculine power on virginal. like those met along the Rhine. it is the creature who best relates to nature. although this docs not last long. he wants to "tread a land never Imprinted by the foot of man" (50). unattainable. although it is true that "Frankenstein's desire to penetrate and usurp the female [Is] monstrous. and finally self destructive" (Mellor. Mellor suggests that female nature revenges herself upon Frankenstein ("FC" 309). 152 M. eliminating the mother. feminine nature. nurturing force. nurses him back to health. Certainly Clerval. "penetrate Into the recesses of nature. which may account for his resemblance to the woman other. however. who. is happier in nature because he does not try xo conquer It. but loves It . which. to the "majestic and strange" mountains of Switzerland (183). The trip to Geneva via Lausanne has such a restorative effect (102). he claims. Waldman's pupil takes his words to heart. Waldman reveals this most strongly with the sexual imagery in his lecture on modern scientists. "FC" 309). Of the principal male characters. like the women in his life (and the feminized Henry Clerval).

and the waves dash[ed] with fury the base of the mountain. as opposed to the powerful. places.* ihcse scenes present a feminine image. the mother contributed little to the position of her child. despite the potential threat it poses. who tends to appear in awe-inspiring. then: it reveals much about his views of women. 153 instead (183). a feminine. which are significantly lacking in the experience of Frankenstein's creature. Little. where the priest and his mistress were overwhelmed by an avalanche" (182). and is Itself serene and passive. that is. and by the moon (131). who is better equipped than any of the humans to survive in an all-natural world (Kranzler 44). and its relation to the creature. Regarding the position of mothers. . inspires "tranquillity" even in Frankenstein (182). for example. Clerval's static description of the "charm in the banks of this divine river" (183). Alan Bewcll also discusses the "scientific and medical takeover of the sphere of human reproduction" by the early nineteenth century (124). From a political standpoint. To return to Victor's act of reproductive appropriation. so that Victor's exclusion of the mother from his . sublime nature Frankenstein favours. dynamic isiage of "the la!<e agitated by a tempest. It is worth noting that Victor's motherless creation merely makes literal the form of legal reproduction at the time of writing: descent through the male line. He Is charmed by blrdsong (132). often mountainous. when the wind tore up whirlwinds of water . . but also about the female other's social position. nature embraces the creature. especially in the text's emphasis on the vintage. natural image which denotes power. which "afford[s] [him] the greatest consolation that [he is| capable of receiving" (124). productive rather than destructive. Clerval's nature. not passivity. Similarly. but care and nurturing. contrasts with the more menacing.

as does the view that "Mary Shelley's experience of pregnancy and loss was not simply a biological matter. Victor's uncle gives Elizabeth to Alphonse Frankenstein upon the death of her mother. or as possessions. . however: his entire family perpetuates it. Reflect upon this proposition: and decide whether you would prefer educating your niece yourself to her experiment gains yet another social significance. Her mother's fortune is secured to her. in his childhood. carefully Inserted Into a speech which otherwise focuses on family obligations: It is my wish . for example. Frankenstein is not alone in this conception of women. thus constructing these women as surely as Victor Frankenstein assembles his creature's component parts. . and includes a monetary incentive. and women are passed from man to man like property. male-dominated societj' defines how women should look and behave. Frankensteln does not see his future bride as a person. . that you should consider her as your own daughter. . 154 The position of the woman other is also the result of an act of creation. Frankenstein views women either as pets to be cared for. . but only as an object which exists only in relation to himself- That he thinks the same way as an adult is evident. on a favourite animal" (66) belies the immediately preceding claim that he "admirejs] her understanding and fancy" (65). but also a social and discursive event" (Beweil 106). The fact that. and educate her thus. in his statement: "in my Elizabeth I possessed such a treasure" (214). the documents of which I will commit to your keeping. he "love[s] to tend on [Elizabeth] as .

9 Female roles are Indistinguishable — Caroline. iar from protecting her. goes from being her father's wife to being her husband's daughter -. Agatha and Safic are all defined in relation to the men around them. in which she is no longer Victor's long as they involve a certain relationship with men. emphasis added)* When Caroline. looked upon Elizabeth as mine -. mothers. who comes to Caroline "like a protecting spirit" (64) after her father's death. They are primarily caregivers. . who has similarly been passed between men -- from her father to his best friend Alphonse Frankenstein (64) — dies. wives. because Victor proves as ineffectual a protector as his father." he also sees her as a possession. actually puts her at greater risk. but the orphaned daughter of "a Milanese nobleman" (35). rather than a pet. and because he falls to tell his bride about the creature. whether as daughters. (65. and their perfection consists in their self- sacrifice. 155 being brought up by a stepmother.mine to protect and cherish. . . I received as made to a possession of ray own" (36). in essence. In this edition: "I . parallels the situation in Dracula. and in their apparent passivity. Elizabeth takes over her role and is doomed. sisters or nurse?. Both of these Elizabeth's status as gift is even more explicit in the 1831 edition. Elizabeth. brought home by Caroline Frankenstein and presented to her son as "her promised gift" (35). All praises bestowed on her. where the men's exclusion of Mina. Caroline. because he is preoccupied with the creature and the threat he believes it poses to him. but can do nothing against the fever that kills her. Because Caroline introduces Elizabeth to Victor as "a pretty present. 9Victor's inability to act as self-appointed protector for his beloved.

(65) Elizabeth. No one could better enjoy liberty. or. for example. with her "light and airy" figure. Finally. The fact that "her person" reflects her mind is highly significant. even in childhood: She was docile and good tempered. the "aerial creations of the poets" (66). beneficent. is almost literally angelic. passive. though capable of enduring great fatigue. her mind is occupied with the fanciful. Her person was the image of her mind. Elizabeth . becomes immediately upon the death of Caroline (Davis 317). her figure was light and airy. Although she was lively and animated. only to find that "she d[oes] not interest herself in the subject" (69). while she is animated enough to be attractive. . her lively spirit is — unlike Victor's own — always balanced by a willingness to be controlled. establishing her as the ideal. and her disposition uncommonly affectionate. Both are equally insubstantial. possessed an attractive softness. 156 traits perpetuate themselves as each generation adopts and trains another "to be the sweet. although as lively as a bird's. yet gay and playful as a summer insect. because it suggests that her body and her Intellect are closely related. yet no one could submit with more grace than she did to constraint and caprice. she appeared the most fragile creature in the world. her hazel eyes. Victor describes Elizabeth at length. her feelings were strong and deep. a^elic woman. rather than the practical scientific studies with which Victor occupies himself. and which he shares with her. . at least. . and. and. self- sacrificing helpmeet" that Elizabeth.

this letter does express concern for her own position. if she is too much a sister to him to make a wife. In this letter she confesses her love for him. is prepared to sacrifice her happiness for his own (213). Nonetheless. The second letter demonstrates more anxiety. followed by Elizabeth's declaration that she has "written [her]self into good spirits" (95). presumably by a man. it establishes that while men have free choice. she not only cares for her father. or. asking Victor if he loves another. "a remarkably Independent act for a young woman of her time" (Thornburg 6 8 ) . for. once again. Davis notes. The first of these letters includes a section of local gossip. but also points out the futility of their actions. but sews and plaits straw in order to support him financially (64). as Victor puts it "her courage rose to support her in her adversity". but. manipulates him into a marriage which he may or may not desire (68). 157 presents an appearance of fragility. all of which pertains to marriage. women are constrained by economic circumstances. according to Thornburg*s reading of her letters to Victor. the impression that she needs to be protected. Justine Moritz leaves her unloving mother. Thornburg itemizes the ways in which these ideal women demonstrate their strength without losing their exemplary status. . In fact. as James P. Caroline is "far more resilient than her own father" (Thornburg 6 8 ) . the Frankenstein women are not as fragile as they seem. Elizabeth.

or rather outside the text. what must be our feelings?" (181). She exists. Walton's sister and the ultimate reader of all these accounts. "we all . and if you are miserable. as she tells him. only through Walton. exist without her as its recipient (Spivak 259). one must consider the position of Margaret Saville. she weeps when he departs with Clerval. . to women. Joyce Zonana . of course. but Shelley makes it clear that. Despite her care for Victor. which could not. who exists beyond the text. after all. More significant than her role as Walton's sister. 158 obligations. marriage represents a desperate last hope for security. who gives her little in return. . and guilt.(318) Elizabeth's own precarious position may explain why she. like the novel's other women. Nevertheless. depend upon you. she demonstrates her own strength by caring for her brother (68): like Elizabeth. ne/er makes explicit the nature or extent of masculine dependence on her. one that eventually wears away at their energy and strength. she "serves a high tribunal" (Dickerson 83). however.Victor might feel that marriage would shrink the scope of his pursuits. whose letters she never answers. about which she has (not entirely unfounded) "evil forebodings" (49).Gayatri Chakaravorty Spivak defines Margaret as "the feminine subject" (259). Finally. As Thornburg notes. and has a certain amount of power as keeper of the text (Dickerson 84). because. she is left at home to worry while her brother embarks on a dangerous quest. is Margaret's role in the text.

rather than actors or agents (Dickerson 83). and "utterly Ignorant of the customs of the world" (154) -. Nor can Margaret be contained (Spivak 259). unlike those of the other women in the text. Safie's mother teaches her daughter "to aspire to higher powers of intellect" (151). The most empowered of the women in Frankenstc in is Safie. . Smith claims. whom. "unacquainted with the language of the country" in which she finds herself. Johanna M. and thus Inspires her to escape from her tyrannical father. then. that the reader. whose voice is. however. Safie appears to have escaped the maternal legacy of passivity and death which plagues the other female characters. culturally masculine appropriation . In her Vindication of . Margaret functions. Certainly. along with the narrators. Before she dies. we may place "against this dreary record of dead women" (283). to travel a great distance — attended only by another woman. in that she exists outside the text proper. is engaged in" (181).and to join the man she loves by choice. never mediated by men. . much as the reader does: in establishing the position of woman reader. her remarks arc even more applicable to Margaret. "both her maternal Inspiration and her active adventurousness contrast with Caroline's influence on her passive 'daughters* Elizabeth and Justine" (Smith 283). she defines woaien as readers. 159 believes that Safie's physically present but textually absent letters "resist[] the voyeuristic. because it is never heard.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in his association with Safie. takes the part of the absent Eve (235). Safie escapes a more general patriarchal system. who explores Safie's position in the context of Wollstonecraft's orientalist metaphor. allowed only to occupy herself with puerile amusements . . the position of the female other. Rakes the creature socially. Not only his connection to feminine nature. 160 the Rights of Woman. that is. feminine. which suggests. the possibility that the woman will escape her marginalized position. Sandra M. but ultimately defeats. rather than their minds. According to Zonana. the basis of this misogyny is "the refusal to grant women full membership as rational beings in the human race" (173). which overwhelms his "Ideas and emotions" (Tillotson 172). in Shelley's revised myth of creation. . if not biologically. one which similarly infantilizes its women and defines them in relation to their bodies. " (151*. . By fleeing her father and the fate of "being immured within the walls of a harem. Wollstonecraf*: uses the image of the harem to "represent the philosophical foundation for the misogyny and the gendered assignment of power that she sees operating in the West as much as if not more so than in the East" (Zonana 173). Gilbert and Susan Gubar observe that Frankenstein's creature. but the inescapable fact of his bodily existence.

161 The similarity between the creature and the othercd woman is cost obvious in their respecti\"e relations to language. both women rely on the personal Issue of "character" (149) as opposed to the evidence against Justine. relating as It does to caring for the father. Justine and Elizabeth. and thus more feminine. but Victor does not trust his use of language. Before he learns to speak. . for example. public sphere. in the form of Elizabeth's affection for Justine (112). running from the oppressive mother to the nurturing one. Consequently. the creature Is more helpless. Hear him not" (233). exists only within the domestic sphere. The creature is eloquent. respectively. the creature has no chance to defend himself from the assumptions of his creator. Justine cannot defend herself In court. if the look is a means of asserting subjectivity and the power that accospanics it. but also less threatening to Frankenstein. confined as they are to a domestic setting. . largely because they lack the language to do so. . Similarly. to speak in their own defense before they are condemned" (129). Feminine feeling. by human laws . . public sphere. . As Beth Newman notes. he recalls the trial when he reminds Victor that "the guilty arc allowed. Women. albeit circumstantial. and securing a marriage. opposes the empirical. evidence that is a feature of the masculine. The strength of character Thornburg finds in Caroline. and warns Walton to act accordingly: "trust him not. Ironically. and Elizabeth cannot help her. of course. . cannot function in the masculine.

Indeed.11 Together they learn French. this is not as liberating as it might seem. The process by which the creature learns language makes his relation to Safie most explicit. and converselsj in broken accents" (146). because it gives the creature the power to define himself. for his education occurs simultaneously with hers. 162 the voice serves this purpose even core obviousl>». Annette Kolodny makes an observation which applies equally to Safie and to the creature: "[t]hough rasters need not learn the language of their slaves. he recognizes that Safie speaks 11The creature's superior linguistic proficiency may result from the fact that he is biologically male and in that context allowed more ready access to language. Ellssa Marder makes the interesting observation that the creature learns "about translation — about the foreignness of language — before he acquires a "mother tongue'" (72-73). On a more realistic level. it may simply be that Safie is replacing one tongue with another — significant in terms of her position as foreigner — while the creature is learning a first language. however. although he proudly notices that his is the faster (146). of course. while the woman "understlands] very little. ." Similarly. Certainly Felix makes no attempt to learn the language of "his Arabian. oppressed or subdominant groups always study the nuances of meaning and gesture in those who control them" (1136). the creature has no language of his own — Frankenstein makes no attempt to interpret his initial "inarticulate sounds" (87) — but quickly realizes the Importance of learning the De Laccys*. the reverse is never the case: for survival's sake.

the idea that the fact of women's physical difference can be overcome if men acknowledge their rational capabilities. he can no more disguise his bodily otherness than can a woman." prior to determining to join her in learning that of the De Laceys (145). a deformity like the monster's Inhuman body" (244). that is. Youngqulst contends that Shelley's "emphasis on the body" (341) resists Wollstonecraft's "commitment to the universality of reason" (340). he also realizes the necessity of learning what he refers to as *a godlike science31 (140). In keeping with Xolodny's observation. the monster learns first that language is foreign. any woman's — "femininity seems merely a defective masculinity. the dozzinant language — "their language" (141. He hopes that the use of language "might enable [him] to make [the De Laceys] overlook the deformity of [his] figure" (141). that is. and how this ideology. 163 "a language of her oa-n. Wollstonecraft addresses the ideal of beauty which men create and which women are expected to achieve. Bereft of a mother as well as a mother tongue. emphasis added). Unfortunately. that it expresses primally that which cannot be said" (Marder 73). Thus. Gilbert and Gubar claim that Eve's and by extension. to . the creature's appearance aligns him with the aroaan other in a marginalized position he cannot escape. for the creature "language is. foreign language. however. originally.

but equally oppressive response that greets the creature's superior strength as opposed to the woman's weakness: "both the monster and woman within patriarchy crucially differ from man in point of strength. only seeks to adorn its prison" (Vindication 132). largely because of the ugliness which his biological masculinity cannot overcome. He also observes the different. "if such qualities were social constructs. "allows women to endure. parallel the female body as the source of otherness: that one is hideous and one is beautiful is less significant. should be able to overcome them" (342). The hideous creature is feared. Youngqulst's insistence on a rigid parallelism is reductive. as is the fact that the process of othering differs. however: the creature is profoundly othered. and roaming round its gilt cage. the monster's difference . Youngqulst argues that the creature's ugliness "confounds Wollstonecraft*s critique of enculturated beauty. 164 quote Youngqulst. but both are equally oppressed. and thus the unequal education that facilitates her subordination" (151). His monstrous body does. as a male In a male dominated social order. while the beautiful woman is not taken seriously. Wollstonecraft"s statement regarding feminine beauty recalls Frankenstein"s connection of Elizabeth's mind with her body: "taught from their infancy that beauty is a woman's sceptre." because. Indeed. the mind shapes itself to the body. and even encourage their oppression by men" (342). p "Alan Richardson compares the creature to the woman in terms of physical strength. the lack of which was traditionally used to justify "woman's subordinate position in society. the monster.

165 Like Milton's Eve. . because she "Is careful to situate the monster's revulsion prior to his acquisition of language. I was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification" (142). Eve's beauty is intended for Adam's pleasure. however. and Frankenstein's creature's similar experience connects him to the original woman other by "demonstrating the moral equivalence of being judged ugly or beautiful and commenting on the power of the gaze as an objcctificaiion of the body. differs drastically from her "vain desire" for her own image (Paradise Lost IV. 466): "when I became fully convinced that 1 was in reality the monster that I am. Because he Is regarded as pure flesh. which he accepts as normative. however. . . the monster's greater strength entails . as being produced wholly. the monster's fate is comparable to that of women in patriarchal society" (Zonana 176). the creature's reasoning here works by contrast. since the monster is potentially dangerous and must be contained" (155). he has "admired the perfect forms" of the De Laceys (142). However. . . his subordination no less than the woman's relative weakness . His response. . Youngqulst uses this scene as evidence that Shelley's approach to the monstrous body Is more essentializing than Wollstonccraft's. Rather than demonstrating the impossibility of transcending bodily imperatives. by male intervention. diminishing the possibility that xt originates in purely cultural assumptions" (343). . the creature views his reflection in a pool. ironically. . woman's largely.

Shelley reveals the facts of oppression. Although she demonstrates a much greater degree of independence than any of the novel's other women. . she "is educated by her lover" which "keeps her in a subordinate situation" (Richardson 153). she does so for the purposes of marriage. emphasizing "protest against tyranny . it seems that Shelley is simply aware of the difficulty of overcoming social constraints. As Hatlen notes. she "ends by subordinating. rather than suggesting alternatives. The Frankenstein family is a model of such gender-specific .rather than . her language for that of her lover and her new family" (Dickerson 90). In the Vindication. Mary Wollstonecraft observes that. She has also lost her unique voice. the hope of liberation" ("Patriarchy" 43). is once again limited to the same domestic role as the other female characters. while "a little learning Is required to support the character of a gentleman.. Felix uses Volney's Ruins of Empires primarily to teach Safie his own language. "having no serious scientific study. if they have natural sagacity it is turned too soon on life and manners" (105). Additionally. 166 Youngqulst argues. and boys are obliged to submit to a few years of discipline. . If not rejecting.. Even Safie cannot completely escape the cultural significance of her feminine body. and. upon reaching the De Laceys." in the case of women. Although Safie's education Is radical in its content.

Although Safie's education seems more rational than Elizabeth's — she is at least learning about politics. Frankenstein's discovery of Cornelius Agrippa takes place outside any systematic programme of instruction (333). the male characters. Safie depends upon Felix's masculine knowledge for her own education. 167 education. and Felix's instruction of Safie. Victor embarks for Ingolstadt while Elizabeth remains in Geneva to attend to more practical domestic matters. the categorization of pedagogy based on gender is not entirely rigid. Alan Richardson observes that "the line between pedagogy and tyranny is an uncomfortably fine and unstable one. colncidentally discovers the texts that influence him in the wood. who is already doubly othered by reason of her race and Admittedly. The creature. When Victor and Henry leave for England. any process of education Is necessarily hierarchical. particularly given the agenda for perpetuating male domination built Into most of the period's programs for female education" (148)." and thus "in reality more illiterate than many school-boys of fifteen" (Frankenstein 53) reflects the experience of a woman of the period (Richardson 149). of course. occasionally suffer from the "desultory" education that Wollstonecraft condemns (104). As Lee E. too. and reads them independently and uncritically (Frankenstein 155). . Elizabeth "only regrets that she ha[s] not the same opportunities of enlarging her experience and cultivating her understanding" (180-81). traditionally a masculine discipline — the pedagogical process is in itself oppressive. Just as Alphonsc Frankenstein "direct[s] [his children's] studies. and Richardson notes that Walton's claim to being "self-educated." while Caroline "partlakes] of [their] enjoyments" (71). Heller observes.

. thus further subjugates her. to xfrf creature. they should be allowed to read. (157) U Richardson's point is also relevant. on his observations of the domestic bliss of the De Laceys: Wollstonccraft also cites learning "by sheer observations on real life" as a characteristic of women's inadequate education (Vindication 104-05). the creature's "sorrow only Increase[s] with knowledge" because he knows he cannot "becom[e] one among [his] fellows" (148). absorbing the "belief that he needs society" (McWhir 76). before all else." and notes that "to teach him to read Is either to destroy him by making him aware of his alienation. He too learns dependence from the De Laceys. the nascent proletariat . . all. . and the public concern with what. but. are. colonized peoples. prior to their discovery. He comes to this conclusion based not only on the texts he reads. like children in the period . is also pertinent here. within the frankly hegemonic social discourses of Shelley's time. 168 gender. McWhir reads the formerly self-suffxcient creature as Rousseau's "natural man. infantilized. a child" (Richardson 157). of course. who receives his education simultaneously with Safie. . exactly.had become increasingly subject to programs of schooling or 'civilization* designed to discipline them for an increasingly regulated and normatized world. and "represents. Heller's article on the cultural anxiety surrounding the rise of these groups to literacy. Further. The connection between education and otherness becomes clear in Richardson's conclusion that othered groups such as women. .

a . the female creature is perhaps the most significant revelation of the attitudes the novel's men hold regarding its women. and he does help Safie's father escape. The latter is never possible for the creature. because. The creature's request is merely an ertenslon of the "traffic in women" (Smith 283) which begins with Beaufort's fcequesJt of Caroline to Alphonse Frankenstein. he still "look[s] forward to the probability of that event'' (151). valuing a society which will never accept him. a subject whose rights can be asserted" (78). who is left "dependent and horrific" (McWhir 8 0 ) . 169 or to undertake to accept him as a member of civil society. Even the more liberated Safie is conrsodif led in this way. It is for this reason that he asks Frankenstein to "create a female for [him]. He tells Frankenstein: "1 am alone and miserable: man will not associate with sic: but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny htrself to me" (171). providing another Instance where "a woman Is offered to a man as a reward without her being consulted: and once again. although Felix is "too delicate" to accept her father's offer of marriage to her in return for Felix's aid. and is perpetuated in the presentation of Elizabeth to the Frankenstein family. The request for. with whom [hej can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for [his] being" (171). and aborted creation of.

"a projection o_* Victor's hostility towards. . The creature's attitudes towards women are as dangerous as Frankenstein's. and as a negation of Victor's 'feminine* self" (43). immediately after her death. indeed. William Veeder interprets the dream even more bluntly: "Victor . Veeder's statement is true. and rejection of." so that "the monster's violence can be seen as both an exterior realization of Victor's repressed 'masculine* aggressivity. Indirectly. are often read as the projection of Victor's most sinister fantasies regarding the violent control of women. and. he "rushe[s] towards her. Frankenstein finds dead women more attractive than live ones. Absolute feminine passivity — and lack of desire — can only be found in death. Elizabeth's death on their wedding night shows that. who may represent. Frankenstein creates the creature. with which Frankenstein has always associated feminine sexuality. Recalling the dream in which Elizabeth literally becomes a corpse. Rieder suggests thet the creature "becomes the agent of Frankenstein's own negative fantasy" (28). the female sphere. most . While he has shown no particular passion towards Elizabeth up to this point. 170 genuinely caring man falls into behaviour that discounts the will of a woman" (Davis 3 2 0 ) . and embracefs] her with ardour" (220). as Laura Kranzler believes. . like the men in Dracula. kills women" ("Negative Oedipus" 179). whom the creature violates much as his creator does female nature.

171 notably in his "obscenely sexual" (Gilbert/Gubar 232) workshop.. Of course.* actually a failed attempt to avoid the consummation of his incestuous relationship with Elizabeth (128). and how his use of "what must be the 19th-century version of cloning" . Idealized dead vomen are both beautiful and no'n-threatening. in the various portraits of Caroline. very dreadful" Because she Is Syoth unmarried and not related to Felix. the fear of sexua'-ty remains. . they die free of sexual taint.. as Frankenstein assembles his creature out of materials garnered from "the dissecting room and thw slaughterhouse" (83). and decay. as it is in the case of Elizabeth. who believes that she differs from Elizabeth in that "her angelic ability to diffuse happiness is reconstituted by sexual oassion" (88) as there fs no evidence of such passion In the text itself. feminine death can also be idealized. then. Safie offers ax least the potential for sexual desire. even the novel's living women are strikingly sexless: "Caroline Beaufort is a devoted daughter and chaste wife while Elizabeth Lavenza's relationship with Victor is that of a sister" (Mellor. although I do not completely agree with Dickerson. "Possessing Nature" 2 2 5 ) . or indeed. where he undertakes his solitary act of "filthy creation" (83). and Frankenstein describes his impending wedding night as "dreadful. even through "Frankensteinian" adoption. Nonetheless. particularly if. however. whose marriage is never consummated. Despite the obvious connections between creation. or motherhood. like Elizabeth. Anca Vlasooolos discusses the possibility that Victor's fear of sexuality is actually a fear of the Frankenstein family tradition of incest as a tool for class selection.

and may thus lead to violence such as his penetration of nature. While Frankenstein demonstrates hostility towards women whose sexuality threatens him. or the destruction of the female creature. Brennan reads his decision to . "PN" 224-35). Being more overtly masculine than his creator. "PN" 224). and hostility. Frankenstein's own graphic description of "the remains of the half-finished creature [which] lay scattered on the floor" (196-97). 172 (219). much as Van Helsing briefly entertains misgivings about killing the three Transylvanlan vampiresses. but his desire turns to violence as he realizes that rejection is inevitable. a desire to control and even destroy female sexuality" (Mellor. his creature resents the women who do not return his desire. Here. lust. is worthy of John Seward. a statement which both refers to the creature's literal threat. and he admits to "almost feelfing] as if [he] ha[s] mangled the living flesh of a human being" (196-97). can also be read In terms of rape and murder (Mellor. as with the dead Elizabeth. Frankenstein's response to that fear is typical of the self's to the threatening other. the creature fantasizes about women. Frankenstein experiences "passion" (193). like the destruction of Lucy and the other female vampires in Dracula. and further reveals Frankenstein's own sexual anxiety. which. which is "revealed as a fusion of fear.

" . nor on Oedipal desire. the creature describes another kind of passion. 173 frame Justine for William's murder as an impossible desire for the mother. as the De Laceys have no word for "mother" or "daughter. The creature can employ both these terms. but the text suggests an interpretation based neither on grief over the absent mother. Marder notes. and her lovely lips. represented by Caroline's portrait (38). This passage. but also shows that the creature Is more capable of desire than Is Frankenstein. Justine also represents "one of those whose smiles are bestowed on all but [him]" (170). The sexual nature of the creature's gaze is even more apparent In the 1831 edition: "I bent over her and whispered 'Awake. "the name of "lover* or "beloved" does not exist in the Frankenstein family lexicon" (75). and under his eyes the miniature becomes a sexual object: "I gazed with delight on her dark eyes. he condemns her. thy lover is near — he would give his life but to obtain one look of affection from thine eyes. To the creature. fairest. while Frankenstein tends to refer to Elizabeth as "cousin. but presently my rage returned: I remembered that I was for ever deprived of the delights that such beautiful creatures could bestow" (170). my beloved." so. fringed by deep lashes. for being desired (Jacobus 133). is not entirely threatening. In essence. Rather. which both anticipates and parodies the offers of Frankenstein and Elizabeth to die for each other. awake!" (143).

the female creature could no more have occupied a position of equality than could Eve. but be doubly affected because of her sex. 174 The creature's request for a mate is also explicitly sexual. Essentially. without hex consent The idea of a . in some ways. then petitions him to repeat it. "Cursed creatorI Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust?" (158). he wants female affection. presumably through reproduction. although they nlso betray his anxiety concerning women. valid. He offers his prospective bride no choice regarding her mate. hex" very existence. or indeed. the creature protests against Frankenstein's unthinking act. The woman must necessarily be subordinate to the man who precedes her. but also to be "linked to the chain of existence" (174). Although the creature demands "an equal" (174). and that she will "refuse to comply with a contact tnadc before her creation" (192). Frankenstein's concerns regarding the potential dangers of creating her as a mate for the creature are thus. It Is quite possible that the female creature will be revolted by the appearance of her mate. the creature demands that Frankenstein create an other In relation to whom he can at last occupy the position of self. the novel shows that any relationship between the sexes necessarily assumes a hierarchy. not thinking that the female creature may not only share her mate's feelings of otherness and self-loathing.

as his fear that the two c**ca tores may reproduce indicates (J92). Victor's fear of female sexuality ca> relate to h^s own urv« rafale gender position. entirely masculine. according to his ideology. "PN" 224) is completely at odds with Frankenstein's experience. Frankenstein fears female reproductive power. much as he has done with his initial. so Frankenstein preemptively destroys the unfinished woman. of female sexuality: the female creature "might turn with disgust from [her mate] to the sup*rlor beauty of man" (192). 175 woman "who is sexually liberated. "PN" 224). free to choose her own life. act of creation. given the gigantic strength of this female." as Mellor suggests ("PN" 2 2 4 ) . however. As the response to the threatening other has ever been violent repression. Such a woman would. naturally be 'ten thousand times more malignant than her mate" (192). "Implicit here Is Frankenstein's horror that. for example. thus "violently reassertling] a male control over the female body" (Mellor. and particularly. she would have the power '© seize and even rape the male she might choose. In usurping the female right of giving birth Frankenstein nisself occupies a feminine . to just such bargains made between men. as well as sexuality. Frankenstein's fears. are even more deeply connected to his fear of the female. given the compliance of Caroline and Elizabeth. her o»n sexual partner" (Mellor. those own autonomy is such a cause for anxiety.

