quarta-feira, 6 de novembro de 2013

Dracula: high tech versus darkness

We look at Dracula as an ancient book steeped in old ways, not as cry for modernity. Fascinated by the horror of the vampire and the strugle against darkness, we miss that the true fight is fought with what could be termed Victorian high tech. To our desensitized gaze those technologies may seem archaic but for its contemporaries the book, more than an horror story with deep psychosexual issues, could be read as a tale of technological speculative fiction.

The structure of the novel uses an epistolary mode of storytelling in which fragments of diaries coalesce into a coherent narrative. Mina and Johnathan write them in shorthand, a note-taking and dictating technology, while Dr. Seward recording his thoughts into a machine may be seen as quite the very futuristic prevision in its time.

Technology and modernity emerge in many aspects. Europe is crisscrossed by a network of rail, mail and coach capable of quickly connecting the centers of civilization to the most remote places. That becomes the decisive element in the harrowing final chase across Europe and the final defeat of Dracula.

While Lucy is an aristocratic child, Mina is an independent woman with her own means of sustenance who takes the leading role in the relation with her husband while, like a liberated woman, fences off the vampire's power. Johnathan Harker may be a symbol of the emergence of the middle class, while Dr. Seward introduces to the world the then novel science of psychiatry. Quincey Morris epitomizes new world optimism.

Dracula itself stands for the old, superstitious spirit, whose attempts to modernize itself within the ancient mindset collides with the modern ways. He is fought and defeated by the scientific spirit of Professor Van Helsing, that looks at the power of tradition with an inquisitive mind, and a combination of then new technologies. Essentially, all a symbol of modern times supplanting the olden ways.

Simon Bacon. Exactly the Same but Completely Different: The Evolution of Bram Stoker's Dracula from Page to Screen.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Vampires, Class, Colonialism, Discourse.
Kaitlin Blanchard (2009) Beyond Belief:The Role of Science and Modernity
David Etxeberria (2013). Bram Stoker Dracula: Relationship’s between Modern Science and Superstition
Joe Friedman (2010) Analysis of Technology and Attitudes in Bram Stoker's "Dracula."

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