Indicates that he no longer identifies with the feminine. but otherwise." 9 0 ) ." which is associated witji impetsnee as well as with feminized sindness. Frankenstein. reminiscent cf Jonathan Harker's 'brain fever. . The text often feminizes Frankenstein. and the text presents his weakening in specifically gendered terms. given the novel's portrayal of traditional gender roles. . ' Richariison suggests that the creature in his aggressive form is in fact a personification of the equally x"ei»r_cd figure of the dangerously demonic woman. 176 position. loses power as his creation gains it. whoa the dfasestic angel could so easily become (152). Coodwin offersfcfecinteresting theory that. en the other hand. such an interpretation lentls itself to a reading of Frankenstein as 3 warding of the dangers of containing women in a position of oppressive domesticity. He shares hysterical mood swings with his creature. a repressed femininity"* (IOC). as the creature grows more an aggressive masculine force. Dickerson notes that the creature ceases to be a passive victim after his encounter with the 'liberated* Safie (89). and in direct opposition to his masculine rationality. Frankenstein succumbs to what he describes as a "nervous fever. excessively masculine figure (Thornburg 8 8 ) . who is prone to uncontrollable emotions that are stereotypically feminine. his gender definition swings wildly the other way as he becomes the vengeful. the creature "represent? . In fact. so his creator becomes more feminine. Upon the creature's awakening. rather than depicting Frankenstein's repressed fsasculine sexuality. a change which. . Similarly.

even to the point of having his hair turn white. He "weep[s] with bitterness" upon the death of William 1101). 177 Frankenstein's relationship to the creature recalls his use of the phrase "my own vampire" (105). Finally. As the vampire grows stronger. .1 which exists throughout the novel in his The scene of his rescue also demonstrates the shifting balance of power between Frankenstein and the creature. when Walton rescues him in the midst of his pursuit of the creature. Immediate^ after discovering the body of Elizabeth. the fact that It is two days before he can speak (58) reinforces the connection between Frankenstein and the silent woman. who initially invokes the masculine tenets of the Stoics against excessive pity. . in keeping with his frequently feminized position (102). xo animation" by the sailors" brandy (58). . for here it is the creator who must be * r e s t o r e d ." to which Frankenstein's father also responds by remarking un how such emotions "prevent!] . without which no man Is fit for society" (120. only to reject them. who is clearly in control despite his flight from Frankenstein. Haggerty £lso reads the scene in w*sicl> the creature stands over . even the discharge of daily usefulness. and must be consoled by Clerval. emphasis added). Frankenstein faints. while Dracula appears progressively younger: every time the creature asserts his power. Justine's execution causes a similar episode of near-madness and "excessive sorrow. . as it parallels that of Harker to Dracula. Frankenstein responds in a stereotypically feminine manner. Harker weakens.

he may admire Caroline and grow up with Elizabeth. whether projected in the form of the creature. In addition. then. Frankenstein's speech impediment demonstrates the unspeakable nature of the other. . such violently masculine acts may serve. significantly. Like the predicament of Polidori's Aubrey. who reveals him in the role of nurse (90). Frankenstein consistently responds aggressively to the possibility of being objectified. Clerval. may be an attempt to reassert his own masculinity. associates him with both benevolent nature and domestic society represented by "the cheerful faces of Frankenstein's lifeless body as a. or literal in the destruction of his female counterpart. and even the creature are closer to him than these women. with whom he cannot ccmmunlcate. and being placed in a feminine position certainly qualifies as objectification. As Mellor notes "Frankenstein's most passionate relationships are with men rather than with women" ("PN" 225). as they de in Dracula. 178 helpless inability to tell anyone about the existence of the creature. but Clerval. to mitigate the possibility of unspeakable homoerotic attachments. reversal of xbe creation scene (63). whom he also resembles. too. but It also contributes to the reader's impression of him as ineffectual and therefore feminized. is feminized. Frankenstein's violent feelings toward women. by Frankenstein himself. Walton.

. who specifically seeks "the company of a man who could sympathize with [him]. their relationship seems mere equal (Hatlen. and contrasts his interest in the "orientalists. given the conflation of familial and erotic relationships throughout the text. although." with the "manly and heroical poetry of Greece and Rome" (97). Frankenstein alludes to Clerval when discussing the nobility of male friendship with Walton (61). In response to his father's similar concerns. who worries that he sees her too much as a sister (212). have been drunk up by the Interest for my guest . 179 children" (98). "Patriarchy** 40) and more passionate than that of Frankenstein with Elizabeth. Frankenstein can only make the formal response that Elizabeth deserves his "warmest admiration and affection" and that his "future hopes and prospects are entirely oound up in the expectation of [their] union" (178). even if he does love the scientist "as a brother" (60). That Frankenstein fulfils these suggestive criteria is evident in Walton's descriptions of him: "what a glorious creature must he have been in the days of his prosperity. and every feeling of my soul. . . " (234). perhaps it is not *hat m surprising: tay thoughts. Even so. Walton's response to Frankenstein's tale also seems excessive. whose eyes would reply to [his own]" (53). when he is thus noble and godlike in his ruin" (234)." whose writings make life "appear]] to consist in a warm sun and garden of roses.

"Affection and Duty": Frankenstein and the Bourgeois Family Thornburg believes that the sentimental and the Gothic. whom he rivals as the focus of Frankenstein's attention. the creature kills Elizabeth after Frankenstein destroys the female creature. phantasmlc rejection by recasting of an original homosexual . even more than in Dracula. are largely defined by their respective portrayals ox gender. over Frankenstein's deathbed" (Jacobus 132). as two sides of one myth. although with a similar ambivalence. the destruction of the female strengthens such a bond. Extreme or inverted gender . loveriike. Kranzler suggests that -Vhis violence towards women "can be seen partly as ai. . his affection is most evident after Frankenstein's death. desire" (Between Men 91-92).. have cancelled each other out Is the way clear for the scene of passionate mourning in which the monster hangs. . jealousy at female interference in a homoerotic bond" (43). The creature seems to return these feelings. . and both violent acts can be read as sexual. 180 Even Frankenstein's relationship with his despised creation is more intimate than that with Elizabeth. fit Sedgwick's analysis of "the fearful. expression of . for "[ojnly when the two females . . . and indeed. the patterns of doubling and persecution in Frankenstein. The creature declares "in his murder my crimes are consummated" (243). Also in keeping with Sedgwick's theory is the way in which women mediate between men. but In fact.

Such a family. the sentimental. as in Frankenstein (32). or his unstable sexuality. then. Victor's exclusion of femi*. is a Gothic tragedy illustrating the failure of the sentimental and the disastrous implications thereof. that Frankenstein can be redeemed. presuraablj'. largely because of tha position of women within the bourgeois family. in Shelley's novel. this= failure may itself constitute a critique of the sentimental myth. such as the creature's excessive masculinity. with its fixed gender roles and domestic women. for Shelley. and which the creature embodies. as well 2S of the excessive masculinity which Frankenstein demonstrates through his solitary act of creation. The sentimental is not. lead to Gothic tragedy. By contrast. 181 positions. there is the possibility. however. Thus it would seem Frankenstein. as Margaret Saville does for Walton. As long as Elizabeth is alive. according to Thornburg"s model. although her attempts to turn Frankenstein into a family man do not have even the ambiguous success that Walton's absent sister presents. is characterized by a balance between genders. . thus entering the domestic sphere and becoming a productive member of society without jeopardizing his own masculinity (Thornburg 3 1 ) . which is also present. as Smith analyzes it. an entirely redeeming force. she serves the same purpose for him. although defeated.inity. so that the excessively masculine hero allows himself to be tamed by the heroine.

are as much based on hierarchy as is the relationship between Victor's creature and his creator. Frankenstein appears unaware of the hierarchical power structure. however. 182 depends on notions of obligation which create an Inevitable hierarchy (279). such as Caroline. Children are expected to fee grateful to their parents for creating them. furthermore. Family relations. then. it is expected to be grateful. The Frankensteins are the most obvious example of such a family. are more aware of their obligation to their rescuers. and. being based not on affection so much as on various constructions of gratitude. those rescued from Intolerable situations. which merely amplifies them. they are disguised by a rhetoric of filial duty and parental obligation. which are intrinsically linked to the creation of a family by adoption rather than blood (Paulson 548). controls it. These hierarchical relations function ideologically. emphasizing instead his idyllic childhood (66ff) and viewing the family as a . Elizabeth and Justine. Of course. as Frankenstein suggests with his vision of a race of grateful creatures: however. which masks the power issues more obviously at work In Victor's relationship with the creature. this constrains the other even further: the dominant party defines or creates it. that is to say. Regarding his own family. which is in many ways as artificial as Frankenstein's creature.

echoes the rhetoric of . it is not: "neither of us possessed the slightest pre-eminence over the other: the voice of command was never heard amongst us. but also reveals Victor's hestiiii> towards the very family he takes pains to describe as ideal. "it is . who merely dismisses Agrippa. but mutual affection engaged us all to comply with and obey the slightest desire of each other" (71). Alphonse saves Caroline and educates her as his wife-. . Smith notes the pattern of "endless repetition" regarding domestic relations. and there is an indication that he finds the family oppressive. which is how he himself sees theai: had his father reacted differently to his reading of Agrippa. for his later transgressions. of course. possible that the train of [Victor'sJ ideas would never have received the fatal impulse that led xo [his] ruin" (68). protests too much (15). or its affections inadequate. 183 collection of equals. rather than explaining his reasoning to his son (68). "Negative Oedipus" 374). as Laura P. of course. Such rebellion. His later transgressions may be read as a rebellion against oppressive domesticity. filial duty. His attempt to blame his father. is apparently in vain. Claridge notes. however. is in part an attempt to evade responsibility {Veeder. and gratitude (279). which. and Elizabeth twice describes the same process at work in the creation of Justine Moritz. Caroline in turn grooms Elizabeth as her replacement. Victor. Victor. .

although this anti-Catholicism is .PHOTOGP-APHiC MICROCOPY TARGET UBS 1010a ANSI/ISO *2 EOUIVALEHT PRECISIONS' RESOLUTION TARGETS 197 Justine's confessor advises her to admit to the crime she has not coi. PM-1 3»-x«.-mittcd {114).

imagines: oppression and othering. Thus. his italics). which will prove equally oppressive for all involved. Hatlen continues. 184 gratitude in his initial dreams of creation. control their son's sexuality by assuming he will marry Elizabeth — given the importance of family obligations. Hatlen defines patriarchy as "a social and psychological structure that defines the creature as Other. or in perpetuation of. his parents" ovn. That he . Frankenstein commits his other errors either in response to. William. are the norm. in essence. The most obvious manifestation of the perpetuation of the male/female and self/other hierarchies involves Frankenstein's youngest brother. for example. the patriarchal family depends on hierarchies based on gender and age. as object. rather. Similarly. and are similarly perpetuated through generations. and can never be the ideal domestic setting the creature. "the act of creation is the exclusive prerogative of the male of the species. creative act. the female) and over the end result of this act" ("Patriarchy" 2 0 ) . and then proceeds to limit his creature's reproductive possibilities. inherently inferior to and therefore the rightful possession of the creating male subject" ("Patriarchy" 41. the expectation is as good as a command. and it entails rights of ownership both over the 'means* of production (that is. Caroline and Alphonse. albeit asexual. Frankenstein responds with his own. Under such a system.

William and Louisa cannot possibly. Even at the age of five. and ha[s] lived too short a time to have imbibed a horror of deformity" (169) proves patently false. be anything but prospective marriage partners: were it not for William's premature death. particularly after the arrival of Safie. William also does his part to uphold the self/other hierarchy implicit in Frankensteinian family relations. and experiences idyllic family life only vicariously. a pretty little girl of five years of age" (95). the creature is largely self—educated. Perkins notes. as Margo V. by observing the De Laceys. even at such a young age. 185 participates in the same gender role production as do the Frankenstein adults is frighteningly apparent in Elizabeth's first letter to Victor. no . which points out that William "has already had one or two little wives. "[n]o father had watched my infant days. William has already been socialized to recognize the other and to respond with fear and contempt. He is aware of the contrast between their situation and his own. he has been "corrupted by the context in which [he] live[s]" (38). no doubt he and his little "wife" would have become another Victor and Elizabeth. for the creature's assumption that "this little creature [is] unprejudiced. By contrast. children perpetuate the Frankensteinian view of gender relations as if none other were possible. but Louisa Blron is his favourite. when he meets his brother's creation.

Thus they too reject the creature. the De Laceys" labours are very specifically divided along gender lines: Felix chops wood. There is less evidence of patriarchal control among the De Laceys. they will adopt only those who meet their standards — which are largely based on beauty (Vlasopolos 126). for example. 186 mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses" (149). whose relationship with Felix is suspect. based as ix is on hierarchy. Although the creature sees in their family the same equality Frankenstein claims exists in his own. but the children still "performI] towards I their father] every little office of affection and duty with gentleness" (138). Although they are ultimately less unfortunate than the Frankensteins in terms of their survival. for which there Is no word (140). and Agatha cooks. Agatha. Added to this is the position of Safie. significantly. the De Laceys suffer from many of the same flaws. and who escapes from her tyrannical father just to become wife. mother and pupil to this male- dominated family. never escapes the unspeakable role of daughter. Finally. the De Laceys are no more nurturing than the Frankensteins in terms of accepting otherness. Mellor suggests that the De Laceys represent an alternative to the Frankensteins. that they are the ideal family Frankenstein would claim for himself (Mary Shelley 118). which may be universal to the bourgeois family. Perkins argues that this response is the result of a socialization process that resembles that .

although she sees this alternative as far less positive. with evil. are unjust: she simply suggests . (172) Mellor suggests that Frankenstein celebrates the private. Rather than privileging the family over political revolution. In fact. . Weissman agrees. Every man who tries makes victims of the women in his own family. . revolutionary man (Mary Shelley 8 6 ) . 187 affecting William (38). then. . frail. This simplistic reasoning. Even Mellor admits that "the father who neglects his children can be seen as the archetype of the irresponsible political leader who puts his own interests aheao of those of his fellow citizens" (Mary . helpless angels" (Half Savage 136). David Soyka confirms Perkins's belief: Felix's response is ail-too human in equating the grotesque. that it is hopeless to try to change them. beautiful. believing that "Shelley does not cover up the fact that governments and legal systems . overrides any need to determine the Monster's origins or motivations. the political reflects it. or even the merely different. based on visceral reaction grounded in social conditioning rather than logical consideration. Frankenstein crxtiques the oppressive family and extends its critique into the public sphere. Rather than opposing the domestic. it seems more likely that Frankenstein's women are the victims of the very family Weissman believes Shelley to be championing. . domestic sphere — the family — as an alternative to the public arena frequented by the isolated.

William's remark demonstrates a parallel between the family and the state. emphasis added). and at worst violently oppressive. Frankenstein -. That "parental affection produces filial duty" is one of Wollstonecraft*s tenets (273.he would punish you" (170). and bad parents. a connection tliat persists throughout Frankenstein and contributes to a political reading which is inseparable from the novel's preoccupation with the family. and for no other reason. The creature accepts the familial/state hierarchy. accordingly. but also Insists on his own rights as subject of Frankenstein's rule: "I will not be tempted to set my self in opposition to thee. but rather a privilege accorded parents In return for theix. When the creature seizes him. mirror unjust rulers who are at best negligent. The novel suggests that filial duty is not the given that Alphonse Frankenstein would have it be. "Misery Has Made Me a Fiend": The Revolutionary Monster State authority corresponds to patriarchal authority within the family. I am thy creature. and I will be even mild and docile to my natural lord and king. Frankenstein expects a new species to adore him as its creator. and It necessarily applies to rulers as well. 188 Shelley 70). William Frankenstein invokes the power of the father. but he also makes it clear that his father represents civic authority: "[mjy papa is a Syndic — he is M. if thou .protection and cure. then abandons his creature.

Godwin's influence on Shelley Is often ignored by critics who would rather concentrate on her mother's role in her intellectual development. the which thou owest me" (123). he argues for the abolition of marriage as an institution. Similarly. suggesting that women should pursue "business of various kinds" and study politics (266). Such a union would be a great Improvement. and friendship (2:508— 511). In fact. to a marriage "in which there is no room for repentance. and to which liberty and hope are strangers" (2:510) — the kind of oppressive marriage with which Frankenstein abounds. he believes. that hierarchy is acceptable when coupled with benevolent paternalism (36). Although to ignore Shelley's . she herself wrote an analysis of the French Revolution. to whom it is dedicated. Cohabitation and Marriage" in his An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. Frankenstein echoes the work of Shelley's father William Godwin. Here. 189 wxlt also perform thy part. advocating instead a union based on choice. Godwin Includes an appendix entitled "Of Cooperation. Wollstonecraft. although in favour of domestic affection. as Perkins notes. his words here seem to suggest. equality. both of Shelley's parents critique the politics both of the family and of society at large. If the creature is sincere. and also raise the question of justifiable revolution. In its attention to this theme. opposed the separation of private and public spheres.

and fails even to communicate with his parents and Elizabeth. Frankenstein's portrayal of Romantic revolution reflects this ambivalence. enemy of oppression and tyranny. of his crew. is never fixed. and foresakes his responsibility. because for her he represented not only "the radical philosopher. and the position of the revolutionary other. where his own will becomes more important than the desires. it is not easy to establish a clear picture of her political views. he fails to note the process that leads to it. like that of the woman. overcome by the magnitude of his discovery. in his role as disapproving father. isolates himself In his laboratory. but to his creature. Frankenstein rebels against nature. His . Robert Walton abandons the private world represented by his sister in favour of isolated exploration.* but also. 190 awareness of Issues beyond the rights of women is to do her a disservice. or even the lives. Her relationship to her father and his work — a real-life connection between family and politics - . Regarding the often-remarked opposition between the domestic and the political. not only to his family. rather than the means by which it comes about. He focuses on the outcome of his experiment. there can be no doubt that the three (male) revolutionary figures in the novel do Indeed neglect or directly oppose the family.was decidedly ambivalent. and "behjolds] only the result" (81). "the oppressive personal tyrant" (McWhir 85-86). He often chooses solitude.

is fatal to the Frankenstein family. Although the creature does not turn women into demons. rather than the family as an institution. the creature. regarding whose survival I can only echo William Veeder. in that his creation is both a mockery — much like vampiric contagion — of the reproductive process so central to that family's existence. In his desire literally to eliminate the Frankenstein line. 191 creation represents the awful consequences of a revolution which merely gathers momentum without design. the text itself remains a critique of that institution. Polidori. reveals the weaknesses of men who love angels. men engage in rebellion against the patriarchal family. the traditional family fails in Frankenstein as in the vampire texts- . of course. who is never given the chance to express the sexual aggression Frankenstein projects onto her. and ask "Why of all the Frankensteins is Ernest . he. ISAlthough the creature is himself antxthetxcal to the Idea of family. with the potential exception of the female creature. . but lacking their demonic counterparts. unlike the vampires. but contained. like the vampire. These men who create women in need of protection cannot adequately protect them. Elizabeth's murder can be read as rape but the fact that she is safely dead prevents the possibility of contamination. who reverse the paradigm. and the cause of Frankenstein's own neglect of his relatives. The threat of miscegenation present in Dracula is also implied.19 While Frankenstein and Walton are able to rebel largely because their women are engaged in domestic affairs — with the exception of Felix and Safie. threatens only the Frankensteins. IS and creates havoc among the De Laceys. Shelley's creature most resembles that of her contemporary. . while women maintain the standards of filial duty — there With the exception of Ernest. The creature himself. in Frankenstein. and of the notion of 'true* womanhood Wollstonecraft criticizes in the Vindication (117— 118). Frankenstein * s women are as helpless as the vampires" victims. left alive at the end? Why is Ernest in the novel at all?" ("Gender and Pedagogy" 47). If the creature is not a threat to the family — as opposed to Frankenstein's family — however.

and equally doomed.Burke's Image of Marie Antoinette. . "glittering like the nvorning star* (91). rather than deploring Romantic masculine revolution. as Mellor does regarding what she calls their "conservative vision of gradual evolutionary reform. Shelley's perfect. is reminiscent of Elizabeth and Caroline. and the failure of "a nation of gallant men" to protect her (91). As Pamela Clesiit notes. The fact that the domestic confinement of women makes male revolution possible makes it more difficult to align Shelley with Edmund Burke. before she falls victim to the Revolution against which he rails." (Mary Shelley 86). the basis of Burke's hierarchical order" (165). Shelley is "deeply sceptical about the integrity of the patriarchal faaily. While Burke uses the deposed Queen as evidence of the barbarity of the revolution. feminine icons. Critics who read Frankenstein in. 192 is no indication that Shelley is completely against revolution under certain circumstances. and thus would probably not have echoed his lament. Shelley's novel reveals the need to rebel against s» system in which women are kept in a state of "lovely weakness" (Wollstonccraft 124) so that they require laasculine protection. "the age of chivalry is gone" (Burke 91). opposition to Godwin's F-olitical Justice cite the latter"s insistence on reason. Frankenstein seems to suggest that those who are truly oppressed and othered -- such as women — may be justified in rebellion against oppressive authority.

then. or rooted and obstinate prejudice. with masculine science. and so on" (334-35). for example. issues of gender and politics converge in the figure of the creature. once again. but she is also opposed to any kind of rigid absolutism. to take party with the oppressor" (1:269). who. which he associates directly with '8 "there will be oppressors. by contrast. and in direct opposition to Burke. to create a binary opposition between thinking creator and feeling creature. David Seed notes the "reversals in speech-style" that occur in the central exchange between ci'eature and creator: "submission will reverse into threat: a feeling of power Into helpless horror. Certainly. 193 and often suggest that Shelley. often speaks very rationally indeed. as long as there oppression:' are Individuals inclined. then. either from perverseness." Godwin refers to "unsocial and immoral prejudices" (1:243). especially when arguing for his rights. This ambiguity regarding the position of reason extends also to Frankenstein * s relationship to Godwin's work. Frankenstein is easily as capable of irrational ravings as the creature. champions domestic affection. is the position of "prejudice. Political Justice explicitly opposes Wollstonecraft also takes this position. . then. writing of "women who are restrained by principle or prejudice" (111). It is a mistake. One area in which Shelley emphatically agrees with Godwin. Shelley appears to be against the absolute rationalism which Mellor associates.

The creature perceptively notes that the De Laceys. De Lacey introduces it. and where they ought to see a feeling and kind friend. his duty becomes a part of his nature. when unprejudiced by any obvious self-interest. the creature e-presses a desire to overcome that prejudice. who have never seen him. These words. Despite their kindness and his own "good dispositions. are already "prejudiced against [him]" (161). . 194 reason and prejudice. . stating in its "Summary of Principles" that "soundness of understanding is inconsistent with prejudice" (1:xxvii). specifically. . . it previously engages the mind in a steady course of wisdom and virtue. Prejudice renders a man's virtue his habit. . however. realizes that his response is not rational. the reader." he tells the old man. prove prophetic when Felix returns and reacts violently to what he perceives as a threat. a position that is still in keeping with the primacy of affection. In his exchange with De Lacey the term occurs four times. . Burke upholds prejudice as of ready application in the emergency. "a fatal prejudice clouds their eyes. are full of brotherly love and charity" (161). Through just prejudice. Finally. claiming that "the hearts of men. and does not leave the man hesitating in the moment of decision . By contrast. (105-06) Frankenstein opposes this view. they behold only a detestable monster" (161). of course. the belief "that [hej wish[es] to injure them*' (161). as the creature shares Godwin's opinion of the injustice of prejudice.

Perhaps even more significantly. for if "all human kind [has] sinned against [him]" \245). as Burke is aware. although Burke's argument in favour of prejudice is not notable for its rationality. To return to Shelley's position regarding revolution. and seeks society rather than avoiding it (Baldick 52). First. prejudice is. it is necessary to recognize a distinction between the revolutionary acts of Frankenstein and Walton and that of the creature. helps to justify his own violent acts of rebellion. his retaliation might be understood. The creature's argument against prejudice. its logic is internally consistent. 195 but based on prejudice — just the opposition Godwin establishes. because it is just those preconceived notions that stand between the creature and the affection he seeks. also presented in Political Justice. as . However. one cannot exclude the rational argument against prejudice. then. from the sphere of the emotions. the forces against which the creature revolts are more oppressive than any with which Walton or Frankenstein contends. if not entirely condoned. although perhaps only in degree. useful for upholding the traditions and institutions which he believes necessary to prevent revolution. paralleling Godwin's as it does. Similarly. the two men choose their radical Isolation while the creature is forcibly isolated because he is other. and can thus characterize as wisdom and virtue.

which are — presumably because of the justification — not. That the novel criticizes the rebellious impulse represented by Frankenstein. suggests a negative view of the egocentric Promethean revolutionary. is a state of society" (l:xxiv). then. and to a lesser degree by Walton. mutually exclusive. However. thus confirming a belief in both community and justifiable rebellion. illustrated not only in the treatment and words of the creature. 196 both men are also constrained by their relations to their families. however. . The first of these is the trial of Justine. Frankenstein reveals the often-arbitrary nature of authority. Alphonse tells Elizabeth and Victor that he trusts the court (108). Such a position is partially Godwinian in that Shelley's father admits that "the most desirable condition of the human species. This distinction exists in the novel as well. and by preconceived social norms. it displays a more posicive outlook regarding the revolution against an oppressive authority which excludes the other from society. The creature's search for a community which will accept him indicates that the novel does privilege society over the individual's rebellion. they do the same and Justine is hanged in a "wretched mockery of justice" (109). To further emphasize corrupt authority. but in even more direct instances. Godwin favours minimal government interference in individual affairs (1:215-16).

is "unjust" because she perceptively views men "as monsters thirsting for each other's blood" (121)"'1 — a belief she voices just after her eloquent and perceptive speech distinguishing true justice from retribution (115) — indicate the power of this ideology. and indeed because of it. Even if Justine still believes herself innocent. but maintains the view that this is "justice. may have seen as progressive. one v/hich Shelley. " Elizabeth's views may initially appear to confirm the belief that the masculine public sphere is excessively violent compared to what she obviously perceives as the safety of domesticity. the dominant society not only arbitrarily condemns the other. and the fact that Elizabeth is murdered on the eve of her marriage.^mitted (114). her response to this corrupt and brutal system is the desire to return home to her family (115)." In the face of the priest's threats. the ironically-named Justine almost believes she is the "monster 1 (114) — and the term is obviously significant — he believes her to be. 197 Justine's confessor advises her to admix xo the crime she has not coi. not the court. although this anti-Catholicism is an instance of unambiguous othering." Justine's "resignation" (115) and Elizabeth's belief that she. hardly supports any claim for the domestic sphere as sanctuary from a dangerous world. He defines her. whose husband publicly and notoriously advocated atheism. "violence is at the heart of every home in the novel" (100). . especially in the context of promoting reason versus Catholic "superstition. then compels her to believe his definition. as Goodwin notes. However. a model of the othering process.

. This relationship too. and again when . which can never be other than corrupt. which serves as a complex representation of the connection between tyrants and those they oppress. . From this point on. and suggests the dehumanizing effects of political hierarchy on both the oppressor and the oppressed. but who cannot help him (223-25). George Levine notes that "each of [the novel's] major figures is at once victimizer and victim" (12). If Frankenstein starts out as a Promethean rebel. The legal system fails again when Victor finally approaches a legal authority in the form of the magistrate. imparting a "spark" (85) of life to dead matter. and emphasizes his tyranny when he destroys the female creature. The novel makes a similar point with the unjust exile of the De Laceys by a government which is again characterized by its arbitrary exercise of power (153). he becomes a tyrant when he first rejects the creature. is highly ambiguous. rather than the crime alleged against him. whose positions are not fixed. had been the cause of his condemnation" (150). both here and in Its treatment of Safie's father: "the injustice of his sentence was very flagrant . what little official authority exists in the novel fades. foregrounding the relationship between Frankenstein and his creature. who not only refuses to believe him. 198 The novel's revelation of the arbitrary nature of justice within the social hierarchy suggests a critique of that hierarchy. [IJt was judged that his religion and wealth.

. however. then amplifies this justifiable revolution into violence against the innocent. and destroy my frame.ny creator would tear me to pieces. his own kind of tyranny. The creature's belief that Frankenstein could kill him without thinking of the act as murder Is perceptive for. . Frankenstein uses such terms as "wretch" (86). "monster" (87). 199 the pursued becomes the pursuer. the work of your own hands" (171-72). as Is evident in his language. In this the creature's actions reflect cultural anxiety . . From the outset. where the vampires seem xo lose their names as the narrative progresses. the life of the other is never as valuable as that of the self. as I have discussed regarding Dracula." The creature is aware of the extent of his otherness. and "devil" (104) to refer to the creature. for the other is by definition not human and can thus be killed without remorse. if you could precipitate me into one of those ice- rifts. . so Dracula becomes at best "the Count" and at worst "fiend" and "devil." while nuthven becomes "fiend" and "monster. is as unstable as Frankenstein's. The creature's position. an act of literal self-defense which Is easy enough to justify. You would not call It murder. He views the creature as other froes the beginning. he begins as victim of oppression. as his speech to Frankenstein reveals: "[y]ou. which he rebels against. and triumph. a type of linguistic othering which also exists in both Polidori and Stoker. "thing" (87).

200 surroundxng the French Revolution. which is arguable. A particularly good example of this ambiguous image is the creature's destruction of the De Laceys* domestic happiness with the very fire that. with their potential for liberation and their actual "collapsle] into tyranny and chaos" (Montag 3 0 1 ) . claims Ronald Paulson. has such positive associations with household prosperity (165). a reference to corrupt French government is highly suggestive in 1818. both awe-inspiring and utterly destructive as it strikes the oak tree and excites Frankenstein's scientific curiosity. which has always ended by devouring those "It is not accidental that the De Laceys are French. benevolence and destruction" (5501 . The creature himself can be seen as an image of revolution. presents many "familiar image patterns of the Revolution" (549)." for example. "this image leads into the Promethean associations of light and fire. Among these images is that of lightning. the ultimate nineteenth-century image of violent revolution out of control. Frankenstein. According to Paulson. In any case. but it seems more likely that they are meant to be refugees from the Revolution. David Marshall suggests their nationality establishes Frankenstein * s connection with Rousseau (183). images which illustrate the dual nature of events in France. in the hearth. whatever one's views of the events in France- . Even those who could justify revolutionary violence against tyrants could hardly condone the Terror. who described "military democracy. one commonly used by Burke. as "a species of political monster.

this 'body* is said to be not just diseased. he plays this role for Frankenstexn. and. revolutionary desires he may embody. is indeed a variant on that of the "body politic. . it is not unfair to suggest that "Shelley seems xo be offering a Burkean critique of revolutionary aspirations. As Chris Baldick notes. best characterized in Burke. . Hence the following passage from Burke: . Baldick writes: "when political discord and rebellion appear. 282)." which he also frequently employs (255. Certainly the novel makes no attempt to disguise or erase the violence associated with revolution: unlike her husband's Prometheus. Shelley's revolutionary creature has no Demogorgon — if anything. The spirit transmigrates. which he saw as unnatural (58). for all he . and a subversive rejoinder to Godwin's early rational views" (Clemlt 164). but misshapen. whilst you are gibbeting the carcass. . monstrous" (14). .(174) The similarity of this reanimated body to Frankenstein's creature is striking: associated with the tombs and scaffolds that must have been the sources of Frankenstein's raw materials. It Is renovated in its new organs with the fresh vigour of a juvenile activity. Given the anxiety surrounding monstrous figures of revolution. whose violent. Burke's image of the revolution. it wreaks havoc far and wide. far from losing its principle of life by the change of Its appearance. or demolishing the tomb. abortive. 201 who have produced it" (262).It walks abroad. . vice assumes a new body. it continues its ravages.

Godwin could understand. in her Historical View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution. are filled with indignation and revenge" 11:272). become obdurate. Wollstonccraft agrees both with this assessment and with Burke's. Burke was not alone in deploring the terrifying violence of revolution: Godwin himself believed that. as Cleanit goes on to say. ." he writes (1:284). Nevertheless. unrelenting and inhuman. in that. she "does not deny that elements of the Parisian crowd deserve to be regarded as monstrous" (Baldick 2 2 ) . . 202 professes his admiration for "peaceable law-givers" (156). Godwin's assessment of the effects of revolutionary violence on Individuals is also strikingly relevant to the relationship between Frankenstein and his m creator: the perpetrators. If not condone. and impatient at injustice. and the witnesses of saurders. its own tyranny is not without peculiar aggravations" (1:263). have an obvious apology to palliate their error. "the complexity of Mary Shelley's response to Godwin's thought should be emphasized" (164). revolution against tyrannical ru^urs: "the eaen who grow angry with corruption. but also believes that their . and through those sentiments favour the abettors of revolution. However. although "Revolution is instigated by a horror against tyranny . Those who sustain the loss of relations or friends by a catastrophe of this sort.

. Lee Sterrenburg notes that "Shelley does not always escape from the stereotypes of the revolutionary age. Wollstonccraft. .* (54-55) . the creature Is derived from the lurid imagery of Burke's counter- revolutionary polemics. adding a third revolutionary context xo any possible interpretation of the creature's monstrous body. the reflected evils of government tyranny" (Baldick 2 2 ) . a "hybrid. . who tells Frankenstein "misery has made me a fiend" (128). But read from the position of Paine." as Sterrenburg calls it (165). like her parents before her. . Read from the Burkean position . but manages at the same time to voice the opposing views of Mary Wollstonccraft and others. The result is. . indicting the prevailing system from the standpoint of the oppressed and outcast. remains fluid and undefined. is turning Burke's imagery against its creator (Clemit 149). It was to such a tyrannical government that Godwin himself applied the image of monstrosity (Baldick 24-25). indeed. these revolutionary monsters "show . then. the novel seems to warn against the recklessness of the radical ohilosoohe who tries to construct a new body politic. Like the creature. it seems to suggest that the violence of the oppressed springs from frustration with the neglect and Injustice of their social 'parent. or Godwin. the sympathy the novel generates for its monstrous revolutionary suggests that Shelley. . but she does conflate and mix them in new and subversive combinations" (161): the source of the creature's monstrosity. . 203 monstrosity is socially constructed. However.

While Burke also employs the image of the parricide. his emphasis is not on the unjust parent. but on the ungrateful child. as noted above. with pious awe and trembling solicitude" (Burke 116). and wild Incantations. for the metaphor of the bad parent is a typically republican one. parricidal monsters serve as emblems of the consequences of misrule" (162). parallels that of the patriarchal family. whose idea of the state. If subjects should "approach to the faults of the state as to the wounds of a father. If the novel condemns Frankenstein as a negligent parent -. rather than to Burke.a fact of which there can be little doubt — and serves as a critique of the bourgeois family in general. and put him Into the kettle of magicians. The very statement Mellor makes equating the bad father with the bad ruler also negates her argument for Shelley's Burkean tendencies. it can hardly be aligned with Burke. Sterrenburg writes: "Especially for republican historiographers. 2C4 The theme of the negligent parent is perhaps the best- evidence for connecting Shelley's creature to the republican tradition. In other words parricidal revolution results from the actions of tyrannical parents or rulers. In hopes that by their poisonous weeds. they may regenerate the paternal . whom he also depicts as monstrous. then the revolutionary who actually overthrows the head of state must be condemned because by this wise prejudice we are taught to look with horror on those children of their country who are prompt rashly to hack that aged parent In pieces.

like Shelley's creature. as the French did. Your child comes into the world with the symptoms of death.His imagery here both lends credence xo an Interpretation of Frankenstein's rebellious creature as the female other. but which on the contrary has had its origin in those vices and sinister practices by which the social union is often disturbed and sometimes destroyed" (204). the stereotypically demonic woman — sexual aggressor. and the monstrous creature as an "eobleaU of the consequences of misrule" (Sterrenburg 162): those who are othered will rise against their oppressors. as the creature does. although he obviously shows none of her sympathy towards this figure. and bred. . Eurke pictures the revolutionary as an illegitimate and monstrous child. and the best way to prevent this is to end their oppression. Burke speaks of "power. 205 constitution. ideally through the dissolution of authoritative and arbitrary hierarchies. witch and bad mother — . and fed. which has derived its birth from no law and no necessity. and again demonstrates how easily issues of politics and gendex can become entangled. (116-17)"3 Finally. (227) Rather than a fearful plea for the status quo. he warns the French people as follows: your new commonwealth Is born. even more explicitly. rather than through benevolent By alluding to Medea. Frankenstein can be read as a dreadful warning.Burke implies that the parricidal revolutionary is feminine as well . in those corruptions which mark degenerated and worn out republics. and. murderess. and renovate their father's life. then.

treatment of the still-othered other. The creature, after
all. desires an equal.
Clearly. Frankenstein values community and equality
over Isolation and hierarchy; this is what the creature
seeks, and what the De Laceys. at their best, represent. As
well as the potential gender dichotomy, with feminine
community opposed to masculine individualism, the novel's
egalitarianism also comments on class structures and
economic systems, and can be read as a critique of
capitalism, an exploration of otherness based on class.

"Xo Money. No Friends. No Kind of Property":
Class and Otherness
While with the De Laceys. the creature discovers class
distinctions, and also realizes that he has no place In such
a system;
1 learned that the possessions most esteemed by
your fellow-creatures were, high and unsullied
descent united with riches. A man might be
respected with only one of these acquisitionsi but
without either he was considered, except in very
rare instances, as a vagabond and a slave, doomed
to waste his power for the profit of the chosen
few. And what was I? . . . I knew that I
possessed no money. no friends, no kind ox
property. I was besides, endowed with a figure
hideously deformed and loathsome. . . . 1148)
The De Laceys will not turn away the poor (159). but reject
the creature who is even lower on the social scale, having
neither money, nor rank, nor family. Indeed, he literally
lacks a name, and Is in this sense, classless — "without a
past, without identity." as Arlene Young suggests (3311. It


is interesting that the creature initially defines his

otherness as class-based, and only then associates this

marginallzatlon with his appearance. Anca Vlasooolos

connects appearance to class, noting that the degree to

which each of the three women associated with Frankenstein

can move up in social rank is directly related to her

beauty. Justine, for example, is "presumably beautiful

enough to warrant an education superior to the position of

servant for which she has been rescued, but not enough to

become an adopted daughter" (127). Although the three

Frankenstein women are allowed some degree of social

mobility based on physical appearance, beauty and

"distinction of bearing." In the case of men (Vlasopolos

126), also seem related to Inborn class.

Although the creature claims to learn about class

inequality from Felix's reading of Volney. there are

indications that he is instinctively aware of such

distinctions even before he arrives at the So Lacey cottage.

He notices, for example, the "gentle manners" of the De

Laceys. which he contrasts with the conduct of the

"barbarous villagers" C139), and also remarks that Agatha

possesses a "gentle demeanour," although this may Indeed be

retrospective — he claims Agatha is "unlike what I have

since found cottagers and farm-house servants to be" (135).

The creature also notices that Agatha's demeanour contrasts

with her coarse clothing, which indicates some knowledge of
class Issues even upon his first sight of her (135).

The suggestion that class is innate and visible relates

to Perkins's observation that, in the novel.

sympathy seems to be more with the dispossessed
than with those who are born into the lower class.
The implication, then, is that there are both
worthy and unworthy poor. If the latter are
defined as those characters who would otherwise be
ruling class (that is. if not for fate) and the
former as those with neither financial means nor
noble heritage, then Shelley's scheme becomes
somewhat problematic because of elitist overtones.

The text becomes even more problematic if one includes the

creature among the dispossessed, as Vlasopolos does, given

"his unnatural origin and consequent detachment from

existing social structures" (130): once again the creature

resists definition- His exclusion from the class system may

be a result, as Lee Heller suggests, of the "violent

potential of social instability" (337). Heller notes that

the De Laceys are "examples of appropriate lower-class

virtue — because they are not really lower class, but good

bourgeoisie whe preserve domestic virtues despite their

reduced circumstances" (335). Similarly, the three examples

of "female upward mobility" — Caroline. Elizabeth and

Justine — represent no threat to the dominant class because

they are given "a foundation In a good education consisting

of models of bourgeois domestic virtue. Thus educated.

women fulfil and are fulfilled by their social roles, and so

pose little danger of disrupting the culture and its values"

(Heller 330-31). The creature, by contrast, cannot be
assimilated into this system, but remains a threat to it.
Heller claims he "represents the criminal potential of the
uncontrolled, perhaps uncontrollable lower classes" (337).
In fact, the creature merely faces the dilemma generated by
his otherness; because he is other, those who represent the
self see him as an outsider and force him to remain outside
their society. Because he is outside their society, he must
be unredeemable, and therefore must remain outside their
society, and so on. There is no concrete indication that
the creature could not uphold bourgeois values, but the
fearful dominant class will never give him that chance, and
part of this prejudice is based on his appearance, for if
the dispossessed Agatha is beautiful, and the beautiful
social-climbers are invited into the *-anks of the
bourgeoisie, the hideous creature remains doubly lower

Just as he resembles Frankenstein in his attitudes
towards women, the creature in his admiration for the De
Laceys as a dispossessed "good family" (150) resembles his
creator in matters of class bias. He sincerely believes
that the bourgeois exiles are his superiors, and in that
sense accepts his own otherness, thus perpetuating the
submission of the lower classes to the bourgeoisie which
Frankenstein represents-

Frankenstein's attitude towards the lower classes
extends beyond the creature. as can be seen in his accounts
both of the Orkneys and of Ireland. He describes the Irish
nurse in negative terms explicitly relating to her economic
position: "her countenance expressed all those bad qualities
which often characterize that class" (203). Similarly, he
describes the conditions of Orkney peasants, "whose gaunt
and scraggy limbs gave tokens of their miserable fare"
(190), then makes the telling remark: "I lived ungazcd at
and unmolested, hardly thanked for the pittance of food and
clothes which I gave" (190). Vlasopoios points out the
irony inherent in "Mary Shelley's fine choice of "pittance.*
for which Victor expects lavish thanks" (130).
Frankenstein's relationship with these representatives of
the lower classes parallel his connection to the creature,
whom he treats. Elsie B. Mlchie maintains, as the
bourgeoisie treats the proletariat (94).
Victor's treatment of the creature reflects factory-
owners* attitudes towards their workers, who are. as Moretti
notes, a class created by the capitalist (69). Perkins
finds a similarity in the fact that "while the privileged
class . . . both supports and benefits from a socio-economic
system that gives rise to a dispossessed class . . . it has
no desire to confront (or be confronted by) the ugliness of
its workings" (36). Thus Frankenstein creates the creature,
upon whose existence the success of his experiment depends.


but at the same time, he cannot stand even to look upon his

creation. According to Moretti (69) and Warren Montag

(303), the creature represents the proletariat in his

migrancy, his artificiality, and the fact that "he lack Is]

the unity of a natural organism," being rather **a factitious

totality assembled from (the parts of) a multitude of

different individuals, in particular the 'poor," the urban

mass that. because it is a multitude rather than an

individual, is itself as nameless as Frankenstein's

creation" (Montag 3 0 3 ) . He is allowed no individuality, no

selfhood (Moretti 6 9 ) ; as Perkins notes, Frankenstein's

persistent egoism, his tendency to "collapse[] everything

into himself, denying space for others to express their

difference from him," resembles the actitude of the

bourgeois individualist (32). Frankenstein interprets the

creature's warning — "I shall be with you on your wedding

night" (195) — as a threat to his own safety, and then,

when the creature kills Elizabeth. Frankenstein again

becomes absorbed in his c«/n grief, dramatically exclaiming:

"Great God! why did I not then expire!" (220). Perhaps

most significant is Frankenstein's response to Justine's

arrest for the murder of William: "the tortures of the

accused did not equal mine" (113).

Justine's own class position is also significant. Her

adopts ori by the Frankensteins suggests that class structures

are not rigid; indeed, in her letter to Victor, Elizabeth


explains at length how "the republican institutions of

[their] country" are much more liberal, in this regard, than

those of "the great monarchies that surround it" (93).

Given the status of Shelley and her readers as subjects of a

highly class-conscious monarchy, the relevance of

Elizabeth's letter to the novel's political position is

obvious. Conspicuously Intended for the reader, as Victor

is presumably aware of his country's class system.

Elizabeth's explanation calls attention to the issue of


there is less distinction between the several
classes of . . . inhabitants; and the lower orders
being neither so poor nor so despised, their
manners are more refined and moral. A servant in
Geneva does not mean the same thing as a servant
in France and England. Justine, thus received in
our family, learned the duties of a servant: a
condition which, in our fortunate country, does
not include the Idea of ignorance, and a sacrifice
of the dignity of a human being- (93-94)

As well as reiterating Shelley's support for the Godwinian

principle that "the actions and dispositions of mankind are

the offspring of circumstances and events, and not of any

original determination" (Godwin 1:26) — specifically,

that the poor and despised will become ill-mannered and

Immoral — this passage is an implicit critique of class

Such a view, although it occurs throughout the novel,
directly contradicts the use of beauty and bearing as a sign
of inherent class superiority, and may thus be used, in
combination with Vlasopolos's argument that beauty permits
social mobility, to counter such an essentialist reading.
Again, characters in the text, particularly Frankenstein
himself, see otherness as inherent, while the text itself
realizes such distinctions are artificial.

firmly situating them on the side of what Perkins calls "a kind of paternalistic compromise: that is. that of servants in "France and England" by implication does. the abuses of the privileged class can be rectified through charitable obligation to those less fortunate" (36). but the actions of a disloyal servant. even in republican Geneva. Elizabeth's defense of Justine only strengthens the case against her. Elizabeth's apparent awareness of class issues is made to seem naive. 213 hierarchy in Shelley's own country. "Ingratitude" signifies not only a transgression against the bourgeois standards of filial duty. Justine now becomes a "aonstor" (114) guilty of offenses against what is. the letter exonerates the Frankensteins from any charge of outright class-based exploitation. perceived as the natural order of things. a crime which may be worse than murder in its effect on social hierarchies. and their position does not involve ignorance and indignity. when Justine is accused of William's murder. proving Hatlen"s point that "bourgeois society has ended by recreating patriarchy" ("Patriarchy" 4 2 ) . Finally. . then. Justine can never truly escape her position as lower-class other. Despite Elizabeth's earlier optimism. however. If servants in Switzerland are not degraded. The difference between Justine's trial and Victor's Irish experience is also worth noting. for now she can also be accused of "ingratitude" (112).

-from the mind . unthinkable: "who slhall conceive the horrors of my secret toll. The creature is the ultimate "representation of materiality" (Michie 96). of labour. like Sin from the mind of Satan. while the eldest son of the respectable Frankenstein family never faces the same danger from the Irish." and supplied with materials from "the dissecting room and the slaughter-house" (83). To the list of proletarian characteristics compiled from Montag and Moretti. I would add his association with the body. Frankenstein recoils from labour that seems to him obscene. or tortured the . like Eve from the side of Adam" ("Patriarchy" 3 3 ) . . Victor literally assembles the creature from his component parts. his difference being inscribed on his monstrous form. while in fact. he literally embodies the class other. and he emphasizes what he sees as the disgustingly material nature of the task.As a member of the bourgeoisie. The creature is similarly fixed in a lower class position. as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave. indeed. whom he sees as other (Vlasopolos 131). both in being the product of Frankenstein's work and in his own hideously oversized bodily existence. like the Son from the mind of God. Hatlen claims that the creature "leaps fi=ll-grown. . the opposite is true.. completed in his "workshop of filthy creation. of his creator — like Athena from the head of Zeus. 214 the Genevan public condemns the female servant.

He confirms Frankenstein's view of his bodily nature when he refers to "that series of disgusting circumstances" which led to his creation (157). referring to the creature as a "filthy mass that moved and talked" (174). and his physical weakness. emphasis added). References to his "odious and loathsome person" (157) and "hideously deformed" figure (14S) indicate that the creature accepts Frankenstein's othering of the materiality associated with labour. citing rather "the possessions most esteemed by your fellow- creatures" (148. the work of manufacture" (309)- Victor shows a similar disgust. Often. clothing and sheXter differ from Frankenstein's intellectual pursuits. and his focus on material things such as food. although he does not claim the human class system as his own. The creature is an undeniably physical entity. of course. his domesticity. The creature's frightening size. for the product of his transgressive material labour. as Montag observes. "material activity associated with the workshop. from. Frankenstein himself "turn[s] with loathing from [his] occupation" (83). The reader seldom sees Frankenstein engaged in the physical aspects of daily . 215 living animal to animate the lifeless clay?" (83). a "massive material object [who] does not present a smooth surface but is clearly fissured. his strength. showing the sutures that join it together as an assemblage of heterogenous parts" (Mlchle 96).

my stature far exceeded theirs. perhaps kill. The Xcgro. and portraying him as stronger. . The most obvious evidence for such a reading is. as H. Racial Otherness Associating the creature with the physical. both of which contrast with exotic dark hair and pearly white teeth ( 8 6 ) . a European.216 life. fit the "standard description of the black man" (102): I was not even of the same nature as man. brute-like strength and size of limbs featured prominently. and could subsist upon coarser diet. he has yellow skin and black lips. it was said. I bore the extremes of heat and cold with less injury to my frame. .L.. . which is highly visible and significantly associated with colour. or desire snore than his simple subsistence. the creature's physical difference. . Slavery. . faster. just that he Is denied such less material pleasures. I was more agile than they. that the creature does not think in the abstract. Malchow notes. This is not to say. of course. "A Race of Devils'": Colonialism. of course. Moreover some apologists for slavery defended a subsistence slave diet of maize and water with the . and more sexually aggressive than his human creator also associates him with the racial other. (148) Malcnow compares the creature's attributes with the nineteenth century's general image of the Xegro body in which repulsive features. had more brute strength than the white asan and could stand the heat of the tropics which would enervate. while they are the creature's primary concerns. . The creature describes himself in terms which.

217 claim that the Negro race did not require the white man's luxuries of meat and drink. nevertheless. In fact. but one which. a view not necessarily supported by the text as a whole. "was not . while Frankenstein. the spectre of brute cruelty is also present in the image of the violent creature. once again suggesting — however tenuously — saorc than one view of the natural. . for example. image of the racial other. presents the creature as a "compound of both sides of the slavery debate" (105). Shelley's text offers a much less problematic presentation of this view than Le Fanu's. who remains associated with nature. In particular on fears and hopes of the abolition of slavery in the West Indies" (90). rather than contesting the virtues of nature.*"3 Frankenstein's creature. also resembles this figure of "pre- civillzed innocence" (Malchow 93). before he is corrupted by abuse. The creature see? himself as "naturally" good but corrupted by society. alternative. as Malchow mentions. Malchow realizes that Shelley's novel. chooses instead to view the creature as unnatural. The creature at his most oppressed also represents the ""This image is in keeping with the view of virtuous nature discussed in reference to Carmilla. fire being associated not only with political revolution but with slave revolts (Malchow 1083. perhaps less negative. Thus Frankenstein conflates the image of the natural man with that of "the black as a destructive force" (Malchow 108}. seen in the burning of the De Laceys" cottage. . However. . which "dr[aws] upon contemporary attitudes towards non-whites. cultures" (Malchow 93): the Image of the "natural man. (103-05) The final part of this description relates to another. a validation of other.

It Is readily apparent to which of these views of the creature as racial other Frankenstein subscribes. Frankenstein creates the creature as the first of another race he dreams of commanding (82) and expresses many of his anxieties concerning the creature in racial terms. Indeed. 218 abolitionists' "image of the Other. a fear similar to that present in Dracula. Ills excessive and unspeakable guilt is typical of the imperialist. is interesting because his is an imperialist project. and his fear of "a race of devils" (192) Indicates not only a fear of sexuality. The fact that he calls himself a slave to his experiment. again resentful of his loss of autonomy (85). a special kind of childlike. in an environment where nature provided unlimited sustenance. and racially stronger other who may colonize the colonizers. Similarly. breeding like animals at a rate unrestrained by decency" (Malchow 1 1 3 ) . Frankenstein's dread that the female creature may choose human men for her mates represents a . Kranzler suggests that "Victor's refusal to build a reproductive mate for his monster [is] a primitive (though effective) form of practical eugenics" (-46). With the anxiety of reverse colonization in mind. but of the reproducing. suffering and degraded being" (Malchow 9 9 ) . part of the anxiety Frankenstein feels regarding the creature's future family plans relates to the nineteenth-century racist image of "blacks free from the discipline of the white master.

Clerval studies the Orientalists. rather than "a savage inhabitant . The fact that Elizabeth is killed on her wedding night makes her murder an Image of rape as well. who in the 1831 edition is notably "very fair" in contrast to the "dark-eyed.the 1831 edition plans to visit India. and Frankenstein admits to having made his creature "proportionably large" (82) in keeping with the contemporary view that "the Negro was both particularly libidinous and possessed of unusually large genitalia" (Malchow 111). the means of materially assisting the progress of European colonisation and trade. Malchow notes that "the threat that white women might be brutalized by over-sexed black men of great strength and size became a cliche of racist writing" (112). a connection that is more subtly presented through Walton. and in the views he had taken of its society. Walton believes he Is travelling through "a land never before Imprinted by the foot of man" (50). If Frankenstein's anxiety regarding the creature as racial other marks him as a colonizer. in the belief that he had in his knowledge of its various languages. the English explorer. (158) That last sentence associates Shelley's England with oppressive colonialism. and Is surprised that Frankenstein is a European. and ir. hardy little vagrants" with whom she is raised (34). In Britain only could he further the execution of his plan. 219 characteristic fear of miscegenation. less obvious but still present in the creature's own sexualized threat to Elizabeth. his male counterparts are similarly imperialistic.

Her mother is "a Christian Arab" (151) and therefore acceptable. who generally plays the role of the colonized. Safie. the creature too has a colonial dream. arid presumably to reproduce (173). which he couches In terms of Utopia when he vows to take his mate to "uninhabited" South America. as a sexual tyrant. the creature.a description that better suits "the other traveller" (57). racial other. and the fact that he apparently shares Safie's sympathy for the plight of North American natives (147). the Turk. . each cheek tinged with a lovely pink" (144). domesticated racial other. 220 of some undiscovered island" (57) -. as does her daughter. and it is here that the treatment of this otherness becomes decidedly less radical than it may seem if the creature is placed In the position of racial other. Safie's "complexion lis] wondrously fair. of course. Shelley echoes her nother's expression of liberal feminism in blatantly orientalist terms in portraying Safie's father. even the "explicitly radical1" Volney (McWhir 813 refers to "slothful Asiatics" (Frankenstein 1 4 7 ) . Surely anyone truly perceived as racially other would not be so easily assimilated. Indeed. Despite this position. and she blends in well with the De Laceys. representing. is the most obvious site of racial otherness in the novel. learning their language and a very western view of history. to settle there. a safe.

. Hegel refers to master and slave. The creature's incomplete education "[teaches] him self-contempt just as the little education given the plantation black or freed slave served merely to reinforce his own awareness of inferiority'" (113). The creature's lack of an independent identity is relevant in the context of Hegel's master—slave dialectic. and its essential nature is to be for itself. Perkins notes that the parallel with Frankenstein is not absolute. Because the creature believes himself inferior. . "Patriarchy" 42-43). The education of slaves is another issue which Malchow discusses: "knowledge is power. is not. who receives the same education as Safie. The creature confirms Hatlen"s view when he addresses Frankenstein thus: "from you only could I hope for succour . [He] demands that his creator either give him the self he lacks or give him an Other of his own so that he can become autonomous" (Hatlen. respectively. the other is dependent. 221 the creature. and its essence is life or existence for another" (234). as follows: "the one is independent. however: although the creature depends on his creator for existence . emphasis added). and the withholding of instruction was a highly symbolic entrenchment of the master-slave relationship" (116—17). he "continues to look beyond himself for an identity and therefore remains dependent upon his creator. fO]n you only had I any claim for pity" (167.

the freedom which defines him. identifying himself with the "slave. Frankenstein "neither depends upon the monster's labour r. The slave is by definition other. Howard P. The creature initially participates in his own othering." although "he might be seen as dependent upon and a beneficiary of class oppression (in which the monster represents the oppressed classes)" (41nl). This process is apparent in Frankenstein. both dependent on the creature's existence. for the master. paradoxically. as the slave achieves self-consciousness. as is the self uprn the other. Kainz refers to the master-slave relationship as "a temporary symbiotic relationship which is continually tending towards its own reversal" (89).or is beneficiary of anything the monster produces. existing only as proof of the master's independent identity. 222 and identity. doomed to waste his powers for the . the slave "is. and one cannot ignore that the original experiment was to have brought the scientist glory and personal satisfaction (69). The need for self-definition through the other means that. the object which embodies the truth of his certainty of himself" (Hegel 236). predicated on the fact that the master's subjectivity and the slave's subjectivity are mutually exclusive. the master is then dependent on the slave. The master-slave dialectic is an othering process. Frankenstein also depends on the creature as an other against which to define himself.

however. shall curse the sun that gazes on your misery. you believe yourself miserable. the creature swears to be revenged: You can blast my other passions: but revenge remains — revenge. Later. — obey! (194) When It becomes apparent that Frankenstein will not do as he commands. has "nothing to lose" (30). Beware. my tyrant and tormentor. . as Perkins notes. . Hegel's dialectic is truly realized. At this point. calling himself "the slave of [his] creature" (194). This vow "signifies the reversal ef the roaster-slave relationship" (Rieder 28}. a condition which recalls the master's lack of fear. but I can make you so wretched that the light of day will be hateful to you. henceforth dearer than light or food! I may die. and thus "constitutes the source of his power" (Perkins 30). but first you. remember that I have power. for I am fearless and therefore powerful. You are my creator. but I am your master. he declares: "mine shall not be the submission of abject slavery" (172). but It is the creature who best articulates the now- reversed relationship between them: slave . the creature becomes the master and Frankenstein the slave. (195) These words again recall Hegel's definition of the master. as well as the fact that Frankenstein has previously . The creature. Frankenstein realizes the nature of his position. 223 profit of the chosen few" (148). in Hegel (233). and willingness to die. because the creature is now "in a position to demand Victor's labour (as in his request for a companion) and then to punish him for his refusal to comply" (Perkins 41nl).

then." a fact which Perkins calls "a salient feature of the master-slave dialectic" (37). as Malchow notes. illustrating "that both the oppressor and the oppressed are dehumanized in their respective roles." seen as characteristic of the racial other. Elizabeth and Alphonse. He also promises "tears of gratitude" in return for humankind's acceptance (172). Unfortunately. the counterpart to this "thirst for revenge. . as they alternate in the roles of pursuer and pursued. . Here. 224 occupied the position he will again take when he begins his own vengeful pursuit of the creature after the deaths of Clerval." or racial other (111). . is the "capacity for loving gratitude" (106). According to Malchow. Although "xn contemporary abolitionist rhetoric it is possible to find positive images of the black as a powerful force for justifiable vengeance rather than a mere supplicating child. The creature confirms this image of the racial other in his entreaty to Frankenstein: "let me feel gratitude towards you for one benefit" (172). Malchow notes that "a manic preoccupation with avenging grievances" is also a "supposed characteristic[] of the primitive. both creature and creator assume the "the character of the savage" (Malchow 111). this image of the grateful freed slave. this perspective remained somewhat exceptional" (Malchow 108) In favour of the "projection of gratitude" (119). although not a source of fear to be .

as Malchow argues. encouraged by the self. [Wjhile the gift of liberation transforms the slave into a free man. . as one of "the reasons why the struggles of the Other toward liberation here end in failure" (Hatlen. ."is inevitably sti^l on his knees as a grateful man and a younger brother. although both occur in her text. it does so only through the good offices of white. (119) 2 * In his dependence on Frankenstein. middle- and upper-class patrons. 225 met with violent oppression. the creature indeed relies on benevolent paternalism rather than "self-help. rather than by self-help. "Patriarchy" 4 2 ) . "reflects contemporary ambiguity or confusion about the racial Other" (127). ." but the text itself reveals this abject dependence. in this context [it] inevitably lent its weight to the construction of " This image of the other kneeling gratefully to the benevolent self also bears an eerie resemblance to the portrait of Caroline Frankenstein. protection or education in the Christian virtues of patience and forbearance are expected to return benevolent condescension with self-abasing thankfulness and loyalty. however. . that because Frankenstein "entered popular culture at a time of shiftxng racial and ethnocentric attitudes . which. Malchow writes: The recipients of liberation. In this relationship the idealized black. . There is no Indication that Shelley supports either the image of the destructive racial other or of the grateful freed slave. though a 'man and a brother. similarly "invokes the classic colonizer mentality" (119). Malchow also believes. .

rather than with Frankenstein.. Malchow states that the depth of [the creature's] rage and destructlveness seems to stem from niore than environment and frustration: it suggests an inherent bestiality lurking somewhere. Notwithstanding his hideous appearance. Hegel's master-slave dialectic is itself subversive in its very reversibility. How much the monster's excitable character is the result of his unique physiology. Here one might argue quite plausibly for an abolitionist rendering of the image of the monster. (105) Later in his article. and how much of his environment. . but . a capacity to learn. so that creature and creator become indistfnguishable. The dialectic indicates the interdependence of self and other. that Shelley's text challenges the Idea of racial otherness in a number of ways.. In addition. is an ambiguity which exactly parallels the central conundrum of the anti- slavery debates. even Malchow admits that Shelley's monster is no mere ape-man. and feelings of right and wrong. (105) In fact the text itself presents no such ambiguity. however. I would argue. he is a man dreadfully wronged by a society which cannot see the Inner man for the outer form. however. the reader is clearly expected t o sympathize with the creature in his various capacities as other. as Frankenstein's relationship with the creature shows. Victor may believe that the creature is innately destructive. He has an innate desire for knowledge. 226 sensational (and more firmly pejorative) aspects of 'race* in the popular nineteenth-century mind" (127). . the fluid roles of self and other become "interchangeable . and . mutually self-destructive" (Rieder 2 8 ) .

such was Godwin's view. wrenched by misery to vice and hatred" (243). or at least. that of his daughter. and also. . and hence Victor at the end has a measure of justification for seeking to destroy him. expel. first by the scientist. whether in Shelley's novel or in contemporary propaganda. Post-colonial critic Spivak offers an interesting argument to the contrary: "No perspective critical of imperialism can turn the Other into a self. and then by culture. . which lead to his crimes. Vlasopolos writes: That the monster commits atrocities of his own is undeniable. then. . of Frankenstein. Finally. Better the creature. Malchow seems to suggest that all representations of the racial other. . but it is that declaration. than the easily—accepted Safie. are negative because they perpetuate the idea of racial difference. The creature tells Walton that "[his] heart was . which can be read as racial. because the project of imperialism has always already historically refracted what might have been the absolutely Other into a domesticated Other that consolidates the Imperialist self" (253). and kill him do not begin as a consequence of his crimes . but as a result of his appearance. I think. (132) Humankind declares the creature other on the basis of his biological traits. . But the attempts on the monster's life and the desire to punish.the reader literally wxtnesses hxs creation. and his consequent exclusion from society.

as such "suggests that no matter how well-intentioned the makers of revolutionary dreams are. in which she states that "Shelley has grounded her alternative political ideology on the metaphor of the peaceful. Such negative Interpretations. for example. It is a text populated with dead women and failed revolutionaries. these ideas will create only horror when they are put Into practice" (Weissman. In a similar vein. loving. as Paul Sherwin puts it. bourgeois family . argue that the text's tragedy is intended as a warning against challenges to the status quo. and the creature represents so many aspects of so many types of otherness. [and] thereby implicitly endorsed a . . and. Frankenstein warns the reader that Victor Frankenstein's unnatural attempt to create life is an act of arrogance punishable by the deaths of Frankenstein's beloved family and friends. . Because. 228 "The Monster Whom I Had Created": The Othering Process and the Text's Response Malchow*s belief that Frankenstein can be used to uphold a conservative position regarding the racial other illustrates a theme which is more common in criticism of the novel than one might think. and by his own eternal guilt" (21). Judith A.Spector writes: "Deeply conservative. Some interpretations. it is difficult to establish the novel's own position regarding the other. Half Savage 1 3 Q ) . as well as the positive but equally conservative one Mellor offers. "nothing is simple or single" (883).

impacable [sic] image of the master. who can see his creature only as a slave. into selfhood. Hatlen*s analysis of how Shelley "dramatizes . . . as object. "Patriarchy" 4 2 ) . While this may be the case. Frankenstein consistently reveals the working of the otherxng process and how it damages both other and self. ("Patriarchy" 42) Through Frankenstein's construction and animation of the creature. into language. . as Vlasopolos puts it "monsters can be manufactured as easiXy by social systems as by men In laboratories" (130). Shelley literalizes the mechanism by which the dominant society creates the other. are based on the fact that "the struggle of the Other . . in Victor Frankenstein. is futile" (Hatlen. she has also at least implicitly pointed beyond the sterile struggle of master and slave toward an alternative world of equality and cooperation. The Issues of social responsibility raised by the text are even more significant when the other is revealed as the product of the self's demand for power and autonomy. critics who cite the text's lack of solution as proof of its conservatism fail to notice that Shelley. 229 conservative vision of gradual evolutionary reform" (Mary Shelley 8 3 ) . . unlike her protagonist. as Other. And in working through to its disastrous end the struggle between the two. is more interested in process than in product. But she has also here given voice to the Other itself. an inflexible. revealing that. a revelation which in itself serves as a social critique. as w e follow the Monster's groping movements into consciousness. the operations of [the master—slave] dialectic" is but one example: Shelley gives us.

perhaps . . for example. been called into being. without retribution. shaped and perhaps deformed to serve his needs?" (114. Frankenstein. the moral obligation of providing for the welfare and education of those who are dependent upon him and who have. in other vords. Certainly Frankenstein *s creature is the most sympathetic other portrayed in any of these texts. patron or employer escape. of the shadow-self locked within consciousness" COatcs 553). but hard to define. slave-master. in some sense at least. cannot. because these relationships blur these distinctions. the "demoniacal corpse" (87). "to which I had so miserably given life" (87). and "the monster" (91). 230 Malchow asks: "Can any parent. of course. of the other within the self. emphasis added). and "on whom I had bestowed existence" (91). with phrases such as "whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form" (86). as well as the other created by the self. . although he implicitly acknowledges his role In the creature's development by consistently modifying his obviously othering references to "the wretch" <86). Shelley's text demonstrates the disastrous effects of "the denial of responsibility for onc'si actions. . even eoorc so than in the other texts I have considered. for example. as well as the more succinct "whom I had created" (87). which occurs even more frequently. The number of relationships based on "doubling" makes the relationship between the self and the other apparent.

Walton's behaviour leads us. and. when in fact. but permits him to attempt an explanation of his actions. but Wary Shelley. the discrepancy between words and action is also a major theme of Frankenstein. was more profoundly othered than any of them. yet the captain not only allows him to live. for example). Admittedly. to create a sympathetic other. to what is perhaps the most important unfulfilled declaration. this voice does not always speak the truth. given the pattern Newman . Polidori. and the unwed mother of the child of a third. and more likely. and Frankenstein fails to do so. because a woman. eloquent voice" (Rieder 2 8 ) . and. the daughter of two famous radicals. the reader does not witness the creature's suicide. Surprisingly. more able. Similarly. 231 because of its author's own otherness. manifest both In plot Incidents. Le Fanu and Stoker may have experienced anxiety about their own positions as an Anglo—Italian Catholic and Anglo-Irishmen respectively. which Newman does not mention: the creature's announcement that he will immolate himself (246). and in the structure of the novel itself. The creature has Frankenstein promise to make a mate for him. consequently. Newman characterizes the text in terms of broken promises (154). Frankenstein exacts Walton's promise to kill the creature. of course. to whom she gives "an angry. many critics take this at face value (Moretti 71. such as Justine's failed defense.

many Issues discussed. not least the open ending. whether Frankenstein survives or not. like that of The Vampyre. Richard Brinsley Peake's 1823 melodrama adaptation of Shelley's novel. class or race. In any case. or The Bride of the Isles. for example. but their fates call attention to gender-based " That any refusal of closure Is radical is indicated by the nervous response such ambiguity produces in members of the dominant class. eliminates many of the original ambiguities. particularly when it occurs in popular entertainment. whether based on gender. . the novel's open ending. in critical essays which fail to accept the final note of irresolution - . Despite its penchant for sequels. Some feminist critics. to disguise or erase the social problems inherent in any kind of othering order to defuse its subversive potential. Jn Peake's version. I agree with his assessment that "Shelley's refusal to proclaim the freedom of the Other is in fact one of the strengths of her book" ("Patriarchy" 4 3 ) . Shelley demonstrates how a hierarchial system destroys those It designates as other. entitled Presumption. Unlike critics who read Frankenstein as a critique of transgression. 232 observes. Hollywood."1 Shelley offers no solutions. is a false promise. there also apply to the similar domestication of Frankenstein on stage and screen — and indeed. or The Fate of Frankenstein. as Hatlen notes. My appendix to chapter one discusses "domesticating" changes to Polidori's radically open-ended text in Planch6"s melodrama adaptation The Vampire. it is entirely possible that this too. as Hatlen notes. both Frankenstein and the creature arc killed in an avalanche (425)„ thus unequivocally reestablishing order. has a tendency to kill the creature in the end. is proof of its radicality. may protest the lack of power in Frankenstein * s doomed women. too. The radical element of the novel's unwillingness to present a solution Is Its refusal.

may function to critique the society which. innocent woman serves a social critique . Although such a reading makes Elizabeth dead more interesting than Elizabeth alive. cultural norms are reconfirmed or secured. rather than on the hope of liberation" ("Patriarchy" 43) . puts them at risk. . because more realistic. or because the sacrifice of the dangerous woman reestablishes an order that was momentarily suspended due to her presence. whose deaths truly signify a return to the patriarchal status quo. In this way. . "Patriarchy" 2 5 ) . In this way. followed by a u t o p a n state. like that in Frankenstein. Frankenstein's fiancee may. non-violent overthrow of tyranny. . "critique of the total cultural and psychological system that in our society sustains relations of inequality" (Hatlen. Bronfen notes the significance of the high mortality rate of fictional heroines: over her dead body. . "dangerous" women. Frankenstein does more to reveal the violent nature of arbitrary power and hierarchical relations than to suggest solutions: its emphasis. whether because the sacrifice of the virtuous. (181) The death of stereotypically perfect women such as Elizabeth Lavcnza. Frankenstein is not critical of revolutionary intent. is "on protest against tyranny . however. Frankenstein may be a more socially relevant. than Percy Shelley's Prometheus Unbound. then. as Hatlen observes. which suggests the spontaneous. but . be more radical than Dracula's more assertive. 233 oppression which is figuratively if not literally fatal.

a conclusion which would suggest an antircvolutionary return to the safety of the status quo. "Patriarchy" 43) Admittedly. (Hatlen. and therefore she devotes herself to unmasking the effects of such social Institutions and mental habits on our action rather than to proclaiming a new order. Many critics argue that Walton Is the novel's hope for redemption (Zonana 78-79.4 2 ) . 234 nowhere . . and moral excellence to brutal vengeance and evil" (Seed 340) suggests the Instability of all culturally- established boundaries. having Frankenstein himself demonstrate a certain ambivalence . the original edition does not finish on such a clearly moral note. Mclnerney 470. . The reversals and contrasts which make up Its structure always work in a negative direction. common among many writers (Percy Shelley not least). Brennan 4 1 . Creation suddenly reverses into destruction. . and so on" (Seed 3 4 0 ) . "swings from high ideals. The fact that the novel. do we find that tendency. to assume that a verbal declaration ef freedom suffices to break the bonds of tyranny. it Is an incomplete interpretation. Mary Shelley recognizes that a premature declaration of the end of tyranny can blind us xo the ways in which traditional institutions and habits of thought control our lives. the desire to procreate into the desire to murder. including those between self and other. as Seed notes. While this is certainly one — more conservative — aspect of Shelley's ending. . a "resolution of the conflict between ambition and the need for intieracy1" (Clarldge 2 3 ) . the result initially appears to be a "profoundly pessimistic view of man. Firstly.

For his part.The death of the creator finally allows the creature to be autonomous. to sympathize. like the novel itself. Just before his death. I think. with whom we are intended. nor with Victor's revolutionary project. Generally. 235 towart-s his project. and avoid ambition. except that Frankenstein immediately recants it with the view that "fhej ha[s] [harajself been blasted in these hopes. Walton seems less to have reformed than to have capitulated. . [the creature] is never fully contained" (•lodges 15S). If the creature Is necessarily other to Frankenstein's self. This remark would suggest a conservative. As "a figure of disruption. yet another might succeed" (242). then it is possible that. If there is any hope. he becosaes a self in his own right. upon Frankenstein's death. but with the creature's possible survival. he tells Walton to "seek happiness in tranquillity. The persistence of otherness in the form of the creature suggests both that no resolution is possible and that the other need not be assimilated. which he does not see as a complete waste. a sense of uncertainty pervades the novel's ending. even it be only the apparently Innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries" (241—42). it lies not with Walton's eventual conformity to a domestic Ideal. killed or domesticated (Spivak 258). and obviously regards his failure with bitter disappointment (235). anti-revolutionary moral. particularly for the other.

. as it often is. The abhorrence and cruelty he Inspires illustrate society's desire to destroy its pariahs. What it docs not mention is the tact that these typical responses. who is neither absorbed nor eliminated. have no effect upon the creature. . otherness as a social construct. "the creature [could] not take responsibility for his own actions or destiny" (McWhir 7 9 ) . thus forsaking what McWhir refers to as his previous "whining dependence" (79). in the "darkness and distance" at the edge of culture. (132) This assessment of the creature's function as other. and all of humankind. in the end. gigantic foundling. . impoverished. and questions the traditional responses to. . in its response to the other -- not to be confused. whatever its sincerity. as well as of the typical responses to otherness. he also declares his autonomy. The text. with the characters' responses to otherness — challenges many assumptions about. with his declaration of suicidal Intent. 236 To this point. . for his actions. mankind will make no room for a deformed. and his plan to emigrate suggests the pariahs" hopes of life through voluntary expulsion from civilization. in which the degree of its violent suppression is directly proportional to the degree to which the dominant society views it as threatening is accurate. as well as his tendency to blame his creator. or eliminated (Justine). . Vlasopolos writes: challenges to societal norms arc absorbed (Safie) . In the monster's case his irrepressible existence raises a specter of unrest which demands the most oppressive response. but persists somewhere in the shadows.

. the United States of America" with "a somewhat high social position . .* version of the author's name. Appear so Strange to You and You to Us": Otherness in The Coming Race Edward Bulwer-Lytton's The Coming Race (1871) relates the experiences of "a native of . . the centre of the earth becomes "an alternative locus where the hidden problems of the social system would be incarnated . Examining issues such as evolution and the rights of women. before the publication of The Coming Race. In the form of an alternative history" (347). . The novel's Immense popularity — it sold four thousand copies in its first two years of publication and "was reprinted constantly to 1875. For Lytton." Given that he was created Lord Lytton in 1866. he is referred to variously as "Bulwer.the eldest of three sons" (1) who enters a subterranean world where he encounters the Vril-ya. ." "Bulwer-Lytton" and "Lytton. 237 CHAPTER FIVE "We . . as Suvln suggests. a scientifically advanced society in which the use of the mysterious force called "Vril" has apparently solved all the social problems of Lytton's own age. . "articulate[s] the social discourse of the Victorian upper classes . The Coming Race. and that I believe his peerage significant to the politics of the novel. . . explained or explained away" (Suvin 347): another case. . and thus subjected to costless public scrutiny. I have chosen the latter- . There is some confusion as to the standa**. and again in and after 1886" (Suvln 349) — is evidence of its cultural relevance. as well as more general political theory.

If Jonathan Harker is out of place in Dracula's Transylvania. He has no way of returning to the surface. Similarly. besides being more overtly political in its intention. whose science also makes them dangerous. The Coming Race differs from the other texts 1 have considered in the degree to which its human protagonist is himself othered. The engineer's body is subsequently carried off by a giant reptile native to the centre of the earth and the narrator. His only companion. also a narrator. the fact that the reader never discovers his human name signifies this otherness much as the namelessness of Frankenstein's creature. as "the rope and grappling hooks still l[iej where they ha£ve] fallen" and "it [is] impossible to re-attach them to the rock above" (17). Lytton*s nameless narrator is much more so among the Vril-ya. are clear evidence of his otherness to which he constantly calls attention. 238 then. However. marks him as other. in his own words. and also grants them the . is left "alone in this strange world" (7). "the engineer. of using the figure of the other to explore the concerns of the self. The narrator's isolation and helplessness in the midst of the technologically superior Vril-ya. The narrator's lack of a name reinforces the Vril- ya "s view of him as a non-person." dies in a fall immediately upon descending the chasm that connects the world of the Vril-ya to the mine shaft in his own (6).

and explicit otherness among the Vril-ya. 239 additional power of naming hlra in their own language. with its quasi- communist organization and apparent social egalltarianism. by extension. as is the blurred line distinguishing that . Sometimes the satire is masked. The result is a text in which the position of the other is highly unstable. As William C. a conservative satire of contemporary Utopian thought (Campbell 126). however. on the surface. The Coming Race is "sometimes . because it allows the audience to sympathize with a figure who is othered. subversively encourage identification with those whom Lytton's own society considered other. destabilizes the binary opposition between self and other. . Rubinstein observes. . an identification strengthened by the first-pexson narrative. Even as the reader sympathizes with the first-person narrator. . whom he himself considers to be other. as Frankenstein can choose his terms for the creature- Paradoxically. The narrator's otherness among the Vril—ya. complicating what is.. This "double othering" has interesting effects. openly satirical. . . as well as the society of the Vril—ya. and might. . Lytton mocks and satirizes him. At other times the characters are simply mouthpieces for the author's ideas" (418). the narrator's namelessness allows the reader to view him as an "everyman" with whom s/he can identify. . Thus the narrator simultaneously represents "normality" in relation to the audience.

rather than endorsing a return to them through his escape. with its "strange vegetation" (8). which are explicitly foreign in that they most closely resemble "Egyptian Jackson writes: "[fantastic literature] does not introduce novelty. its otherness is apparent. He first describes the landscape. 240 other from the normal self. is far more complex than those who term it merely a "conservative dystopia" (Campbell 133) would believe.This definition of the fantastic is connected not only to the genre's subversive potential. not like any species of deer now extant above the earth" (9). extends to the distant "forms that appear . and sees a "curious animal about the size and shape of a deer [but] . From the moment the narrator enters the world of the Vril—ya. The Coming Race. which initially presents the other as object. the narrator proceeds to the buildings. and relates to Jackson's definition of the 2 fantastic. . This uncertainty. to Lytton"s use of otherness as a vehicle to reveal and explore Victorian social issues. then. illustrated by the narrator's descriptions of this world's features as familiar but not. although the novel's treatment of its alternative society is conservative. Close analysis reveals both that the Vril-ya are far less radical than they initially seem. its portrayal of the narrator's interaction with the Vril-ya subverts orthodox values. so much as uncover all that needs to emain hidden if the world is to be comfortably "known*" (Fantasy 65). In his methodical description of the landscape.human" (9. . but. emphasis added).. as I hope will become clear. and that. ..

and I do not think it unreasonable to assume this may be the case here. when spelt "demon" rather than "daemon" can also signify a specifically evil spirit. the two terms are synonymous. Again the narrator's first response is the characteristic uncertainty." the first of many comparisons between Vril—ya society and the Oriental. in which the narrator's increasing proximity to the Vril—ya community corresponds to his increasing awareness of the place's otherness. the latter. however. ilXustrated by the narrator's inability to decide whether this creature is "Genius or Demon. filmed from a copy of the original 1871 American . I have not been able to satisfactorily determine Lytton"s original spelling. Because there are so few accessible editions of The Coming Race." a benevolent entity or a dangerous one. 241 architecture. culminates in his first encounter with a Vril-ya man. demonstrates the ambivalent attitude towards otherness that persists throughout Lytton*s novel. yet are of another race" (10). admittedly unreliable. This description. in terms of classical mythology. to use the Vril-ya term. The fact •Vhile. as from one of the buildings emerges "a form — human — was it human?" (10). He describes the An as follows: "it reminded me of symbolical images of Genius or Demon that are seen on Etruscan vases or limmed [sic] on the walls of Eastern sepulchres — Images that borrow the outlines of man. The gradual narrative journey. Clymer's 1971 edition of Lytton*s novel. more convincing is the fact that the CIHM microform edition. besides repeating the orientalist comparison that makes of the Vril- ya a beautiful and exotic people. or An. denoting inspirational or protective spirits. certainly omits the "a".

more like that of the red man than any other variety of our species and yet different from it — a richer and a softer hue. and often contradictory. To illustrate. the word seems to indicate evil spirits. does the same.. following a more prolonged description." and inspiring both "terror and wild excitement" (21).cc! It was THAT which inspired my awe and my terror. Similarly.But the F'. 242 that the An resembles a human being." although the ironic connotation of an attendant spirit with connections to its mortal companion's Inner self Is obvious to the reader- . Indeed. I shall quote at length from the passage in which the narrator describes his initial encounter with the An: It was tall. intellectual.." and again. despite the spelling. characterizes the various. yet is definitely not human. responses to the other. Lytton*s earlier career as a Gothic novelist clearly demonstrates an interest in the demonic as a manifestation of evil. again establishing what will prove to be a recurrent pattern. akin to "fiends and witches. In addition. Its color was peculiar. not gigantic.The nearest approach to it in outline and expression is the face of the sculptured sphinx — so regular In its calm. It is also worth noting that Frankenstein frequently refers to his creature as a "daemon". concerning a possible blurring of the distinction between the self and the other. but yet of a type of man distinct from our known extant races. the narrator's response to the An. reflects anxieties comparable to those present in the other texts I have discussed. although not without its attractive side (Christensen 64-65). edition. mysterious beauty. The Coming Race contains a reference to "be[ingj brought into bodily contact with demons.It was the face of malt. it seems he intends it as a synonym for "monster" and "devil. but tall as the tallest men below the height of giants .

it introduces. its most obvious form of otherness. Also. besides being typically mysterious. admittedly. many of the relevant issues the novel will address. the figure is exotic. an appropriate image of simultaneous beauty and danger. the serpent reference has more sinister connotations. But a nameless something In the aspect. The reference to "the red man" is interesting in terms of the frequency with which the novel contrasts "civilization" and "barbarism" or "savagery." immediately demonstrating the ambivalence he will display towards this other throughout the novel. deep and brilliant and brows arched as a semi- circle." and fascination. which . one which reflects both cultural anxieties and forbidden desire. which the sight of a tiger or serpent arouses. in The Coming Race. he is in "terror. black eyes. While the tiger is. tranquil though the expression and beauteous though the features. (10-11) This passage can be read as a microcosm of the presentation of otherness. roused that instinct of danger. The superhuman nature of the An evokes the narrator's "awe. and the response to it. I felt that this manlike image was endowed with forces INIMICAL to man. 243 with large. almost feminized. but at the same time. which will be significant in view of the novel's consideration of gender." deliberately in the context of the racial other. the narrator describes the same being in animal terms. Even as he falls to his knees in supplication to this superior being. The face was beardless. I fell on my knees and covered my face with my hands. or alludes to.

when the narrator ceases to look at the A n and becomes merely the object of that being's gaze. 244 arouse suspicion in the reader. A s Altick notes. much as Frankenstein does when the creature covers his eyes In the field of ice. Although T h e Origin of Species cakes reference to "progress towards perfection" {459). this description starts out by placing the An in the position of art object — gives way to an extreme surrender to his emotions. besides being an obvious sign of otherness. "To Perfect Our Condition": Evolution and Otherness The physical difference between the narrator and the Vril—ya. which deliberately presents the Vril-ya as uniformly beautiful people. In reference to Frankenstein * s model of the looking subject and the looked-at object. objective description of what he sees — indeed. which he frequently implies is the end of the evolutionary process: this privileging of the aesthetic also exists in T h e Coming Race. also allows Lytton to comment on a contemporary source of cultural anxiety: Darwin's theory of evolution. in the sense that Darwin's "fitness" Darwin does place a high value on beauty. he takes the position of other. "a close. . he stops observing altogether. In fact. "perfection" is not defined. whose heretofore analytical. candid reading of Darwin's account made it obvious that evolution did not necessarily imply progress" (People and Ideas 2 2 8 ) . covering his eyes In fear. as does the response of the narrator.

the great-grandfather of a fabled philosopher. conceivably. Is "a magnificent specimen of the Batrachian genus." and significantly affecting the definition of the other in opposition to the normal. red in tooth and claw. pur et simple" (88)." once again revealing Tennyson's "Nature. Rather. People and Ideas 230). it [goes] to the most ruthless fighter — or. and destabilized a sense of order based on this ideal. just as much a part of nature as the self. "the victory [goes] not to the most deserving. Xn response to the narrator's scepticism regarding the idea of . a Giant Frog. because such distinctions are no longer natural or inherent. in an evolutionary sense. culminated in humankind. and. the most intelligent. 245 has no moral component. the most virtuous. The first is an overt satire in the presentation of the "ancestors" of the highly-sophisticated Vril-ya. as they saw it. not necessarily lower In the hierarchy- Lytton addresses cultural anxiety concerning Darwinism in two ways. because natural selection is largely a matter of chance (Knepper 24). The narrator describes "thr^ee portraits belonging to the pre-historlcal age" and housed in the College of Sages (88): the oldest of these. Thus Darwinism separated the "natural" from the "good. Thus the other may be. For Victorian society. this theory undermined the progressive ideal that. as Carmilla suggests. in the case of natural selection. the luckiest" (Altick.

and the ensuing political strife. so that humanity could. his host. the outright satire of Darwin is Lytton's reintroduction of morality to the sphere of evolution. are vaguely analogous t« the controversy surrounding evolution in Lytton"s England — the famous 1860 debate between Darwin's disciple Thomas Huxley. and on the process of evolution that produced the Vril-ya. This statement expresses a pivotal . Aph-Lin asks: "what. or whether "the frog was clearly the improved development of the A n " ( 9 0 ) . after all. if superiority in moral conduct be not the aim for which it strives and the test by which its progress should be judged?" ( 9 1 ) . although later events In the novel will contradict this view. for example. 246 the frog as origin of the human species. defeat Sadean nature and thus recover the progressive Ideal and hierarchical order. to the benefit of those in power. Aph-Lin. here seen as socially irrelevant." and claims that they "now only serve for the amusement of Infants'" (92—93) . Zee dismisses these disputes as an irrelevant feature of the "dark ages. gives a logical and convincing scientific lecture on the similarities between his people and frogs. but related to. specifically combining evolution with social organization. More significant than. and Bishop Samuel Wllberforce. can be the profit of civilization. His daughter Zee refers to past debates as to whether they developed from frogs. These arguments. thus effectively containing Darwinism. In essence.

it also. which Allan Conrad Christensen suggests is the etymological root of Lytton*s Vril (217). Natural selection is converted from a process of accident to one of education" (24)." to which the novel's title alludes: we were driven from a region that seems to denote the world you come from. when our education shall become finally completed. and . in order to perfect our condition and attain to the purest elimination of our species by the severity of the stiijgales our forefathers underwent and that. Zee relates to the narrator the following "legend. by contrast. not accident. commencing in the early achievements and increasing with the continuous exercise of Vril power" (85)- . Vril-ya evolution. Is also apparent in the development of the nerve that facilitates the control of Vril. divine will as well" (Knepper 24). the force upon which Vril—ya civilization depends. . According to Zee. emphasis added) Although this passage makes direct reference to the "struggle" of competitive natural selection. includes a process of conscious will. as B-G.Knepper notes. "affirms the operation of will and direction. the mode of development Included Individual will and racial will plus an implied. we are destined to return to the upper world and supplant all the inferior races now existing therein. That "Bulwer-Lytton's master-race developed by plan. the Vril—ya appear to have affected their own evolution. 247 Victorian objection to Darwin's theory of evolution as separate from morality.(78. Indeed. . not blind chance. this nerva "slowly developed in the course of generations.

is the end of evolution. in which Spencer argues against the existence of poor—laws. of both heredity and practice. 248 T h e nerve is the product. and. S anccr. . the distresses that come upon the imprudent. and those shoulderings aside of the weak by the strong . Perfection." a T o this end. as was biology to morality. "so surely must the human faculties be moulded into complete fitness for the social state. as those who lacked the will to "evolve"' out of their poverty. and thus aligning Lytton*s text not with Darwin. Social Statics. the starvation of the idle. and moral falling is associated with biological unfitness. suggesting that acquired traits can be Inherited. so surely must the things we call evil and Immorality disappear: so surely must man become perfect" ( 6 5 ) . associated evolution with progress. then. According to Spencer. "all evil results from the non-adaptation of constitution to conditions" ( 5 9 ) . . and also with the social Darwinist Herbert Spencer. but with his predecessor Lamarck (Chrlstensen 177-78). for example. could easily be used to justify the exploitation o>f the poor. which w a s then connected to sociology. whose 1S51 Social Statics supports the idea of conscious evolution to a political end. in the most highly- evolved society. are . writing in Social Statics: "all imperfection is unfitness to the conditions of existence" (64). 3 and of the racial other as "inferior. too. then. and "fitness" with perfection. contains the following passage: ""The poverty of the incapable. The addition of consciousness to evolution.

. which preceded the publication of Lytton"s novel by four years. . but that assumption does not necessarily imply the right of conquest. believe that morality is biological. 249 belief which proves to be even more significant in The Coming Race. It is also Interesting to note that during the debates over the Second Reform Bill. Those which are called the moral organs. Thus. . Such arguments. there were strenuous objections to the potential inclusion of the "hopelessly dependent poor* in the franchise (Hicmelfarb 375-77). one species" victory over another proves its greater fitness. and the narrator. This view is most clear in the narrator's analysis of the phrenology of the Vril-ya. . Such objections imply a similar indictment of those so classified as lacking the will to help themselves. tend to confuse cause and effect. explicitly revealing the rationalization for cultural anxiety regarding the the decrees of a large far-seeing benevolence" (323). "their conformation of skull . Darwin's description of "the migration of the more dominant forms of life from one region into another" (347) could be used to support an evolutionary argument for imperialism. . The narrator also suggests that physical beauty is a product of social position and moral development. Certainly the Vril-ya. just as racial conflicts could be put in the context of interspecies competition. Amativeness and combativeness are both small" (76). such as conscientiousness and benevolence. the Vril—ya are biologically disposed towards benevolence and morality. with the superior race triumphing. . . are amazingly full. however. is far less pronounced in the hinder cranial hemisphere where phrenologists place the animal organs.

even if there is the hope of evolution. for the Vril-ya. however. where criminality as an Immoral state Is explicitly linked with brain development as a medical phenomenon (Stoker 402ff). combined with that majesty which seems to come from consciousness of power and the freedom of all terror isic]. and which the narrator does not have the means to use (85). This biological essentialism works to place the potential other in the fixed position against which the self can be defined. it is the body. 250 physically other.' The narrator's attitude to the beauty of his hosts. . physical traits are intrinsically linked to morality and "civilization". once again rendering The narrator's connection of beauty with social status is not. Such an association of morality with physical characteristics allows for easier othering of the physically different and thus works much like Van HeIs. it inspires "a sentiment of humiliation. The connection of the moral and the physical renders otherness inherent and essential. as conservative as it secas. that allows for control of the Vril staff which defines one as civilized. physical or moral" (77) — a passage which seems applicable to Frankenstein. There Is also a serene sweetness of expression. . . as presumably the Vril-ya have evolved from a less "civilized" race. . as well as the mind. remains as ambivalent as upon his first meeting with the An. ng's invocation of Lombroso's theories regarding the criminal mind in Dracula. as if the latter were a cause of the former: "I never met with one person deformed or misshapen. of awe. because the narrator also associates physical deformity with oppression. of dread" (77). Thus. however.

. . The idea that criminality is inherent. . renders those whcs9 Mina calls "of criminal type" (403) absolutely other. like the dependent poor. Daniel Pick notes that "a specific bio-medical concept of degeneration was already to be seen in the 1850s and the 1860s" (178). rather than social/cultural terms. has not full man-brain . can improve. was in favour of such reforms (Pick 113).The Coming Race predates the English translations of both Lombroso's The Criminal Man (1876) and Degeneration (1895). . 251 the definitions of the normal and the abnormal in natural/biological. . by Max Nordau. the other source Mina cites (Pick 176). "in the course of one or two thousand years" (85). Aph-Lin roaintains that "there is no hope that this people [without Vril power]. Although Zee concedes that the human race may develop the Vril nerve. although Cesare Lorabroso. while the other seems Incapable of evolving. of course.While the debate on criminal degeneracy peaked in the 1890s (Pick 8 ) . This belief In turn precludes reforms intended to address the social causes of criminality. and withholding the possibility of HThe social implications of the popularity of phrenology are probably more apparent in Dracula. While Darwin's evolutionary theory permits a changing or evolving other — if indeed. in which he employs it in reverse. because all their notions tend to further deterioration" (81). Thus Lytton would have been aware of this theory before the publication of The Coming Race. [sic]" (402). which evidently resembles your own. whose ground-breaking work on "natural criminality" (Pick 126) applied phrenology to "a specifically evolutionary theory of racial development" (Pick 113). because they are seen to be. once again placing evolution in the context of morality. the concept of otherness continues to exist in a purely Darwinian framework — connecting Darwinism to morality allows the moral self to develop. where Van Helsing refers to the connection between brain structure and criminality: "the true criminal who seems predestinate to crime . beyond help. and to whom Mina alludes.

class struggle and "the democracy to which the most enlightened European politicians look forward as the extreme goal of political advancement. for life. means that those who support the dominant ideology can use evolution as an excuse to oppress those they see as less "fit" than themselves. however. who lack the capacity to use Vril. in theory." but which the Vril-ya regard as "one of the crude and Ignorant experiments which belong to the Infancy of political science" (38). he can "seldom be Induced to retain office after the first approach of old age" (41). However. including the narrator. as Indeed the Vril-ya regard the "barbarians": those races. having developed out of a primitive state of war.-5 one of "benevolent autocracy. which. political office is not an honour. Maintaining the evolutionary framework. Indeed. among the Vril-ya." headed by "a single supreme magistrate styled Tur" (41). certainly the political organization of Vril-ya society is described as the end of a progressive process of evolution.The political sysxcm of the Vril—ya 1. but an obligation to the state. 252 change from the other. The Tur is elected. there are no incentives to serve. but in practice. in their language signifies "civilization" (40). "Great Trouble and Affliction": Equality of Rank and Inequality of Wealth Richard Gerber observes that The Coming Race "is saturated with the evolutionary concept" (18). the duties of .

253 the Tur are "marvellously light and easy. "their laws [are] but amicable conventions" (41). Children also serve as . . The Tur's chief responsibility is "to communicate with certain active departments charged with the admit xstration of special details. because Vril. no crime. household work and the protection of the community from natural climactic changes and from predatory animals (45). . There is no working class as such. and the automata it animates. and testing new inventions (43). usually for scientific purposes. for following their own pursuits" (119). male or female. There are no wars." such as providing light to the underground community. agriculture. should have acquired enough for an independent competence during life" (118). The state pays them for their labour. Adults are not required to work. and well enough that "every child. and any operation of machinery is undertaken by children who are not yet of marriageable age. the narrator refers to them as the "aristocracy" among the Vril—ya — the children forming a "democracy." for this state practically runs itself with the near-magical power of Vril (41). but enjoy "absolute leisure . on attaining the marriageable age and there terminating the period of labor." in keeping with the pattern of political evolution established earlier — and to the state itself as "an aristocratic republic" (119). liaising with neighbouring states. Their tasks include handicrafts. and indeed. make manual labour unnecessary.

unless it is voluntary. and to hold public office. 254 clerks in the few retail shops owned by those adults who "ha[ve] taken to that business from special liking to it" (74). all occupations hold the same equal social status" (74). The rich are appointed to entertain visitors from other communities. Great wealth is. Destitution as the narrator is familiar with the term is only possible. a fact which Suvln finds both "puzzling" and "totally unnecessary" (345). Indeed. who are very rich. "some of the richest citizens in the community ke[ep] such shops" for "1*0 difference of rank is recognizable. when they might prefer to live on a small one" (143). As Aph-Lin remarks. and. this classless society. therefore. however. which Aph-Lin summarizes in the proverb "the poor man's need is the rich man's shcsne. maintaining inequality of wealth. However. as well as to support those who are less wealthy. according to Aph-Lin. are obliged to buy a great many things they do not require and live on a very large scale. is economically individualistic. "Ana like myself. cannot — or will not — emigrate and . got rid of all his means. Because of this support system. considered "a great ti^uble and affliction" (142) because of the responsibility that accompanies it. although politically collective. if "an An has by some extraordinary process. for example." poverty as such is unknown in this society (142).

are again connected to certain social Darwinist justifications for class-based oppression. or lack thereof. This association of poverty with insanity is similarly disturbing. if only by sheer embarrassment (143). it makes poverty the responsibility of the poor. we must do the thing that lies near us — that is. The social implications of this theory In Lytton*s own society. or when we impart into our programme some absurd idea about equality of possessions . despite its apparent liberalism. doable. who deem the voluntarily destitute An "an unfortunate person of unsound reason and place him — at the expense of the State. as if they had simply failed to "adapt. however kindly those in power treat these unfortunates. Indeed. and which may not be invested with any charm of romance or . the generosity of the rich towards the poor among the Vril—ya in general is problematic. . this is not the response of the socially conscious Vril-ya. where every comfort and every luxury that can mitigate his affliction are lavished upon him" in order xo return him to his senses. lacking as it did the Utopian benevolence and sophisticated social support system depicted here. 255 has either tired out the affectionate aid of his relations or personal friends or refuses xo accept it" (143). Of course. . in fact. A contemporary review of The Coming Race in the highly reactionary Blackwood's Magazine suggests that the mischief begins when we think to realize [the hope of progressj by some sudden change in the organization of society. . in a public building." and should thus be left to their own resources.

but merely removed the shame of poverty and replaced it with "a good poor-law" in the form of the monetary support the rich are required to give the poor. are not as radical as they would seem. everyone can be happy with his or her place in an unchanging economic hierarchy. The narrator notes that "when you take away from a human being the incentives to action which are found in cupidity or ambition. with the right changes in attitude (as it pertains to social rank). but resentment towards the rich. The obligations of the rich Vril-ya. who have not eliminated a hierarchy of wealth. characterizes the socio-economic system of tbc. but a good poor—law wisely administered. . 256 novelty. (56) This statement. through a series of "safe steps" (Blackwood's 56) that cannot possibly lead to revolution. the rich moderation and self-denial" (57). parallel the reviewer's declaration that "Christianity ought to teach the poor patience and humility .Vril-ya. with its anxious. It seems to m e no wonder that he rests quiet" (74). bourgeois resistance to sudden social change. but introduces the humanitarianism simultaneously upheld by the reviewer. . . and the equality of rank that prevents not only contempt for the poor. then. not utterly new constitutions of society. The Vril- ya. This strategy avoids the "absurd" monetary equality mentioned In the review.

that "obedience of the rule adopted by the community has become as much an instinct as if it were Implanted by nature" (42). these statements also imply that the process has been long forgotten. the entire Vril-ya society resists change in the same way the Blackwood's reviewer suggests. The narrator himself claims that Vril—ya laws are analogous to "custom and regulations with which. the people had tacitly habituated themselves" ( 4 1 ) . being an outsider. Ideology Indeed. and thus retains the power structures of the status quo. in his analysis of the voluntary collectivism of the Vril-ya. which causes Aph-Lin t o answer the narrator's question as to how he would respond to an "unjust or unwise" request from the Tur with the statement "we do not allow ourselves to think [it] so" (139). However. no authority without unity" ( 2 ) . for several ages. 257 "Immemorial Custom": Change. Thus the narrator notes. Aph-Lin explicitly tells the narrator that "everything goes on as if each and all governed themselves according to Immemorial custom" (139). disposed t o question the perfection of their system. the result of an evolutionary process. as the word "habituated" and t h e conditional nature of Aph-Lin"s original statement suggest. is. He is. T h e unquestioned acceptance of Vril—ya law. no order without authority. . then. however. Democracy. another of whose proverbs translates "'No happiness 'without order.

Lytton's fluctuating political affiliations and beliefs. T h e Vril-ya vord for Given that T h e Coming Race w a s written near the end of Lytton"s life. and from then on participated less in politics. and that h i s political views had becosoe increasingly conservative. Wagner 3 8 1 . t h e n . however. m a y account for t h e degree of ambiguity in T h e Coming R a c e . the then—anonymous author of T h e Coming Race is "no lover of democracy" ( 5 2 ) . t h e anti—democratic sentiments in T h e Coming Race are not surprising. and the text itself. 258 while. a s the ideal society. as Suvln notes. However. even unthinkable. "deviance is Impossible" ( 1 4 ) . even at his most ambiguous. for them.8 2 ) . causing both James L. His views. or even a s a viable alternative to t h e narrator's enthusiastic democracy. t h e Blackwood*s review is correct in noticing that. however. tend t o support. H e retired from the Commons with his elevation to the peerage in 1S66. Campbell and Geoffrey Wagner to emphasize t h e novel's anti-Americanism (Campbell 127. only to have it fail. an interpretation which other reviews. . Lytton supported t h e 1859 Reform Bill introduced by his friend D i s r a e l i . appear to have become much snore conservative after this t i m e {Campbell 1 4 — 2 0 ) . Still far from a right—wing thinker. Although the narrator's own views are often satirized. only xo return to political life as a Conservative in 1852. there is n o indication that the reader is Intended to take the completely uniform Vril-ya at face v a l u e . Lytton retired from his position a s a Liberal member of Parliament in 1841. Oddly. despite the text's failure entirely to endorse t h e collective social organization of the Vril-ya. t h e reasons f o r his break w i t h the Whigs included his objections to the repeal of the C o r n Laws and to laissez- faire economics in general. and h e apparently "dreaded the consequences of Disraeli's Reform Bill of 1867" (Chrlstensen 1 7 3 ) . A political radical and friend of Godwin's in t h e 1830s.

Although the Vril- ya themselves evolved from democratic society. Koom-Posh inevitably deteriorates into "Glek-Nas" (111). with no chance of progressing to the enlightened state of the Vril—3»a. The many are always assailing the few." is only one example of the Imperialist repression practised by the "civilized" races- . in which. The more they have struggled to be so by removing old distinctions and starting afresh. because nothing in hereditary affections and associations is left to soften the one naked distinction between the many who have nothing and the few who have much. . at the age of eleven. but without the few they couli not live. this hope 10 apparently no longer exists. implying . the cany hate the few. the implied withholding of which from the people they term "barbarians." and "Posh" "an almost untranslatable Idiom. the "universal strife—rot" of anarchy (59). But as soon as they have done so." meaning "a profound hollow. 259 democracy is "Koom-Posh. the more glaring and intolerable the disparity becomes. . Of course. he says. Only the "barbarians" who lack Vril power persist in the practice of democracy. Sometimes they exterminate the few. they pretend to be all equals. his nearest equal among the Vril-ya). (104) Of course. cor tempt" (58): thus democracy is "their name for the government of the many or the ascendancy of the most ignorant and hollow" (58)." "Koom. a new few starts out of the many and is harder to deal with than the old few. According to Tae. Vril—ya evolution was made possible by the discovery of Vril. son of the Tur and the narrator's closest friend (and. Aph-Lin despairs of such societies.

which demonstrates the characteristic fear of rapid social change. in which Europe enviously seeks its model and tremblingly foresees its doom" (29) is pompous enough to be laughable. In this situation. and paradoxically. 260 This satirical analysis of democracy. Lytton is attempting to "terroriz[eJ h i s public with fantasies of social equality" (383). His description of "the antiquated and decaying institutions of Europe" as opposed to the "present grandeur and prospective pre-eminence of that glorious American Republic. suggests that. even Vrii—ya society in its aristocratic republican guise is not entirely Utopian. with a note of foreboding. However. The narrator's enthusiastic championing of American democracy reinforces t h e satire. "when iaeas of social emancipation w e r e consonant in some quarters with ideas of national threat for the British* (Wagner 3 8 1 ) . but also reveals t h e United States as a source of English anxiety that can be seen. stands. and seems to allude t o t h e French Revolution. which the narrator has already invoked as an example of Glek-Nas ( 5 9 ) . according to Wagner. This would have been a particular source of anxiety to someone in Lytton"s position when the novel was written. and the threatening democratic other. In his . as Wagner believes. for which the narrator also. the Vril—ya represent both the perfect aristocratic society. right after the Franco-Prussian W a r . as analogous to the threatening "coming race" (381).

and Lytton as a member of the House of Lords. Xt often seems as if the narrator longs for social conflict simply to interrupt the monotony. . would find the happiness of gods exceedingly dull and would long to get back to a world in which they could quarrel with each other" (81). even the most anti- democratic contemporary reviews begin to perceive the narrator as a representative of all humanity rathtr than of the United States. "minds accustomed to place happiness In things so much the reverse of godlike. Berlin. This attitude reveals a class bias. Of the interaction between humanity and the Vril-ya. of course. whose society the narrator eventually finds unbearably dull. it seems that those actually struggling with poverty might consider this a fair exchange. (172) The narrator may be commenting on humanity: as Zee says of their subterranean analogues. do not. the narrator writes: If you would take a thousand of the best and most philosophical of human beings you could find in London. it is also. or even Boston and place them as citizens In this beatified community. be burnt into cinders at the request of the Tur. as the narrator as heir to the family fortune. obviously. I believe that in less than a year they would either die of boredom or attempt some revolution by which they would militate against the good of the community and. a comment on the Vril-ya. 261 interaction with Vril-ya society. but would probably not feel the same way if such a conflict involved him personally. Paris. while the removal of strife from society may doom literature and the arts as overly passionate (100). However. New York.

the customs of the Vril-ya. for example. 262 More sinister. Vril-ya thought is literally decreed by the state. . This has implications beyond boring uniformity. who is not familiar with. but the merest Intellectual argument regarding philosophy er theology (Blackwood's 51-52). It never occurs to the Vri 1 -ya to question that overwhelming force of custom or tradition. and implied by the narrator's remark about "the good of the community. for example. Such repressive collectivism is as threatening as anarchy. among the Vril-ya. Regarding "ideology and ideological state apparatuses. By extension." Louis Althusser writes: "those who arc in ideology believe themselves by definition outside ideology" (175). which precludes not only class struggle. although. whereas. which arc also similarly regarded as natural — the absolute division between self and other. . "no force is put upon individual inclination" (46). The narrator. resemble those of his own society. overtly. as Suvin suggests. The . because they do not. this revelation applies to many of society's institutions and modes of thought outside the text." is that ingrained Vril-ya unity. identified by Raymond Williams as "in practice the most evident expression of . in that. "bourgeois collectivism" paradoxically exists to protect the rights of the individual (346). and thus habituated to. exposes them as other than universal. dominant and hegemonic pressures" (115). the community is paramount.

and to show possible action as an endless repetition of 'normal. as the navel makes obvious. can be read as a revelation of the interpellation of the ideological subject. the uniformity of Vril—ya society — or indeed any society — becomes suspect. formed to function within a specific society to the benefit of that society. Ideological subjects ""willingly* adopt the subject- positions necessary to their participation in the social formation" (Belsey 6 1 ) . not of that of his own culture. revealed as constructed rather than "natural. and because he is other among the Vril—ya. but sees itself as autonomous. which the narrator. is surprisingly radical. then. (90) The way in which such an ideological process works can be seten in Vril-ya society's relentless adherence to its .' familiar action. its insight into the ideological process. then. and the ways in which that process is disguised. are doing. although. 263 ideological subject. This is exactly what the Vril—ya. does not realize its own constructed nature. an element in a given sysxesa of differences which is human nature and the world of human experience. The Coming Race. Catherine Belsey writes: the work of ideology is to present the position of the subject as fixed and unchangeable. Because he is a figure with whom the audience can identify. being outside of Vril-ya ideology. can see and expose to the reader." Despite the apparently conservative politics of she novel. with their "voluntary"* acceptance of custom and the collective will of the state.

despite the information they give the narrator. . The erasure of initial causes persists throughout the novel. and 1 have already discussed the way in which the violent competition of natural selection has been conveniently forgotten in favour of t h e conscious use of will for biological and moral Improvement. . A s the Blackwood's review notes. this seemingly peaceful society is built on something far more sinister. the Vril—ya are very much divorced from their history. again obvious to the . because "the habit of restraint is presented as transmissible hereditarily. and its resistance to change. for. Knepper believes that Vril—ya society can exist with minimal law. to return to the concern with Darwin. while identification with the first-person narrator places the reader outside this society. . In fact. effectively revealing that its Ideology is not absolute. restraint saist be enforced by rigid custom" ( 2 7 ) . there is very little hint of the process by which Vril-ya society developed. 264 customs. Suvln suggests that the incongruous marriage of political collectivism and economic individualism grows out of a bourgeois principle which "subsisted even after its reason and cause — commodity production — had been abolished by a wave of the magic wand of Vril" (346). Rather. it seems to be the product of a "natural" process of moral evolution. For example. While the habit is being formed. through the eyes of the other.

Lytton*s conception of vril itself more closely resembles an electrical force (see Knejiper 25-26)- Similarly. The discovery of Vril. for the Vril-ya both gain their "civility" from this outside force (Vril and its effects are all that separate them from "barbarians" like the narrator). consequently put an end to war. however. justifiably feels threatened. however. just as it later resulted In the amicable legal relations between people who could so easily destroy each other (39-41). Xt is appropriate that Vril is synonymous with civilization. and questions the legitimacy of. the Idea of deterrent force does not originate with nuclear weapons. . however long ago. Many twentieth-century critics believe that the simultaneously beneficial and highly destructive nature of Vril. few note its implications. on which the advanced civilization depends entirely. and all our improved artillery" (51). the cause has effectively been erased in favour of the effect. does not go unnoticed by the narrator. and its use. the theory of deterrence regarding "the rifle. lacking the "protective" power of Vril. For all their apparently In fact. there is little consideration of the violence in their past. as a deterrent to violence. who. and are as morally ambiguous as it is. 265 narrator and through him to the reader: the threat of deadly violence. which can annihilate entire armies. This latent violence. the Blackwood's review mentions. For the Vril-ya. anticipate the equally double-edged sword of nuclear power.

it is here that the narrator becomes truly aware of the potentially violent nature of the Vril-ya. is Tae's statement: "it is no crime to slay those who threaten the good of the community" (179). . Although Aph-Lin teils the narrator that the Vril—ya oppose imperialist expansion (81). they do encourage emigration for the purposes of population control. and. they do not hesitate to destroy any threat to their society. like himself. they ?£se no direct threat to Vril-ya society (105). the Vril-ya refer to such cultures as "barbarians" and "savages" and take a ruthless but completely dispassionate view of destroying theasff even when. in this the novel resembles Dracula. With the rhetoric of true imperialists. Because this statement applies to him personally. in that **he dominant community either justifies or ignores any violence towards the other that threatens its stability. The most overt example of this rationale. the 'One of Lytton*s own policies as colonial secretary in 1858-59 (Campbell 9 8 ) . chilling in its matter-of-fact tone. whon. and thus one of the few instances where his beliefs correspond unproblematically with those of the Vril—ya. Nowhere is this danger more clear than in Vril-ya policy regarding races lacking Vril power. if the land desired by the emigrants is already occupied by barbarians. not possessing the secrets of Vril. and the danger they pose to those. they perceive as threateningly other. 266 advanced morality.

Tae explains this to the narrator in coldly logical terms not entirely related to self-defense: it is our rule. In such a reading. Of course. Meedless to say. the Vril—ya represent the colonizing nations — including England — thus blurring the distinction between ^elf and other. especially if under the adminis Oration of Koom-Posh or of course. the narrator finds this casual attitude towards violence frigh'fcening. The reader's identification with the first-person narrator also places him %>r her in the position of the threatened other. we take waste spots and find that s troublesome. particularly given hxs own position as other among the Vril—ya: "I felt a thrill of horror." is a typical imperialist strategy for racial repression (Brantlinger 186). never to destroy except where necessary to our wellbeing. If we take the cultivated lands of the other races of Ana. quarrelsome race of Ana. 267 Vril-ya have no compunction about their complete extermination. which permits a reading of the narrator's response as a critique of imperialism. we cannot settle in lands already occupied by the Vril—ya." than I did with the Vril-ya and remembering ail I had said in praise of the glorious American institutions. we must utterly destroy the previous inhabitants. recognizing much more affinity with 'the savages.s menacing our welfare. which Aph-Lin stigmatized as Koom-Posh" (105). we destroy it [sic]. ?. as it is. whether because the reason is figured as "they started it" or "xhey are less evolved. (110) This attempt to blame the other for its own destruction. Sometimes. the constructed nature of which is made explicit by the narrator's use of .

Certainly tre family is connected t o the state. the narrator remarks: "ail members of t h e community considered theaiselves as brothers of one affectionate and united family" (43). 268 quotation marks around "'the savages'* and by his own identification with them. whose Utopian "civility" merely disguises its soundation upon the very savagery and violence It abhors in the other. in the position of racial other. I now propose t o . Darko Suvln notes that the two primary issues in the novel's genre of "alternative history" are the "overall polltico—economic organization (crucially: the role of labor and t h e working class) and erotics (the role of sex and women). which it then paradoxically destroys. as weil as the absolute distinction between that other and the "civilized" self. via the narrator. By placing the reader. X have discussed how the seemingly radical "communist" politics of t h e Vril-ya are in fact mora conservative than they first appear. both of which [The Coming Race] characteristically brought out and neutralized" (357). Savin claims that "their radically subversive solutions w e r e communism end erotic freedom." and that these respectivelv ""public" and "private" issues are considered in (often allegorical) relation to each other (357). In discussing the political system of the Vril-ya. The Coming Race implicitly questions the dominant society's oppression of that other.

demonstrates the . in adult life. rather than on the ostensible moral evolution. significantly separate. Girl children perform the same tasks as boys. Once again. They also *#ave more control over Vril power: "thus they can not only defend themselves against all aggressions from the males." which. with similar results. but could. the narrator explains that "the Gy-ei [women] are in the fullest enjoyment of all the rights of equality with males. I think. This remark. 269 analyze Vril—ya gender roles in the same way. and. although initially it seems that women will be the subject only of one. In this chapter. at any momenx when he least suspected his danger. "the Gy-ei are usually superior to the Ana in physical strength. Is "an important element in the consideration and maintenance of female rights" (48). Even more significantly. and. which occurs in the middle of a dispassionate discourse on Vril—ya custom. chapter. devoting almost as much of his account to this as to politics. in which their social position is outlined. it appears that true equality can only be based on violence. the narrator perceptively notes. for which certain philosophers above ground contend" (47). "al"* arts and vocations allotted to the one sex are open to the other" (47). "All the Rights of Equality": Gender Roles and Reversals The narrator discusses the role of women in Vril-ya society at length. terminate the existence of an offending spouse" (48).

male and female. They say. . to satirize the woman who usurps masculine privilege. so even without the effects of satire. or here. and focuses on the fact that the Gy-ei traditionally have "one privilege" over the Ana: the right "of being the wooing party rather than the wooed" (50). Similarly. no real danger to the human status quo. 270 anxiety the narrator feels about the rights of the Gy-ei- This anxiety grows as the text." T h u s . most female privileges among the Vril—ya are based on the same biological essentialism that characterizes the distinction between the Vril—ya and the "barbarians. . . the amount of freedom granted to the Gy—ei is much less than it seems. they do not challenge the notion oi otherness itself. T h e fact that the narrator believes that the right ox "proclaiming their love and urging their suit" may be "the desire which. that of the two. rather than to advance this system as ideal. as both nineteenth. remains. progress. and the narrator's relationship with Vril-ya society. forms the secret motive of most lady asserters of woman's rights above ground" (50) suggests that the purpose of this gender-role reversal is.and twentieth-century critics believe. Hence the rationale for the Gy-ei*s one iruc privilege. there is. Indeed. perhaps. the binary opposition between self and other. once again. and the narrator's approval thereof: their argument for the reversal of that relationship of the sexes which the blind tyranny of man has established on the surface of the earth appears cogent . even If the Vril- ya reverse the roles.

significantly. therefore. that love occupies a larger space In her thoughts and is more essential to her happiness. and reinscribing gender difference as well. Even the narrator's "objective" profile of the role of the Gy—ei is full of contradictions. the narrator remarks that "in the earlier age appropriated to the destruction of animals irreclaimably hostile. the wozaen are assigned. she ought to be the wooing party. . and that. and. Once again. (50) Just as Gy—ei privilege is based on biological essentialism rather than enlightened social mores. the equality between the sexes is not as complete as It purports to be. Immediately following the statement regarding the equality of male and female children. For example. w e find that "the Gy—ei arrogate to themselves a superiority in all those abstruse and mystical branches of reasoning. the genders are differentiated. the girls are frequently preferred as being by constitution more ruthless under the influence of fear or hate" (47). here. The pattern continues. 271 the female is by nature of a more loving disposition than the male. or the routine of their matter-of—fact occupations 0 {47). thus introducing the biological essentialism that continues to determine gender roles. a difference. for which they say the Ana are unfitted by a duller sobriety of understanding. as with the Gy-ei"s courting privileges. based on the conventional assumption that women are more emotional than men. just after the narrator comments on adult equality of occupation.

the t-ourtship customs excepted. Indeed. roles more concerned with the abstract.i the . and therefore past use to the state. rather than with the practical duties of running the state. they — especially the "young unmarried females" — along witn men who are widowed or chiXdless.s of the College of Sages which. and excluding then* from the sphere of actual government. although it is connected with the department for testing new inventions. there is no mention in the novel of women assuming civil office. Blackwood's perceptively defines the powers of the Gy—ei as "purely of a theoretical character" (52). rather. which arc i&ecmed cf least use in practical l/»fe" i-43-44). while safely containing them. gives the Gy-ei the semblance of power. then. actively engaged in worldly business. Intellectual exercise. and the word "theoretical" is appropriate given its two meanings: the Gy—ei have power over theory alone. have sufficient learning or refinement of intellect" (47. That the Gy-ei wield only "theoretical" power is made explicit by the narrator's comparison of their choice of fields to his own society's division of expertise. emphasis added). is chiefly devoted xo "those studies. are nsember. and their power can be reduced to exist only in theory. for which few men. Tfeat This is satire of such academic oursuits seems envious whi. 272 or "voluntarily" adopt. "as young ladles in our own world constitute themselves authorities in the subtlest points of theological doctrine.

and it certainly alludes to The Origin of Species. which work was considered the best authority on that interesting subject" (44). The narrator further As weXX as being relevant to the novel's treatment of gender. equally embraced the largest domains and the minutest details ox thought (and who] had written two volumes on the parasite insect that dwells amid the hairs of a tiger's paw. even as the Gy—ei appear xo have power. to that of all other organic beings" (127). 273 narrator speaks of Zee. It may refer to Darwin's own lengthy and time-consuming study of the barnacle. Zee's absurd field of research continues the satire of Darwinism. . yet they are marriageable at an earlier age — sixteen. yet Aph-l-in makes no mention of his daughter inheriting any of his own (142). . active as Aristotle's. The novel continually undermines gender equality. Women can hold property. Finally. social — change. not women. although polygyny rarely occurs in practice (49—50). Women take the initiative in courtship. to prevent them from assuming farther power: another Instance of a weXX-acministored poor law in lieu of real constitutional — or in this case. after marriage. women are expected. which mentions just such a parasite in order to illustrate that "the structure of every organism is related . to put aside the wings the Vril—ya habitually ssar (122). rather than twenty (45) — and it is men. . another indication that the power the Gy—ei do have functions only to contain them. "whose mind. who are eligible to have snore than one spouse.

rather than the destructive. thus potent and thus privileged. when she had fairly hunted us down and married us. the role reversal still suggests an attack on (educated) women who usurp male privilege. which has the "New woman" as its object (Wolff 3 2 ) . 274 reveals this containment of the sexual other. even if one ignores the lack of concrete power held by the Gy-ei. Once married. For the osae power the fesjale-dcminated College of Ssiges truly possesses is -that over tfca study of Vril. regarding the "privilege" of marital choice: above ground. poorer is dominant (83). sinking their loftier capacities into the study of their husband's comparatively frivolous tastes and whims. tend to dismiss the gender- role reversal as "burlesque" (Blackwood's 52) rather than an ideal or Utopian condition. and Robert Leer Wolff's observations regarding the . more sympathetic. just as the Gy-ei possess a greater control aver that energy which literally defines their civilization (44). no poet could conceive in his visions of conjugal bliss. In the context of Christensfln's derivation of *Vr. (171) The representation of courtship as being "hunted down. we should not unreasonably apprehend that a female. Certainly contemporary reviews. And more amiable. although "wives 2nd mothers'" use a Vrit staff in ^?hich tfce healing. would be very imperious and tyrannical. Indeed. the wings are suspended..Not so with the Gy—ei. docile mates. complacent." reveals more of the narrator's own feelings about this custom of the Vril—ya. and produces the novel's most obvious satire. which note the ambiguity that characterizes the novel.5" from ""-virile" (178).

in his ovm world. which is further complicated by the fact that the gender roles are themselves reversed. the novel emphasizes the narrator's position as other. occasional gender—role reversal. the gender—role reversal becomes much more interesting than mere satire on the rights — such as they are — of the other when t h e narrator becomes personally Involved. H e r e . it seems reasonable to assume that the Gy-ei are invading the male sphere — a view which complements the narrator's depiction of the A n a as exotic and feminized — and that Vril energy can be read as a metaphor for sexual energy. as far as courtship is concerned. which. affects the narrator's response to the otherness of this society. of course. although t h e position of women within Vril—ya society is not. Such a reading definitely renders the Gy-ei an erotic threat - Certainly this is hew the narrator views them. Like the issue of Vril—ya imperialism. a s radical as it sceas. now doubled — in that h e is outside Vril—ya society and. 275 phallic nature of the Vril staff (333). takes for granted. a member of the gender which is not in control — otherness. as Suvin sees it (347). and to his own. Thus. . that same role reversal becomes subversive when the narrator — a s both self to the reader and other to t h e Vril-ya — becomes ini*elved. t o o . largely because h e unintentionally calls attention t o the process of otherxng which h e . despite xhe.

She would . who inspires "awe" and "dread" in him (127). would listen to him. if not the women themselves. and "look[sJ less bold. His new position as a member of the submissive gender increases his confusion. he is disgraced in the eyes of the Ana and secretly despised by the Gy-ei.No Gy. One of the narrator's companions at the party where this role reversal is most apparent. who Is not named. less conscious of female rights" (154). and of whom he is less afraid because she is smaller than the average Gy. ills dilemma Is further compounded by the amorous attentions of two Gy-ei: Zee.o An ever say to a Gy: *X love you. the narrator reveals his position with remarks such as "if a Gy bride were but a little less formidably armed. which indicates not only that he does not consider rights and powers to be identical. explains in terms of the characteristic incontrovertible custom when the narrator asks him "docs x. Such action would be "un-Anly" — as in the New woman it was "unwomanly" — and thus "unnatural": X can't say that no An has ever done so. not only with the rights of women." till she says it first to hi«a?" (153). But if he ever does. well brought up. but with the powers of man!" (138). and considers the situation. 276 Always wary of the powerful Gy—ei. whom he perceives as directly threatening. but that he is afraid of these powerful women. profoundly unnatural. for the aggressive woman's advances are to be met by a "coy and reluctant" man (152). and Tae's sister.

above ground. The narrator also refuses to travel with Zee as his only companion because he believes sne will require more protection than he can afford (133). . while outraging the modesty which dignifies his own. given the power of the Gy-ei to defend themselves. (153) Reverse the pronouns. to use the narrator's unintentionally ironic words "in that country. Once again. Of course. and expects Aph-Lin to "Indignantly reprove his daughter for expressions of anxiety and affection which. tradition . revealing both his own anxiety and the power of social conditioning. it is . the narrator attempts to cling to his own culture's definition of gender roles. while he clearly believes the same of theirs. would be considered immodest from the lips of a young female addressed to a male not affianced to her" (145). for. . and find the narrator's description of his own custocs "a strange reversal of the laws of nature" (159). rather than absolute. for It is obvious that the Vril—ya would not think of challenging this tradition. is all and all" (145). the novel reveals social norms to be constructed. He believes that Zee's first direct expression of concern for his welfare is unseemly. his host fails to meet his expectations. and the result Is an account of attitudes towards the actions of sexually aggressive women in Victorian England. although this is clearly an excuse for avoiding the Gy"s exclusive company. Throughout the novel. 277 consider that he audaciously infringed on the rights of her sex.


poorly chosen, as Aph-Lin*s subsequent mirth demonstrates

(133). Later, the narrator frankly admits that he cannot be

dependent on a woman (166).

Although he does analyze the chivalric treatment of the

Ana, as prospective mates, by the Gy-ei, and becomes

uncomfortable with it. the narrator never truly seems aware

of the degree to which his unease may simply be the result

of his being placed 5n the position of the sexual other.

The Gy-ei, he notes, act much like "high-bred men in the

gallant societies of the upper classes towards ladies whom

they respect but do not woo; deferential, complimentary,

exquisitely polished. We call it chivalrous" (175-76).

This description, then, indicates a true gender—role

reversal, rather than a stereotypical portrayal of the

sexually aggressive woman.

Despite the chivalry of the Gy—ei, however, the Ana

still have no power in such matters, just as women do not in

the narrator's own society, and the unaccustomed lack of
control causes the narrator to be "a little put out" (176).

At least, the words "in the world I came from" in the same

passage suggest it is the cultural difference which disturbs

him. However, his remarks xo the reader as he attempts to

respond as befits an A n . "smil[ing] and "try[ingj to look

handsome in bashfully disclaiming the compliments showered

on thiml"5 {176). suggest that the treatment of the sexual

other may fee the issue. The narrator is very much: aware of


the parallel between the Ana here and the women In his own

culture, and compares himself to "a high-bred young lady,

above earth, habituated to such compliments, [who] feels

that she cannot, without impropriety, return them, nor

evince any great satisfaction at receiving them" (176).

This moment almost Implies a critique of the position of the

Victorian woman; however, the narrator never extends it to

the logical conclusion. He makes no suggestion concerning a

change In the rights of either the Ana or the woman in his

own society, but seem<= content to let the binary opposition

remain. 14

For an interesting contrast. see Man's Rights, or How
Would You Like It? by Annie Denton Cridge. partially
reprinted, with a brief analysis, in the revised and
expanded edition of H. Bruce Franklin's F-„ture Perfect:
American Science Fiction of the iNineteenth Century (312-
3 3 6 ) . This novel, published one year before Lytton's.
relates several "dreams" in which the female narrator
travels to Mars, where men are much more oppressed than they
are in Vril-ya society, paralleling nineteenth—century women
in ways as specific as being prevented from going outdoors,
wearing attractive but impractical clothing, caring for
children, cooking, and doing housework. They long for the
machines that make Vril—ya life so convenient; although
Lytton never directly expresses t h e value of technology in
sexual liberation. Wagner discusses it in terms of satire
(384). Cridge's women actually do have political power, and
deny men the vote. Her narrator, like Lytton's, explains
the baffling reversal of gender roles on Earth, and states
explicitly the socially constructed nature of gender roles
implied in T h e Coming Race. However, unlike Lytton, Cridge
uses her role reversals to critique this construction, as
her Martian men mobilize to assert their rights, which the
Ana never do. T h e implications for the oppressed women for
which the alien men stand are obvious. Even Blackwood's. in
its review of Lytton. suggested that the maintenance of
binary gender roles w a s "absurd. . . . though the woman may
drop what she considers an unnecessary bashfulness or
affectation, this is no reason for the man picking up her
cast-off manners. Both sexes could be equally frank, and


Perhaps this reluctance to comment on the treatment of

the sexual other stems from the narrator's inability to

identify truly with that other. While he easily identifies

with the "savage" other in opposition to the Vril-ya. he

cannot identify with the submissive An. who is equivalent to

the Victorian woman. The narrator cannot admit to being in

a submissive, and thus feminine, position, and clings to his

identity as an outsider to prevent any reduction in his

manhood. Nevertheless. Zee continues to pursue him. almost

as if attracted to his inappropriate masculinity (Saturday

Review 6 7 4 ) . and her eventual suggestion of a celibate

marriage is "humiliating" (164) because of its threat to hii>

masculinity, even if he is not remotely sexually attracted

to her. Indeed, his fear unmans him long before this point,

not only because Zee herself has the power to destroy him if

spurned, but because, in being the object of her affections,

he becomes a threat to Vril—ya society and to the purity of

her race.

"The Children . - - Would Adulterate the Race":
Miscegenation and Other Threats

Vril—ya civilization is at least as much a product of

deliberate, selective breeding as it is of "natural"

evolution, in small details such as the elimination of

facial hair in men (90-91), and the more general "present

excellence of breed" (78)- Consequently, those in power

equally modest" (52).


1.0 %*£ $&
^UZ 122
i 1.8

U-25 11.4 | i . 6


view of events into question. Indeed, were it not for his
death and resurrection, which the reader only sees through


cannot officially sanction Zee's marriage to, and. more
significantly, her breeding with, one of an inferior race,
such as the narrator. The fear of racial contamination, as
I have discussed in Dracula particularly, is a typical part
of the othering process, characterized by fear not only that
the other will reproduce, but that difference will
contaminate the dominant society. The narrator's teeth,
which reveal him to be carnivorous, and thus, according to
the Vril-ya in yet another conflation of biology with
morality, "of dangerous and savage nature" (132). are a case
in point. Regarding his potential union with Zee, Aph-Lin
tells him outright that "the children of such a marriage
would adulterate the race. They might even come into the
world with the teeth of carnivorous animals'* (135). Hence
Zee's offer of the celibate marriage. Although the narrator
has to this point not been a threat to the Vril-ya,
precisely because of his race's inferiority. Zee's interest
in him makes him threatening, again because of that very
inferiority, which, Chrlstensen argues, has been a threat to
the Vril-ya from his first encounter with them.
Chrlstensen, too. uses the metaphor of contagion that most
commonly characterizes the fear of miscegenation, claiming
that the Vril-ya "must destroy whatever threatens like (the
narratorj to reinfect their stable welfare state with
egoism, dissatisfaction, biological inferiority — or
idealism" (181, emphasis added). While the rhetoric is


interesting, I would suggest that Zee's love for the

narrator, with its concomitant threat of miscegenation, is

the pivotal issue, because it prompts a change in the Vril-

ya *s treatment of the othered narrator-

The characteristic response to the non—threatening

other, such as the passive woman or the subservient slave,

is condescension, while the threatening other, such as the

sexually ag£;i essive woman or the revolutionary racial or

class other, warrants violent repression. Before his

involvement with Zee, the Vril-ya treat the narrator as they

would treat his namesake, for they refer to him as "Tish."

which, in their language, is "a polite and Indeed a pet

name, metaphorically signifying a small barbarian, literally

a Froglet. The children apply it endearingly to the tame

species of Frog which they keep in their gardens" (113).

While the narrator fears the Vril-ya even as they fascinate

him. they Initially see him as a pet. a harmless and

endearing animal. Indeed, he admits that Tae In particular,

"felt that sort of pleasure in my society as a boy . . . in

the upper world has in the company of a pet dog or monkey"

(120). and initially mistakes Zee's affections for a similar

phf";.--.x*non (124).

After her love for him, and, perhaps more

significantly, the similar feelings of the Tar's daughter,

become clear, however, the narrator changes trom pet to

threat, and must therefore be destroyed (178-79). He is


helpless in the face of this decision, because, being

othered, he has no official power, and can be blamed for the

women's transgressions as members of the dominant society.

Just as the "barbarians" can be blamed for their own

extermination at the hands of the expansionist Vril-ya; as

Aph-Lin tells him. "Zee. as a Gy. cannot be controlled. *Jut

you as a Tish, can be destroyed" (135). As other, he is

expendable- The Coming Race offers a perceptive account of

how the d-»ns.».nant society's attitude towards the other varies

from tolerant condescension towards the passive other, to

violent action in response to any threat perceived to

originate in the other, who is thus never completely safe.

However, the novel adds a significant element in its

recognition that the violent response of the dominant

society is dependent on the power that is the source of its

dominance. Aph-Lin recognizes that the narrator's initial

"fright and bewilderment fare] occasioned by the difference

of form and movement between (the human and the Vril-ya1"

(22) — that is, to obvious otherness. The narrator's

initial reaction so his fear of what he clearly perceives as

a threatening other is violence: "as extreme fright often

The idea that Zee cannot be controlled adds another
clement to the narrator's sexual anxiety; her physical power
and threatening sexuality combine to suggest the possibility
of rape, and. despite her chivalry, there is evidence that
the narrator feels violated when she physically removes him
— without his consent — from the party and the attentions
of Tae's sister, and compels him to sleep through the use of
Vril (163).

emphasize this aspect of the novel. for Aph-Lin forbids him to speak of his origins (30). The Coming Race is ambiguous to the degree that even nineteenth-century reviews. he Is Isolated In opposition to the community of the dominant culture. the narrator has no power to respond to the threat with violence. which is by no means stable. However. and. like that of so many others. they are without question the dominant society here. Thus. ambiguity. while the narrator is marginalized and relegated first to the position of curiosity and then to that of easily-destroyed threat. like Carmilla and Dracula. "Strange Reversal": The Treatment oi Otherness If the narrator illustrates the position of otherness in the text. often in a positive . notorious for wilfully Ignoring. a violent response to the other is only available to those **:th the power to succeed with such a response. 284 shows itself by extreme daring. or displaying deep anxiety regarding. I sprang at his throat like a wild beast" (22). its attitude towards the ether — which is similarly ambivalent. His position. is literally unspeakable. which is what firmly and completely establishes the narrator of The Coming Race in the position of other. but is helpless from the moment that hxs first assault on Aph-Lin is repelled by the power of Vrxl (22). Although he may regard the Vril-ya as other from himself. it is also worth considering the treatment of otherness by_ the xczx — that is.

in part because of the situation of the narrator.albeit disguised — foundation In violence. hovers between the Utopian and the dystopian. such as its claim to descend from giant frogs. which succinctly captures the critical contradictions and confusion that The Coming Race has produced since its publication. . but antiprogressive in spirit" (20). the narrator seems objective enough in his portrayal of Vril-ya culture that its institutions could be a plausible alternative to those of Lytton's England. while the narrator himself is mocked. as well as the fact that it literalizes certain social ideals to which the conservative Lytton was opposed (Campbell 126). especially given its -. are presented satirically. Gerber calls it "an evolutionary Utopia. its attitude towards gender construction. That Lytton locates his narrator in the midst of a culture that is itself profoundly other further confuses the effect on the reader. especially for his enthusiastic support of American republican ideals. othered by the Vril-ya as a human being. Certainly Lytton's satire cuts both ways. or. and by Lytton's implied audience as an American. more seriously. 285 light. but ultimately seems to pxace little faith in any of its figures. Certain aspects of Vril-ya civilization. Despite the firs*.-person point of view. yet there is also the possibi'ity that this society is not a Utopia but a dystopia. The novel then.

applies to the events surrounding the narrator's escape from the Vril-ya. He is "deeply affected" by her offer (165). Suvln writes: it is radically new and shocking to present a social or family organization of full equals: but it is tranquillizing to find first that this can happen only with the Vril-ya (i. once having married. allowing Zee to do the . and second that social equality has not abolished riches or autocracy. our world would be abhorrent" (165). Suvin contends that The Coming Race evokes these others only to neutralize them (357). cultural norms are fixed and incontrovertible. who offers — like a devoted woman — to "renounce (her] country and IherJ people" for his sake (164). . while emancipated females are in practice prevented from using their superiority and. . With that in mind. however. become 'the most amiable. To her. He considers asking her to help him return to the surface. nowhere). but cannot bring himself to perform a similar sacrifice and remain underground. with the help of Zee. and submissive wives I have ever seen . then. the text undermines itself once again..e. Just when the narrator finally seems to overcome his fsar of the other — although he still believes the Vril-ya a danger to humanity — he realizes they can never be reconciled."! (347} Suvin's description of Lytton's "helpless hesitation between the ideal and awful warning" (348). particularly in the areas of politics and gender. then realizes "how dishonorable and base a return for such devotion it would be to allure her away from her people. . . . 286 Regarding the novel's seemingly ambivalent attitude towards the other. conciliatory.

just before she returns him to the surface. and the narrator allows her to re. 287 unthinkable and disregard the orders of the Tur. and it seems the maternal element is an afterthought. a disguise for the female sexuality which inspired only fear in the narrator prior to this point. Zee's protection of the narrator seems less nurturing than chivalric." shoots a "starry light" from her forehead. as even Zee recognizes (184). Once again he thinks: "would that thou wert of ray race or I of Thine then I should never say *I need thee n<. In the end. Now. the self and the other must part forever.e'" (183). the narrator says she "kissed (him] on (his] forehead passionately. she is sacrificing her love for his happiness. in keeping with Vril-ya gender role reversal." an acceptable role for a woman. she bears more resemblance to an older tradition of masculine angelic power. of course. swiftly. but the novel recasts her in the masculine role of saviour. He describes Zee. saving the narrator from certain death (182). as she expands her "vast wings. of course. but with a mother's passion" (184). as "an angel. steadfastly" (184). and which he still cannot mention unproblematically. Even disguised.scue him.roo. thus neutralizing otherness as Suvin suggests: the reader is still left with a . however. however. and soars upward "brightly. expressing both a wish for the union of self and other and the recognition that this is impossible. When they part.

(347-48) Thus the text is ambivalent. he also notes Lytton's apparent. 288 sense of the radical. is in the other texts 1 have considered. Bulwer's deep commitment to the discourse of power is matched by his constant attraction to the discourse of freedom. Lytton's novel literalizes the persistence of the other in its open ending. The Coming Race contains radical scenes whose impact on both the narrator and the reader cannot be erased: like The Vamovre and Frankenstein. emphasis added). in any sense. although anxious attraction to the very otherness he attempts to tranquillize. that world continues to exist as a largely unspeakable threat. Although the narictor escapes from the subterranean world of the Vril-ya. To quote Suvin: he is. otherness Is not easily contained. to use Suvin's term. "hesitat[ing] between superior Utopian girls and submissive women (and] between elitist collectivism and possessive individualism." to give only two examples (Suvln 4 1 2 ) . Only when the narrator is . I would suggest that. uneasily fascinated by the potent energies of political and sexual communism at the same time as he is deeply horrified by such a principle of Evil. or ax least of ambivalence regarding the other. While Suvin emphasizes the ways in which The Coming Race works to negate its potential radicality concerning the other so that "all that remains of the radical novum is the contained titillation ox Platonic republicanism or of some gender-role reversals" (347. Like Carmilla and Dracula. in fact.

the narrator is other among the Vril-ya. anonymously. Similarly. In that it once again establishes an unproblematically threatening other reminiscent of paranoid anti-communist science fiction films such as The Thing (1951) with its famous closing line "Keep watching the skies" (Waller 264). presumably to be defeated. It does permit the continued existence of that other. the position the Vril-ya occupy now that the narrator is safely back In the human world. the novel suggests that humanity's confrontation with the other. with the sinister capitals similarly employed by Polidori. as the reviews demonstrate. The novel ends with the ominous warning: "i have thought my duty to my fellow-men to place on record these forewarnings of THE COMING RACE" (186). while the ending of The Coming Race may not be particularly radical. However. and also other to Lytton's English audience.the "normal" ." and. his position shifts between that of American other to be mocked and that of human being -. there is no indication that the human/self will triumph in the inevitable conflict. The position of the other within the novel is by no means fixed. Although Suvin observes that a foreign invasion can represent a domestic revolution (14). to be published "posthumously. 289 ostensibly dying can he write of his experiences there. like Lytton's novel. Otherness persists in another way as well. Ending thus. cannot be avoided.

The narrator. and gradually growing into some better humanity" (46). which he sees as that of "absolute Monarch whose autocracy they so idly seek to disguise by the republican title of chief magistrate. It is also possible. . The narrator's vision seems partly a response to his own powerless. and partly a revelation of cultural difference. of course. it is never eliminated. While otherness shifts location. partly a confirmation of the Vril-ya view of the nature of barbarians. . but also as inevitable and impossible to resolve. views the Vril-ya as profoundly other. holding his father-in-law's position. It also establishes Him as other in relation to Lytton's implied reader. othered position. His fantasy of having married the Tur's daughter. who would not dream of such things. according to Blackwood's to identify with the Vril-ya as "simply our present humanity modified." and instituting reforms — such as the abolition of Vril — "calculated to bestow on the people of the nether world the blessings of a civilization known to the races of the upper" (160-62) exemplifies his otherness among the Vril-ya. both In the sense of assimilation or destruction and in that of . yet consistently proves their own views of his otherness.-axly reveals as constructed rather than universal. 290 — with whom to identify. which the novel cons* i. "dramatlz(ing] . the inconsistency in the American national character — a fondness for social rank and a penchant for democratic leveling" (Campbell 127).

which "is not the sign of an imperfection: it reveals the inscription ol otherness in the work. that which happens at its margins" (79). however. to use this ambivalence for deconstructive purposes. or — more commonly — a purely dystopian analysis produces. With reference to the text's "presentation of sexual. 291 resolution. I think correctly. It is possible. and radical desire. Pierre Macherey observes that such contradictions reveal a conflict of meanings. Once again. to turn the contradictions within the text against the text. The Coming Race is significant in that it blurs the distinction between the self and the other. . through which it maintains a relationship with that which it is not. This statement suggests. Like the other texts discussed here." Suvin writes: "Bulwer managed cleverly to fuse the showing and the avoidance" (361-62). the reader is left with Suvin's "hesitation" or a general textual ambivalence. that Lytton's novel alternately reveals and conceals both cultural anxieties related to the author's admittedly conservative politics. Reading The Corning Race through its ambiguities reveals a text more complex than either a purely Utopian. political and biological Others.

and so on. who explains it as . it may be useful to consider Jackson's assessment of fantasy. and allow us to read its structure as ideology. provide clues which lead us back to the concrete historical situation of the individual text itself. to determine the degree to which the Gothic and speculative fictions examined here are radical. nationality. a manifestation of his own anxieties. . religion. **it is the very painting of your fear" (lll. class. which she calls "the literature of subversion. and. . then texts which focus on otherness could be described in the same way. as a socially symbolic act. Genre. those of the dominant society the self represents. ("Romance" 157) Consequently. Lady Macbeth dismisses it by telling her husband. Jameson believes that generic affiliations .76) — that is.iv. by extension. sexuality. Canon and the Subversive Nature of Shadows Unable to see the "horrible shadow" that is Banquo's ghost." Jackson takes her definition of the fantastic from Todorov. That these texts reveal such anxieties is not in question: what remains is to examine the degree to which they subvert the dominant beliefs of an anxious society. The preceding chapters have examined the ways in which the figure of the other encompasses cultural anxieties concerning gender. If the other is a manifestation of the fears and desires of the self. as a protopolltlcal response to a historical dilemma. 292 CONCLUSION "The Very Painting of Your Fear": Society. race.

because ideology is presented as natural or real (Punter 419). this collection of Gothic and speculative fiction demonstrates what Jackson calls "epistemological confusion" (Fantasy 9 7 ) . this function of the fantastic is politically radical. rules and conventions taken to be normative" (Jackson. Fantasy 1 4 ) . This state of uncertainty is most profound for the novels * respective protagonists. and the position of Lytton's narrator as a stranger in a strange land. and Aubrey's weakened mental state calls his . Fantasy 3 6 ) . because it "raises questions of the nature of the real and the unreal. "Such a violation of dominant assumptions threatens to subvert . foregrounding the relationship between them as its central concern" (Fantasy 3 7 ) . confronting an apparently supernatural event" (25). According to Jackson. the fantastic calls the category of the 'real* into question (Jackson. All the texts I have analyzed here fit the Jackson/Todorov model of the fantastic to a certain extent- As well as the juxtaposition of the real and the unreal resulting from the presence of vampires in London or in anglicized Styria. By introducing unreal elements. 293 "that hesitation experienced by a person who knows only the laws of nature. literature which produces this effect is necessarily subversive. . "Vampyre" 2 0 2 ) . . then. but also affects their readers- Ruthven in The Vampyre is very subtly unreal (Senf. the intrusion of Frankenstein's monstrous creation into the novel's domestic setting.

is suspect. and their collection of narratives is not entirely seamless. in which "many of the critical events are not presented directly to the reader but are told by one character to another" (Specter 104). which the reader knows to have been influenced by tales of the supernatural. Margaret L. especially in terms of their attitudes towards the undead. . which Laura does not witness (Carter. and the reader is given only a mediated version of the truth. were it not for his death and resurrection. the fact of Ruthven"s vampirism could be dismissed as a product of Aubrey's imagination. although they serve to corroborate each other. particularly as it concerns proof of Carmilla's vampirism and of her destruction. Indeed. Carter also lists the narrative frame and subjective documents. too. 294 view of events into question. . one's sanity. Stoker's protagonists are similarly unreliable. to "reinforce the subjective nature of their tale and cast doubts on everything that ha(s] preceded" ("Unseen Face" 9 4 ) . which the reader only sees through Aubrey's eyes. as well as various . Harker's final note. to accept these [documents] as proofs of so wild a story" (444-445). serves. Laura's perspective. which admits "we could hardly ask any one . Specter 9 1 ) . Carter notes that such fantastic "doubt — of oneself. Carmilla demonstrates a similarly dreamlike rendition of reality. and the objective universe — is the dominant motif of Dracula" (Specter 1 0 2 ) . as Senf remarks.

again and again he repeats the unbelievability of his tale" (Haggerty 5 5 ) . says llaggerty. Despite the evidence of the creature's reality. Finally. Frankenstein generates uncertainty even if one does not subscribe to Thornburg*s theory that the creature lacks an independent existence: the real world recedes. supplies only the narrator's account of his experiences among the Vril-ya.(Oltherness is designated as otherwordly. The Coming Race. . between the events and [the] recording of them" (Carter. and emphasizes "the considerable lapse . Specter 9 1 ) . Shelley "leads us into a world beyond our own. as the novel focuses on the conflict between creature and creator. supernatural" (Fantasy 5 3 ) . . Like Carmilla it is a posthumous tale. thus inviting the reader's disbelief. another first-person narrative. as evidence of the novel's status as an instance of Todorov*s fantastic. but continues to exist. lit effect. and the instability . My texts also examine the relationship of. Jackson associates the distinction between the real and the unreal with that between the self and the other.. She writes: "fantastic literature has always been concerned with revealing and exploring the interrelations of the * I * and the 'not-I. 295 instances of mental instability (real or perceived) among the protagonists. .* of self and other . "Frankenstein constantly reminds us of the possibility thai he is mad. both seducing us with the familiarity and alarming us with the hidcousness of what she finds there" (38)..

anthropologist Mary Douglas.that the conventional and stable division between self and Other will disappear forever" (30). in ways other than their compliance with Jackson's structural criteria. . in her study Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. . is necessary for the definition of the self and the society in which it operates. fear and desire. self and Other that exist in our society" (68). Even to suggest the possibility of what I call "the blur" — a condition in which the sacred division between self and other becomes indistinct — reveals that this boundary is constructed and arbitrary. Indeed. Consequently. in the possibility . discusses the crossing of . the self and the other. and notes that Gothic fiction "calls into question the lines between reality and fantasy.. 296 of the boundary between. as well as those within the texts themselves. and that the self is superior to the other. any text in which the blur occurs Is potentially dangerous to the dominant Ideology.. This is extremely significant in a system based upon the hierarchical opposition between self and other: in such a system. and it is in these ways that they demonstrate -heir subversive potential. Day identifies "the true terror . Such texts challenge cultural taboos which establish "certain bounding lines and divisions which enable society to function without disruption" (Punter 262). the assumption that self and other are different.


culturally-defined boundaries as highly transgress!ve.

Those who establish the boundaries possess power, Douglas

maintains: consequently, those who cross, or worse, work to

collapse, those boundaries must necessarily undermine that

power (96-98). In their presentation of the other, and of

the response to otherness, all the texts I am considering

deconstruct, to some degree, the notion of a conerete

division between self and other, and therefore can be read

as subversive.

One of the most obvious ways to blur the distinction

between self and other is to grant the other a voice. A

speaking other indicates an other which is independent of

the self to the degree that it functions as subject, "the

subject of (its] own story rather than the object of

another's" (Hollinger 151). The speaking other also tends

to elicit more sympathy from the reader than one whose voice

is excluded from the narrative. The most conventional of my

texts, by this standard. Is Dracula. in which, as Hollinger

notes "the Other has no voice, no point of view; he merely

is" (149). In fact. Stoker's narrative technique is even

more manipulative than Its exclusion of Dracula's voice

suggests: the amount each character Is allowed to write

almost directly correlates with his or her degree of social

acceptability- Hence, the narrative totally excludes the

ancient vampires, and silences Lucy Immediately after her

transformation begins: Mina's letters to her during her


Illness remain unopened. Indeed, Lucy, as the corruptible

woman, writes few letters even before she encounters the

vampire, and these do not form part of the narrative per se.

but are mereiy personal communications to Mina. and largely

on trivial subjects- Similarly, but less obviously, the

Dutch Catholic Van Helsing is allowed only the occasional

memorandum in Transylvania, when the plot is proceeding in a

straightforward manner, and the foreign and aristocratic

heroes. Quincey and Arthur, are not allowed to speak —

short of brief notes to each other and to Seward — despite

being domesticated- Thus, not only does Quincey"s death not

really disrupt the notion of a happy ending for the reader

who barely knows him. but the main narrative remains firmly

in the hands of the English, bourgeois protagonists: Harker.

Mina and Seward. The other vampire texts fare slightly

better: Macdonald and Scherf note that 'a small part of

(Polidori's] tale is told from (Ruthven*s] point of view"

(3), and Carmilla speaks more often than Dracula. although

the reader has to depend on Laura's memory and transcription

of her words, further mediated by the book's fictional

editor. The Coming Race also takes this middle ground, with

the narrator mediating between the reader and the Vril—ya as

Mina's narrative might be considered subversive
because she Is a woman, but she is. as my analysis notes, an
almost completely safe version of the female other, and one
who is not likely to become, like Lucy, truly demonic.

Laura does for Carmilla. although he often paraphrases their
words rather than reporting them directly.
The most obviously subversive of my texts, in terms of
the speaking other, is Frankenstein. The extent to which
Shelley gives her creature a voice is unique among these
narratives- Although his voice, like those of the Vril-ya.
and that of Carmilla, is mediated through, and literally
contained by the narratives of Frankenstein and Walton, he
is allowed to tell his own story, which lies significantly
at the centre of the novel's frame narratives. The
positioning of the creature's tale calls attention to Its
significance, and the raore-or-less uninterrupted narrative
permits him to gain the reader's sympathy- He eventually
breaks out of one frame, speaking directly to Walton, rather
than through his creator, and thus qualifying the impression
Walton has gained from Frankenstein, to the extent that the
Englishman does not hinder the- creature's escape."
Another, unrelated way In which these texts break down
the boundaries between self and other is through the use of
the double, whereby self and other become. If not
indistinguishable, then noticeably alike. Jackson notes
that doubling is a technique of the subversive fantastic
(Fantasy 45), and Day explicitly claims that "the figure of
the double transforms the self-Other relationship into a

"The creature's eloquence, of course, is a factor here,
as is his sincerity; if Walton truly believes the creature
will destroy himself, then he has no reason to detain him.

self-self relationship. . . - The other resolves itself into
a version of the self" (20). Instances of doubling in the
examined texts include, as I have mentioned, the
relationship between the vampire and her victim in Carmilla.
and the resemblance between Dracula and Van Helsing, as well
as the fact that the Harker becomes the mirror-image of the
vampire, as he grows weaker while Dracula gains strength. A
similar energy transfer occurs in The Vampyre. and of
course, in Frankenstein. which once again proves itself core
directly subversive by highlighting the resemblance between
creature and creator to the degree that Frankenstein blames
himself for the creature's crimes. Only The Coming Race
shows no evidence of doubling.
Related to the double, and also recognized by Jackson
(Fantasy 49). is the theme of transformation, in which the
self. rather than resembling the other, actually becomes
that other. This is most obvious in the vampire texts which
represent the condition of vampiric otherness as a contagion
or poison, thus revealing the ease with which the self can
cross the boundary into otherness. Although Ruthven does
not actually transform his victims into vampires, he does
corrupt them so that they become more like him. Both
Carmilla and Dracula literalize the transformation, which
becomes most significant in the latter, when Lucy and. more
significantly. Mina. fall under the vampire's influence.
That Mina can be even partially transformed emphasizes the


pervasiveness of otherness, and, perhaps, the existence of

the other within the self. Dracula. after all. was human

once. as. presumably were his three consorts, but the fact

that their otherness is not necessarily innate does not

become clear until put in the context of the metamorphoses

of Lucy and Mina. While Frankenstein does not represent

such a literal change. Joyce Carol Oates argues that "the

Inhuman creation becomes increasingly human while his

creator becomes increasingly inhuman" (545). Once again.

Lytton's text, which in such a comparative analysis appears

more and more conservative, contains no direct instances of


The Coming Race does, however, show that otherness is

relative, rather than Innate, with its complex portrayal of

the American narrator, perceived as other by both the Vril-

ya and by Lytton's intended (English) audience, among the

Vril-ya whom he perceives as other. The portrayal of

otherness as fluid rather than static is subversive because

It belies the traditional function of the other as a fixed

entity against which the self can be defined. All the

others in these texts are fluid to some degree, whether

literally, as in the case of Dracula. who has more than one

form, or figuratively, as with Carmilla's "ambiguous

alternations." or Lucy's transformation from angel to demon.

Not only is the fantasy antagonist the site of multiple

types of otherness, bit the site of otherness itself is also

multiple; the fenale other can be both angel and demon, for
example. The position of the other in relation to the self
is also complicated by the fact that these texts destabilize
the traditional definition of the self as well, cost notably
in terms of gender construction; feminizing the male self
locates otherness within, which necessarily alters the
reader's view of the external other, and the self's relation
to it-
The self's response to the other is usually as fluid as
the position of the other itself, and usually fits Day's
model of fear and desire. The vampire simultaneously
attracts and terrifies or disgusts his or her victim, and
Lytton's narrator feels much the same way about the
Amazonian Zee. Frankenstein and his creature have a
relationship which alternates between potential gratitude
and actual hatred on the part of the creature, and disgust,
short-lived compassion and equally intense hate on the part
of the creator. Dependence characterizes their
relationship, although Frankenstein originally constructs
the creature to assert his own subjectivity, and the
creature longs for an autonomy which he feels,
paradoxically, that only his creator can give him. Their
association, like that between Dracula's men. Is further
complicated by homosociality mediated through •somen. The
clear-cut distinction between self and other, like that
between fear and desire, threatens to collapse completely.

The ways in which each text represents the response to
otherness are perhaps their most significant means of
subverting the hierarchical self/other binary- It is
particularly important, however to distinguish the texts*
respective responses to otherness from their characters*
responses to the other portrayed in the text. Shelley does
not necessarily support Frankenstein's view of the creature,
for example, and Stoker frequently Indulges in irony at the
expense of his heroes, as does Polidori with the hopelessly
naive Aubrey. Le Fanu presumably Intends the reader to
sympathize with Laura, and perhaps to share her ambivalent
feelings towards Carmilla, rather than to align him or
herself with the patriarchs who see the vampire only as a
threat to be destroyed. Lytton's text is particularly
complex In this context, because the author's view of the
perfect society does not correspond entirely with that of
the Vril-ya or with that of the narrator, but lies
somewhere, undefined, between the two.
Indeed, texts concerned with the relationship between
the self and the other will often use their characters"
reactions to the other to reveal the nature of the othering
process, and. implicitly, to critique it- Again, this
radical strategy is most obvious In Frankenstei n. as Victor
first constructs, then alienates, his obviously othered
creature. Oddly, such a revelation occurs in The Coming
Race as well; the narrator, as an outsider to Vril-ya

and thus allowed them better to articulate their own views. while Lytton lived In an even more political milieu. was Influenced by the political thought of her parents. but of course . It may be that these two writers. 304 culture. which use their portrayal of the relationship between self and other for more deliberately political purposes. and then of the House of Lords. unhampered by the Gothic's political and social associations. however. rather than being innate. both of whom appear to have had deliberate political agendas for which their books were vehicles.. of course. being a member. Shelley. Is aware of the socially constructed nature of the customs the Vril-ya would not think to question. but their use of images of contagion reveals that it is created. were drawn to speculative fiction. and the speculative with the oppressed social other. which was perhaps. is unclear. and moved In circles concerned with expressing radical views. Whether this is a function of genre distinctions. These texts address this possibility more subtly. than the speculative ones. less constrained by genre expectations than the older Gothic form. first of the House of Commons. It is tempting to suggest that the Gothic is more concerned with the repressed psychological other. The vampire texts do not so overtly expose the way in which otherness is created. or of the individual political Interests of Shelley and Lytton. at the time.

Frankenstein has obvious Gothic connections. and speculative texts such as Lytton's also address more "personal" issues such as gender construction and desire. In any case. neither Shelley's text nor Lytton's is easily classifiable by genre. In The Vampyre. and even The Coming Race is not completely free of such associations. Finally. Indeed. the other unambiguously triumphs and in Frankenstein he survives to defeat his creator. as its author was better known as a writer of Gothic novels than of speculative fiction. this fact could tentatively be used as evidence that the text illustrates the "quest for the numinous" which Devendra Varma notably associates with the Gothic (Varna 211). "Return" 120). of course. the way In which the response to otherness portrayed in the text often serves to disguise that manifested by the text. and the fact that any discrepancies should be closely examined. which are. 305 the relations between genre and politics are not so simple. both social and political. are probably most apparent In considering the ultimate fate of the other In any given text. particularly given its historical connection with the French Revolution (Paulson 534-43). one accessible edition of Lytton's text is published by the Rosicrucian Brotherhood as "the KEY to the Occult Mysteries which Lord Lytton could only hint" (Clymer 187). however . The Gothic is also inherently political. as well as psychological (Hatlen.


miserable his victory makes him; these two texts accordingly

refuse closure. The same open-endedness exists in The

Coming Race, which ends in a sort of armed truce, with both

self and other surviving. Carmilla and Dracula have

emphatically closed endings in which the other is violently

destroyed, which would seem to place them on the

conservative end of the spectrum, given the ultimate triumph

of the dominant culture, and the elimination of the

transgress!ve other. At first glance, as Leatherdale says

of Dracula,

these texts are unabashedly * conservative.*
firstly, in that s.11 those who die show qualities
of rebelliousness or independence; secondly, in
having the bourgeois characters at the conclusion
revert back to the bliss of the opening without
benefitting from any social, as opposed to
spiritual, advancement in any form, and thirdly,
in a more ideological sense. (207)

The sense which Leatherdale means is the ability to "writlej

an ostensibly unpolitical novel, yet still . . . manag[e] to

create a work which reinforces the prevailing establishment

beliefs of the ruling class" (207). The interpretation of

these texts as absolutely conservative, which Is a common

one. is overly simplistic, given the perversely attractive

nature of vampirism, which is at the same time clearly set

in threatening opposition to the social order restored by

Its destruction.

Jackson's remark that "by imaginatively protesting

against and even fantasizing the destruction of social

codes, only to renew and confirm their validity, literary


fantasies can dramatically articulate social tensions A'ithin

themselves" ("Narcissism" 43) applies to both Carmilla and

Dracula. both texts in which, it seems to me. the

imaginative protest outweighs the reinscription of social

norms. The reader's most striking memory of Carmilla is the

image of the attractive female vampire who likewise persists

in Laura's dreams, rather than that of her destruction,

which we. like Le Fanu's heroine, witness only second hand.

In addition, the violent destruction of the vampire in

Carmilla as in Dracula is an act which calls the self into

question, particularly when, as In Stoker, the ritual murder

is portrayed as a source of socially sanctioned, but

unacknowledged, pleasure.

Just as actions speak louder than words in the

presentation of these texts* powerfully compelling, yet

unspeaking vampires, so do the memorable actions which

precede the final description of restored order outweigh

that description. Both the transgressive acts of the

vampires and the questionable acts of the protagonists serve

xo challenge the distinction between the demonic other and

the heroic self, especially since the final order is itself

not absolute in either text: Laura's dreams persist, and

Quincey Harker's parentage is dubious- Despite the final

fate of the other in Carmilla and Dracula then, these two

texts demonstrate an ambivalent attitude towards otherness,

and are tnus no less radical than texts in which the other


is not physically destroyed- They simply employ an

effective strategy of disguise.

Like Jameson. Moretti believes that the concept of

otherness is a tool of those in power, and that the "monster

(as] metaphor" (83) serves the dominant class, as it

functions "to displace the antagonisms and horrors evidenced

within society to outside society itself" (68). Moretti

takes a similar view regarding the fantasy antagonist as the

other whose repression is made necessary by that culture:

"one need not fear one's own repressions, the splitting of

one's own psyche. No, one should be afraid of the monster,

of something material, something external" (81). Byers

applies this view to Dracula when he writes that its

"mission is not to propound the existence of literal

vampires, but to conceal the existence of figurative ones"

(155). Even if this is the case, it should be possible to

reverse the process, to analyze a particular literal monster

and thus reveal, sometimes in a critical light, the actual

social anxieties it conceals, as I have attempted to do in

the preceding chapters. Indeed, sometimes the texts

themselves reverse this ideological masquerade, and conceal

radical intent behind the mask of fantasy.

Regarding the subversive social function of the

supernatural, Todorov writes: "sexual excesses will be more

rc-adily accepted by any censor if they are attributed to the

devil" (159). Having caught the reader's attention, he

makes the more explicit point that "the function of the

supernatural is to exempt the text from the action of th*

law, and thereby to transgress that law" (159)- Such a

strategy is even more effective in the case of fiction

written for mass consumption- In the words of Garnett:

the use of the supernatural in popular middle-
class . . . fiction does allow the writer more
freedom than is otherwise normally available.
This is because it automatically causes tlie text
in which it appears to be marginalised into a
cluster of categories of insignificance (popular,
sensational, "mere" fantasy, un-realistic. and so
on) — a process which defuses through its
reception any transgressive charge the text may be
capable of providing- This can take place,
however, only if the text itself conceals what it
reveals, ensuring that its transgressions,
'presupposing the laws or norms or taboos against
which they function,* at least appear to 'end up
precisely reconfirming such laws.* (33)

Garnett*s final quotation is an adaptation of Jameson (PU

6 8 ) , whose original statement fails to recognize that the

subversive can merely be disguised as conservative. Rather.

Jameson believes in an interesting reversal of the other as

the opposite of self: transgression "must always have a

repressive norm or law through which to burst and against

which to define itself" (PU 6 8 ) . Because it presupposes

this law. transgression is ultimately futile- The belief

that any transgressive impulse merely ends up strengthening

the dominant order is akin to the 'safety valve* theory of

the fantastic, which states that "readers can enjoy what

they know ought to be feared and rejected without the danger

and stigma that would come from actually acting out such

desire" (Day 69). Better to limit transgression to the
pages of popular fiction, then, than to censor such fiction
and contend with riots in the streets. Alluding to Bartles,
Byers refers to this containment strategy as ""inoculation*
. . . whereby a small dose of the exotic is admitted to the
body politic so that it can be used to manufacture an
immunity to larger doses of the same threat" (155)- There
is always a risk, however: "if the process is not carefully
controlled it can result in the very 'infection* it is
designed to prevent" (Byers 156). In the subversive texts I
am addressing, otherness cannot be contained, but persists
even after the vampire has been staked, the family restored,
the hero returned home, and indeed, the book closed. The
question remains, however: Is the disguise successful, or
are the dangerous other and the even more dangerous blur
apparent to those in power?
By examining contemporary reviews, one can establish
the degree to which the texts were perceived as subversive.
Generally, both positive and negative reviews of all texts
exist; I propose to examine only the most negative, on the
theory that, if the texts caused outrage, it was because
they challenged the authority of the status quo. Regarding
Dracula, Christopher Bentley finds that "reviewers . - -
while they may find artistic flaws In the novel, detect
nothing that is morally objectionable" (32), and thus
assumes that Stoker's projection of transgression onto the

vampire, who could then be expelled, was successful.
"Stoker's work." Bentley maintains, "in spite of its modern
setting is a fantasy using the materials of folklore, and
its chief character is therefore permitted to force his way
into the bedrooms of respectable young women and to exercise
freedoms that would be surprising even in the avowedly
'fast* novelists of the day" (32-33). Bentley is right in
claiming that reviewers do not identify Dracula as immoral;
indeed, the only text which inspires a moral objection is
Frankenstein. which The Quarterly Review condemns for its
lack of any "lesson of conduct, manners, or morality" (57).
More common are the aesthetic criticisms Bentley mentions,
most notably in the Athenaeum*s review of Dracula. which the
reviewer believes is "wanting in the constructive art as
well as in the higher literary sense" (835).
Like the Edinburgh Monthly Review's, who not only
condemns The Vampyre as "void of all merit as to style." but
also calls it "odious" and "disgusting" (620). reviewers
also often object to texts on the ground of taste. The
Quarterly Review finds "something tremendous" in
Frankenstein's use of language, but the reviewer's "taste
and - - - judgement alike revolt" at the book's content.
Similarly, The Bookman's review of Stoker, which is
otherwise positive, claims that "a summary of the book would
shock and disgust" (129). The Saturday Review is even more
emphatic regarding Carmilla. which it labels "the most


offensive of all (Le Fanu's] tales" (223). This reviewer

expresses the belief that the author "has miscalculated the

taste of the subscribers to the seaside lending libraries,

for whom he probably writes" (223, emphasis added).

The recurring emphasis on taste is significant because,

as Suvin notes, the "dominant taste" was "the taste of the

dominant social classes and groups, understandably anxious

about the survival of their interests and values" (275).

Thls fact, as well as the tendency to convert political

objections to aesthetic ones, indicates that the reviewers

were themselves engaging in a process of disguise; by

condemning texts on the grounds of style and "taste." they

could safely avoid raising questions of political and social

transgression, and yet still express a negative opinion.

Texts which inspired the wrath of reviewers in these ways

then, might be considered transgressive. but. because of the

masquerades in which both authors and reviewers engaged, no

precise correlation can be made between negative reviews and

subversive novels- Lytton's text, for example, is the only

one for which I could not find a negative review, which

would suggest that The Coming Race supported dominant

political views. Still, it is hard to imagine any obviously

political text not offending someone, and 1 am Inclined to

believe that the ambiguity of Lytton's text, which many

reviewers actually mention, simply worked as an extremely

See appendix.

writes. As well as "express(ingl the anxieties of its culture" (Spencer 9 4 ) . can explain a text's popularity. Demetrakopoulos accounts for the continuing popularity of Stoker's text in much the same way. regarding Dracula's "backlash against Victorian sexual mores" (108). 313 effective disguise. then. reviewers could read it as straight satire. or as Utopian fantasy. A common bias against "popular" novels also existed. and all the texts I have examined had such appeal. "the popularity of the novel shows that (StokerJ shared with his fellow Victorians many of the same images and shadow figures" (108). may Indicate a text's subversive tendencies. in the nineteenth century and now. claiming that it "may be ascribed to our wish to allow our most deeply repressed psychic and societal desires to surface" (111). then. but what . because the popular audience may itself be othered. Popular appeal then. Transgressive impulses. as the Saturdav Review's assessment of Le Fanu's fantastic stories as "hopelessly absurd" shows. hence the same review's contempt for Le Fanu's audience. As Stephanie Demetrakopoulos. when. strictly speaking. Depending on their political views. and subverted the dominant order. it is neither- Contemporary reviews often object to the supernatural in fiction. popular fiction may have excited the anxieties of the dominant class. Issues of canon and intended audience also have political Implications.

Applying this principle to my texts is problematic because more than one definition of canon is relevant. McFarland. Carmilla and Dracula are both canonical Gothic texts. find It necessary to apologize for their interest in Stoker. . if transgressive texts appeal to an othered population. perhaps because of its open- ended ambiguity. what prevents a text from being accepted as literature? The answer may perhaps lie in the reversal of the previous assumptions. their defensive attitude indicates that Dracula. too. Polidori*s is not canonical. to reverse the question. 314 explains its acceptance as literature? Or. Carmilla is hardly classified as a well—known work of ninetcenth-centtary literature. which confounds contemporary readers such as Ronald E. such texts are still considered too See appendix. then the elites who determine the canon may exclude texts which subvert the dominant Ideology. A surprising number of critics. which would be in keeping with their ostensibly conservative endings. is not yet entirely accepted by what one might call a mainstream canon. The continuing obscurity of -what are arguably the two most representative and influential nineteenth-century vampire narratives seems to suggest that. However. as a sub-genre. If ambiguity is subversive. then The Vampyre's marginalized position confirms the above hypothesis. but Is obscure once one leaves the shadow—realm of the Gothic. such a? Demetrakopoulos.

it is also the most canonical text among them. This fact is even more relevant in the . shows that self and other are seldom completely separate entities. The literary canon likewise excludes it. The degree to which texts focusing on the relationship between the self and the other are subversive. although highly Influential as a work of Victorian science fiction. given how Stoker and Le Fanu undermine their own apparent conservatism. 315 "popular" — or perhaps. thus calling the idea of a parallel between canonicity and conservatism into question. may reestablish that parallel: this novel. is further complicated by the fact that it remains an icon of popular culture. Dracula's status. An analysis of the presentation of otherness. Once again. too subversive -- to be adopted into the literary canon. however. its open ending. then. The Coming Race. the relative obscurity of the text may be the result of its ambiguity. like that of Frankenstein. is seldom analyzed. and the response to it. although Lytton himself is a canonical nineteenth-century author. is largely a matter of the degree to which they attempt to collapse the boundary between those two concepts. Shelley's novel is an anomaly: more obviously radical than the other texts according to the criteria considered here. or a subversive streak that belies its facade of conventional conservative satire. a position which perhaps speaks to its transgressive appeal. even by critics of speculative fiction.

then at least a complex one with whosa the reader can Identify. Robert lielnleln's science fiction classic Stranger in a Strange Land. — perhaps this century's closest thing to Gothic proper — Jody Scott and Angela Carter. These texts explore socially relevant themes similar to those presenx in their nineteenth-century counterparts. Certain works of twentieth-century speculative fiction without vaspiric connections elicit similar identification with the other. for example. . A relevant text less commonly thought of as science fiction is Margaret Atvood's The Handmaid's Tale. First-person narratives from the vampire's point of view transform this figure from threatening oosster to. but from the "other's side. to which the same approach could conceivably be applied. 316 context of certain twentieth-century speculative texts. into a new tradition of focusing on the other. In the twentieth century." as it were. such as do Shelley and Lytton. the other has become the self. if not a completely admirable entity. The tendency of certain nineteenth-century texts to blur the distinction between self and other has been translated. and thus call the constructed categories of the foreign and the normal into question. In twentieth-century vampire texts such as those of Anne Rice. follows in the footsteps of Frankenstein in that it presents the view of a sympathetic other — a human raised by aliens — confronted by the prejudices of the dominant society which perceives ham as a threat.

Together these twentieth- century texts. but which both she and the reader perceive as profoundly alien in itself. Similarly. and others like them. like The Coming Race. Cultural anxieties are intrinsic to the idea of culture. "might be said to constitute a new literary canon developed aroraad the figure of the Outsider. This is not to say. turned so completely into the self as to lose its subversive appeal. that that figure will be domesticated. The number of books and films which continue to present the alien invader or scary monster as a threat to human home and family is evidence enough thas no such danger exists. and similarly places a protagonist with whom the reader can identify in a society which oppresses her as other. The other embodies "the fears . however. such spectacle attracts an audience based as much on the attraction of the alien or monster as on that of the heroes who Inevitably destroy it in an impressive pyrotechnic display at the tale's conclusion. 317 which. the other remains as a shadow in the shadows. has a deliberately political purpose. the appeal of the other as a source of transgressive desire also persists. if the popularity of the above-mentioned books and films is any indication. and the figure of the other will always be the convenient repository for those common fears." to use Hollinger's words (155). Even after that conclusion. never quite contained by the frame of safe representation — the painting of our fears.

. although we can no more admit that than Lady Macbeth can acknowledge Banquo's ubiquitous ghost. and our affinity for it persists.and desires created. but unacknowledged by conventional culture" (Day 117).

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" Philological Quarterly 70 (1991): 339-59. 331 Young. "'They Will Prove the Truth of My Tale". "Frankenstein: The Mother. Arlene." Journal of Narrative Technique 21 (1991): 170-84." Studies in the Novel 23 (1991): 325-38- Youngquist. "The Monster Within: The Alien Self in Jane Eyre and Frankenstein. Zonana. . and the Monster. Paul. Safie's Letters as the Feminist Core of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. the Daughter. Joyce.

that culture decides what to let live and what to embalm" (104). the source for J. "it is . writes: "isajelodrama is a theater of externals. 332 APPENDIX TO CHAPTER ONE "Unhappy Ruthven!": Planche's Theatrical Domestication of Polidori"s The Vampyre In The Living and the Undead: From Stoker's Dracula to Romero"s Dawn of the Dead. Planche's melodrama. Ronald E. or The Bride of the Isles (1820).R. from text to text. . and this belief informs his study and much of my own interest in the vampire tradition- Just what is repeated. Waller refers to "the notion of an ongoing transformation of options" (9) in the long tradition of vampire narratives which began with the 1819 publication of Polidori"s The Vampyre. Is often ideologically significant. Achille Jouffrey. McFarland. as Walter Kendrlck claims in his analysis of "two hundred and fifty years of scary entertainment. down among the rip-offs. of . via the French melodrama by Pierre Caraaouche. The Vampire. and whai altered. Waller believes these texts form a pattern of "repetition and difference" (8). . I propose te examine Planche's vampire play in the context of its source in Polidori. To put it another way." which includes eighteenth- and nineteenth-century melodrama and twentieth-century film. and Charles Nodier. In just such an analysis. This strategy is indeed used by the few critics -«ho consider Planche's adaptation of Polidori*s tale. Consequently.

Insisting upon sensational. Noting that the melodrama "avoid(si ambiguity or ambivalence at all costs" (25). and "obscurity" (28)." It Is. colorful sets. according to McFarland. the stage was quite ready for the advent of the vampire" (25). . "problems of motivation" (26).Cox's introductory essay in Seven Gothic Dramas. In other words. which Cox sees as "a cultural reaction against the extremism and radicalism of the Gothic" . In terms of its popular appeal and spectacular potential.. consists more in "promising hints" than in "a vivid setting or . Jeffrey ?*. 333 spectacle. however. McFarland suggests that Planche's play.. lack of credibility In his characters (24). as he notes. 1789—1825 concludes with a discussion of the "domestication" of the stage. this may have been the case. Polidori*s work. essentially fills in the gaps in Polidori's tale. Polidori operates on levels other than the external and the obvious. and Imaginative special effects. resulting in what McFarland implies Is a clearer. like Nodier's. In short. more aesthetically sound version of the story. . "remarkably devoid of (theJ special effects" that he seems to consider an Integral part of the vampire's suitability for the stage (24).a conventional Gothic atmosphere. rapid action. . His vampire tale contains many gaps and ambiguities which McFarland figures variously as "example(s] of his amateur status as a writer of fiction" (22).

in fact. disguising a culturally-ingrained unease regarding ambiguity. «nile discussing the rise of the domestic melodrama over the Gothic. while in fact it is in itself worthy of critical attention- Whatever the reason for their existence. than in u^ing the changes the playwright has made. or lack thereof. are. it is much less sure of this social order. the gaps in The Vampyre offer space for deconstruction. in the context of Cox's statement. 334 (71)." rather than a moral one. Cox notes the tendency of "dramatic and theatrical histories" to view this as "an aesthetic matter. "as a question of 'better* (read realistic] stage practices winning out over a hackneyed dramaturgy" (70). remarks which also apply to the relationship between Planche's play and Polidori's tale. I am less interested in judging Planche's version for its fidelity. I would suggest that McFarland. for a subversive . and other critics who see the ambiguities in Polidori as stylistic flaws. than is the stage adaptation. and much less optimistic about its eventual triumph over the forces of evil. both in its view of "those who threaten order as monsters" (70). While the latter contains elements of the domestic. Thus. and in the "realism" which McFarland notes. to reveal just how subversive Polidori"s text is- The Vampyre is too often dismissed as merely the forerunner of Dracula and other more-analyzed vampire narratives.

where the tradition is common knowledge. "wed some fair and virtuous maiden" and afterwards drink her blood (15). offer. By contrast. p/en . "remarkable for his singularities.the kind of security that comes of knowing that we have knowledge those on stage do not. before the moon is full (16). The result is irony rather than suspense -. the "introductory vision" in which the spirits of earth and air reveal Ruthvcn's vampirism to the audience (15-16). by preceding the action with an explanation of Ruthven"s nature. The Polidori text requires the reader to learn of the vampire's nature gradually. if not for the other characters. the play demystifies the vampire for the audience. tne very question of vampirism is literally unthinkable until Aubrey travels to Greece. for the most part. largely because of this very revelation. and as morally questionable (112). but not as a vampire. and the possible manner of his demise: "total annihilation" if he does not. its cause in "his crimes" (16). 335 reading that McFarland ignores and which the play does not. does. this sequence has a reassuring effect. as well as that the vampire Is not invulnerable. Polidori immediately establishes Ruthven as a stranger to London society. The first significant change occurs in Planch6*s opening scene." (108). as Aubrey. its human protagonist. and that the good spirits arc available. Not present in the original.

and it is important to note the atmosphere of disorientation on stage — the characters themselves remark upon it at length. but does not know of his "resurrection. but still addresses the vampire with the words: "I know not what thou art" (36). When Ronald does discover the fact of Ruthven"s survival. Lack of knowledge. Her father. 336 if their "power is limited" (16). the action fits into Todorov*s category of the fantastic.d that of the other characters. that is. Margaret's complaint of "a strange confusion. the one character who is aware of the tradition to the point of reiterating the 'ampire lore which the spirits introduce . Ronald. Conversely." while his daughter knows Ruthven is alive. Their limited information comes to them in the form of visions. M'Swill. a wild emotion (that] overpowers (her]" (26) is one of many. partial facts and the words of the drunken servant M*Swill. Even when the human characters believe they have knowledge. she also attempts to explain her overwhelming attraction to the vampire in terms of a "spell" (26). Thus Margaret has only the vague information from her dream vision (23). "that hesitation experienced by a person who knows only the laws of nature. . or at least incomplete knowledge. . For Planche's characters. believes he has seen Ruthven die. confronting an apparently supernatural event" (25). the "truth" eludes them. but not that he has "died" (35). marks her experience ar. from [his] sight" (36). he likens this realization to the clearing of "a mist .

This doubly- significant statement. I shall start by discussing the female victims* response to Ruthven. some even enjoy it. is appropriately labelled a "half aside" In the stage directions. and what is known is not a threat. The audience. have access. as well as numerous revelatory asides directed to the viewer. experiences no such instability. which has a different meaning for the audience than for the happy couple. is most obviously apparent in Ruthven*s reply to the invitation to the wedding of Robert and Effie: "I will be there" (27). Generally. In Polidori's tale. most of the vampire's victims are in some way complicit in their victimization. The degree to which the use of this device corresponds to the revelation of the truth to which audience members. The ways in which humans respond to the vampire is. does not think to apply this knowledge to Ruthven. gender-specific. and even the innocents Ruthven destroys do not hesitate. vice is attractive. Planche shows the audience what Polidori merely "hints" at. after the fact. with the benefit of the complete prologue. Knowledge of Ruthven*s nature maintains a sense of order for the audience. . and appropriately summarizes the feelings the audience is spared: "it appears there is something wrong. because both Polidori's and Planche's vampires require a steady diet of young maidens. for the most part. In the corrupt London society Polidori describes. 337 (19). but I can't positively pretend to say what it is" (39-40). as McFarland's article notes (24). the defined supernatural is somehow contained. but not characters.

however. has not been so steadfast. Despite this phenomenon. while Margaret is willing to marry Ruthven. taking the responsibility away from the women he attracts- For example. however. 338 "to expose the whole deformity of their vices to the public gaze" (112). Planche emphasizes the vampire's seductive powers. speculates Senf. Planche's Effie. Ruthven remarks to Aubrey "if not my bride today your sister is dishonoured. who may have already felt guilty about attending the theatre" (Vampire 41). before the wedding. In the play. consummation is never achieved. where Ruthven*s successful attack on Aubrey's love. declaring. Margaret feels an unavoidable physical effect. "I shall never love any one but Robert" (30): she appears to be weakening as Ruthven bears her off. as "a concession to his bourgeois viewers. Margaret is able to resist Ruthven throughout the play. so this infectious sexuality is never an issue. for example. Women are frail!" (125). too. but this is the effect of force rather than of seduction. Aubrey's sister. the play sanitizes the aggressive sexual presence of Polidori's Ruthven. Nor is the possibility that human corruption precedes the arrival of the vampire. rejects the vampire's advances. when she is near him. perhaps. a "strange thrill" (26). while the suggestion in Polidori is that her analogue. Also. the vampire must marry the women on whom he preys. The same distinction exists in Polidori. the Greek .

" However. can be read as similarly celebrating such solidarity.i-«ea. the attendant is English. the final scene. which are actually raised more strongly here than in Polidori's tale. while Polidori more subversively depicts the upper- class woman being seduced as her lower-class counterpart resists. McFarland believes the attacks on Effie and her counterpart in the French melodrama serve merely to show the extent of Ruthven*s mesmeric power (28). it is also worth noticing Robert's nationality. involves no courtship and explicitly resembles rape. thus ignoring issues of class. . a change that no doubt was » calculated to appeal to the proletarian audience" (32). regardless of social status. which might be more significant for a London audience than his rank. suggests a reactionary celebration of solidarity between classes. The play does amplify the vampire's varying responses to vomen of different classes. McFarland himself suggests that Planche is "investing the slight hero's role in the person of the working class attendant [Robert] rather than the aristocrat [Ronald]. which exist to a lesser i niowever. stand together and surround the vampire as he descends through the stage (42). it is also worth noting that the play often raises issues of class only to crass *. or as a sentimental tribute to womanly virtues in general. 339 peasant girl lanthe. That both of Planche's women resist the vampire. in which all the characters. possibly for the benefit of the bourgeois audience Senf invokes.

Effle and Robert Invite the vampire to their wedding specifically as an aristocratic patron (27). Polidori's Aubrey is of lower rank than his vampire. the feudal right of an aristocrat to the brides of his vassals on their wedding nights. whom the young man initially worships. with whom he identifies. in a relationship not unlike that between Polidori and his employer Lord Byron. As well as changing the class Although Robert is Ronald's servant. thus figuring his attack on Effie as the exercise of the droit du seigneur. which only appears to be based upon affection for them both. the two aristocrats consistently share their feudal rights. especially those involving women. Effie is the daughter of the vampire's steward. and in any case. While Planche's Ronald is the social equal of Lord Ruthven. and also in his concern for Ruthven*s marriage to Margaret. Andrew. he expresses equal satisfaction regarding his daughter's marriage to the Earl's *brother" (22). his attempt to preserve Margaret by substituting the blood of Effie for her own denotes not morality. Ronald demonstrates a similar inclination when he falls to believe Robert's accusation of the aristocratic Ruthven (34)." Ronald (26-27). but is actually dynastic. 340 degree In the tale. but a class bias on his Lordship's part. not Ruthven"s. Although Ruthven provokes audience sympathy when he claims to "shrin[k] from the appalling act of planting misery In the bosom of this veteran chieftain. . when he believes Ruthven to have died in Greece.

and the suggested relationship between Ruthven and Ronald's now-dead son. where Aubrey is much more clcariy T h e death of Ronald's son from a "sudden Illness" in Athens. the fact that family relations such as the "father—son" bond between Ruthven and Ronald suggest more erotic connections. which also affect their relationships with the varapire. 341 dynamic. hanging over his sick couch. McFarland correctly notes that the changes in the play's hero — whether Robert or Ronald is seen In this role -- make him much more competent than Aubrey. Their potentially subversive nature. which is more than that of father for surrogate son. may be the result of the fact that Planche's account of Ruthven nursing Ronald's son seems to be based on Polidori's depiction of the vaspire"s care for the delirious Aubrey (117). which seems to be snore than one of brotherhood. which can be read as a lover's vengeance (34). Planche alters his male characters in other ways. however. producing a gender ambiguity that does not exist In the play.d contracted an intimacy. Polidori explicitly feminizes his male protagonist. and the vocabulary of contagion — the son is not only infected with the illness. witu whom he I—.The image of the vampire bending over the prone young man. . especially in view of the former's response to Robert's wounding of the latter. differs from that portrayed in Polidori's tale. although suggestive. and bestowing on him the attentions of a brother" (23). which occurs before the action of the play. but "contracts" an intimate relationship with Ruthven — all suggest sites for the deconstruction of the melodrama's clear-cut categories. creates the most Interesting gap in this otherwise unambiguous crelodrama: the son dies with "Lord Ruthven. despite both the love Ronald expresses for Ruthven." The relationship between Ronald and Ruthven.

While de-emphasizing the oath. it also downplays the unspeakable nature of vampirism. who keeps interrupting (18-19)- Others. however. 342 victimized and feminized. so Ronald is much less constrained by the vampire's demand that he swear to "conceal [Ruthven*s] death from every human being" (31). but is unaware of his apparent death (35). while here Ronald actually refers to Ruthven as "young man" (31) — rather Ironic considering the vampire's advanced age. Instances of interrupted and misinterpreted speech abound in the play. like those which occur when K"Swill relates a vampire tale to the housekeeper. the period of which is also much shorter here ("til yonder moon has set" [Planche 31j as opposed to "a year and a day" [Polidori 119]).3 As Robert Is able to rescue Effie. which Polidori literalizes through the introduction of the oath which McFarland finds "obscure" in its motive (28). suggested by the spirits. which Aubrey can do for none of the women he loves. This change pleases McFarland. gives Ronald much more power than Aubrey has. while she knows that the Earl is alive. but cannot (only in part because of the oath). Bridget. T h e most obvious instance of failed cosssunication occurs when Ronald tries to tell iiargarex about Ruthven"s demise. 3 Part of the difference is probably a function of age: Polidori's Aubrey is younger than the glamorous and worldly aristocrat he idolizes. or the numerous cases where the vampire Interrupts Ronald to prevent him . Some of these exist for comic effect. who finds Aubrey's acquiescence to Ruthven*s demands indicative of Polidori's "amateur status as a writer" (22). who speak of his mortal life as if it were history (15). This page alone contains six unfinished statements. The play Itself features at least thirt3»-four instances of interruption or lack of completion: core than one p"r page. such as those cited above. while Aubrey cannot break his oath of silence until It Is far too late.

believes him to be mad when he. are even snore significant. and she. The fact that Ronald "Is such an enemy to what he calls superstition"' (22) prevents SSargaret from telling him about her vision. he never doubts his own reason. for the most part. However. and vowing to "seal (Ronald's] lips" by destroying Margaret (42). thus maintaining social taboos concerning sexuality. but he Is much more helpless In the face of this enforced silence. and eventually. in part because no one will believe him (122). Margaret believes him and postpones the marriage just long enough to prevent the vampire-"s drinking her blood before the crucial full moon (42). Planche's Ruthven does have power over language. Ronald is aTtwally able to declare that Ruthven has died and been resurrected (361. tells her of his experience. The same privileging of the rational occurs in Polidori. 343 suggesting a concern with issues of silence and speech. from breaking the oath (see 34-35). when it matters. by exacting and enforcing the oath. declaring Ronald Insane (41). In turn. in that Aubrey thinks he cannot speak. having gathered empirical evidence of Ruthven"s supernatural nature when he actually witnesses the vampire's resurrection (36). for example. however. . the rational that keeps the unspeakable unspoken. declaring emphatically "I am -•(. it is. While others think Ronald insane. and the ability to silence his victims and adversaries.

" which he never actually says (36) — "fiend" (36) and "barbarian" (41) are more within his frame of reference — indicate. actually goes temporarily mad In response to his own helplessness. are generally associated with the lower classes. at least. The knowledge that Aubrey is mad in turn destabilizes his version of events. and the audience does not question him as It might the "distracted" Aubrey. but he is able to speak decisively before it is too late. or with women or naive young men such as Polidori's Aubrey. who are so innocent and credulous as to invite disaster. knows what is real. it never supposes that Ronald is insane. who believes In ghosts but not necessarily in vampires (109). show. Such "irrational" beliefs. Initially. as the positions of Bridget and M"Swill. This privileging of empiricism and rationality also relates to class. and rely on . 344 not mad" (36). as the sites of a superstition ironically more reliable than reason. as his words "my brain turns round" (35) and his stuttering over the word "vampire. which is defined by his inability to speak. Once again Planche cancels Polidori's ambiguities. Because the audience has always known that Ruthven is a vampire. Polidori's Aubrey. the audience. of which Lord Ronald strongly disapproves. Planche's Ronald undergoes a similar crisis. it seems that Planche"s heroes are less naive than Polidori's. by contrast. or even to imagine the truth of what he has witnessed.

and with a concept of obligation to Ruthven for saving his life in Greece. It is also worth noting that these class distinctions. In the original. aristocratic power. Planche's characters are vulnerable because of the super-rationality associated with their class.* However. 345 such artificial constructions of good and evil. The difference lies in the social forces which construct them. Polidori's Ruthven has no need to hover over Aubrey. but no happy endings. enforcing the oath. are ultimately erased with the restoration of a "good. society's constructions affect Ronald and Margaret just as strongly as they influence Aubrey and his sister. more explicit in the play than they are In Polidori. and their other weaknesses spring from the same socially dominant source. where there are not only no good aristocrats. . does not happen in Polidori's text. as Planche's vampire does with Ronald. then. This is the most obvious change Planch6 and Kodier make to Polidori's tale. for example. and of honour. first to her father. If Ronald were not so concerned with arranging a dynastic marriage." rather than an exploitative. as those found in popular literature. although it seems a theme in other melodramas (Cox 48). the reader is left 'Because of Aubrey's sense of honour. — which parallels Aubrey's sense of honour — the vampire could not victimize him. something which. as well as the unspeakable nature of the vampire's resurrection. then to her prospective husband. Likewise Margaret is too obsessed with womanly duty.

or dlabolus. and. Unknown" (Vampire 41-42). and therefore subverts the social order. the device of having Ruthven merely "vanish[I through the ground" (42) . As Senf writes "it isn't precisely virtue that triumphs. . by Divine agency. in the literal sense of the word. 346 only with the knowledge that "it was too late. and the hierarchy of the self over the other. the humans have managed to resist the vampire. strictly speaking. . The deus. because It Is a fated restoration of the "natural" order of things. the men to protect their women. Lord Ruthven had disappeared. presumably on his way to the "annihilation" the spirits describe earlier (16). is also Interesting. associated with the those benevolent spirits. although it Is neither by human nor. the women to remain chaste. but audiences could leave the theatre confident in the overwhelmingly optimistic message that ordinary people could conquer the . the play relnscrlbes the distinction between good and evil. . The play's conclusion erases human agency and implies that evil will eventually be defeated without any effort from the heroes. and everybody to stay alive. ex machina that Planche employs here. While Polidori's open ending leaves the world in chaos. and Aubrey's sister had glutted the thirst of a VAMPYRE!" (125). The vampire is destroyed. Many critics have called this "melodramatic": in fact it seems quite the opposite. who return briefly here.

containing "those aspects of reality that . after all. rather than the offended person" (23). without any danger of their becoming like that threatening other. blurring the line between good and evil In the process. "God or the Universe or fate punishing the offender. Ruthven"s Gothic excesses triumph over sentimental naivete. have nature and divine order on their side. Thornburg believes that the sentimental. Unlike the conclusions of Carmilla and Dracula. in a shift parallel to that Cox discusses regarding the aesthetic . 347 who. and notes that many texts display elements of both traditions (4). •z-hilc in Polidori's version. in Thornburg's words. Planche presents. described in the anonymous introduction printed with Polidori's tale. or other. the reverse occurs. Planche's ending allows his heroes to maintain their happy domesticity even in disposing of the threat to it. are two sides of one very socially significant myth. similar methods of disposing of the undead. The ending prevents the human protagonists from becoming involved in any kind of violent action. in Planch6*s. in which the heroes actively and brutally destroy the vampires. however justified. which she defines as "reality as the literate middle class of the Age of Reason wished to see it. Instead of the traditional. those same people rejected" (2). This i*r true of The Vampyre in both its narrative and dramatic forms. ." and the Gothic. brutal stake through the heart. however. .

The fight against ambiguity in melodrama is as much a political as an aesthetic issue. in Cox's sense. and the shift In audience demographies "from the upper-middle and upper classes to the lower-middle and lower classes" . on grounds of taste — read morality — and. Contemporary reviews dismissed Polidori's work. given the tendency to see the politically objectionable as aesthetically flawed. more significantly. 348 and moral change in dramatic themes. certain works Intended for mass audiences often act to counter the political anxieties of those in power. because it is the blurring between self and other or real and unreal which makes the fantastic subversive. and Indeed. elite groups such as critics and reviewers are also responsible for the manipulation of mass culture. especially given social anxiety regarding the increasing popularity of the theatre at this time. However. Polidori's original tale is more truly and radically Gothic. This review even enjoys the play's incongruous but highly domestic songs and comic Intervals. "elite culture expresses. while the Theatrical Inquisitor's review of Planche's melodrama praises the play despite its source in "materials Of so paltry a sort as those supplied by the wretched ape of Lord Byron" (138). which reacts to contain that very radicalism. mass culture manipulates" (19). than Planche's adaptation. Kendrlck writes. of style. suggesting that.

1823 to 1826." discusses these popular Frankenstein melodramas. the Critical Review's positive review of his much less successful Alfonso. Certainly many late eighteenth. privileges. 349 c (McFarland 24). including Peake's Presumption. in some ways. oddly. or The Bride of the Isles. Maturin's Bertram. Steven Earl Forry's article. not in the shouts of the vulgar" (355). and Milner's Frankenstein. or The Man and the Monster (1826). these factors may have combined to create the domesticated Gothic Cox addresses and McFarland.Also relevant- are reviews of C-R.and early nineteenth-century reviews equate the "popular" with the revolutionary. which speaks for the elitist conservatism of many critics when it maintains that "true fame consists in the approbation of the discerning few. or at least to Influence. in order to control. in this context. the Monthly Review's indictment of "the want of moral effect in many of our most popular plays" (178) is typical- . melodrama adaptations of which show domesticating changes similar to those in The Vampire. the potentially dangerous consumers of mass culture- Heller makes a similar observation concerning the rise in literacy among women and the working class at the time of writing of Frankenstein (326-28). and. King of Castile (1801). which Cox also analyzes. with which they are contemporary. See especially reviews of Matthew G. or The Fate of Frankenstein (1823). or The Castle of Saint Aldobrand (1816). Lewis's popular success The Castle Spectre (1798). "The Hideous Progenies of Richard Brinsley Peake: Frankenstein on the Sate.