Bram Stoker’s Dracula
sums up, within the space of a few hundred pages, diffuse fears and tensions
of the society in which it originated. Jonathan Harker, the valiant English
foil to the diabolical Transylvanian Count, describes the events he witnesses
as “nineteenth century up-to-date with a vengeance” (67).
Following this interpretive lead provided by the novel, recent criticism
has fleshed out the historical backdrop for Dracula and shown how the
novel reflects the emergence of consumerist mass culture (Wicke), the
rise of a professional class (Day), and the broad-scale mobilization
of electrically-driven forms of communication (Winthrop-Young). Stoker’s
work remains timely more than one hundred years after its initial publication
because its eponymous antihero draws his substance and strength as a
monster from anxieties and uncertainties that material transformations
in the conditions of everyday life produce. Simply replace colonialism
with globalization, ministries with multinationals, and telegraphy with
the internet: the Count continues to offer an allegory for economic,
bureaucratic, and technological changes in the world.
Dracula renews its modernity by means of artful ambiguity in which the
up-to-date and the out-of-date converge. This essay seeks to demonstrate
how modern writing
practices and recording technologies act as the gateway through which corrosive,
archaic forces erupt into the present and threaten the future in Stoker’s
novel. As Jacques Derrida has stressed, writing operates where a human carrier
for information is absent; it therefore acts not just as the bearer of data but
as the vehicle of uncertainty and indeterminacy as well. New instances of communication
reinforce the timeless connection between the grapheme and disquieting impersonality.
Stenography, telegraphy, the typewriter, and the phonograph, although nineteenth-century
innovations, serve as pathways to atavistic horror by conjuring up the contagious
and unanswerable anonymity that characterizes the undead. Dracula continues to
solicit critical attention (especially by deconstructionist and media studies
scholars) because it delights in scrambling the sexual, legal, and moral codes
by which the socio-cultural order consolidates itself. By throwing established
systems into crisis, vampirism exposes their historical contingency. The outbreak
of the past in the present signifies the continued existence of primitive barbarism
in a seemingly enlightened age. Although the story told in Stoker’s novel
stresses the Eastern foreignness and antiquity of the vampire, the text itself
makes it clear that the monster without a reflection in the mirror in fact represents
a horrific side of Western modernity.
The first section of the essay examines the fissures and cracks in the personal
writing systems of characters in the novel. Most of the major actors in Dracula
keep diaries—a written space in which they define who they are. These books
represent a closed communications network based on memory: thoughts translate
into words and vice versa, and the balance between them forms an anchor for identity.
Dracula relies on a different system of writing, using forged and inauthentic
documents in order to set the stage for his predations. This paperwork has no
connection to a human soul. Because it mediates between the personal and the
impersonal, writing provides the conduit through which vampirism creeps into
the English social body. Once graphic germs of alterity have entered into circulation,
they cause journals kept by Jonathan Harker and Dr. John Seward to stop serving
their intended purpose, and Dracula’s diabolical plans begin to materialize.
A second section examines the fate of Mina Harker, the young woman most directly
involved in the collection, reproduction, and diffusion of documents pertaining
to Dracula and his activities. The very texts that serve to track down the vampire
exercise a contaminating and denaturing influence on her, and she stands to become
like Dracula in kind. Information about vampires displays vampiric properties
because impersonal writing opens the body to infection. Mina loses her footing
in the human world and steps into the vampire’s element when she pursues
her transcription work. Furthermore, the heterogeneous writings that Mina transforms
into standardized text usher in an atmosphere of paranoia in which the other
characters begin to act in as lawless and reckless a fashion as their undead
The essay concludes with an examination of Abraham Van Helsing, the mysterious
foreigner who steps in to oversee Mina’s transcription work. The specialist
in occult matters resembles the Count—his supposed adversary—in a
disconcerting number of ways. In particular, the Dutchman, like the Transylvanian,
uses written communications to control the actions of others. If, in fact, Van
Helsing is another vampire, then Evil celebrates a triumph in Stoker’s
novel. The vampire hunters follow the dictates of Dracula’s double, and
they destroy one monster only to enable another one’s triumph. Dracula
represents the horrifying prospect of England’s citizenry turning into
a host of virtual clones. He threatens to level distinctions between his victims
and to transform them into spectral beings devoid of life and the particularizing
traits of individuality. Yet the vampire need not pursue his victims personally
in order to make his presence and influence felt, for the very tools the vampire
hunters use to combat the monster in fact undermine the identity and order that
they seek to preserve. By the end of Dracula, the vampire hunters have become
interchangeable parts in a machine fueled by impersonal writing, and Van Helsing,
the Count’s spitting image, programs their actions.
Dracula begins with an office-worker’s wanderings. Jonathan Harker,
rejoicing that he is “now a full-blown solicitor,” makes his way
to Transylvania for what will turn out to be a disastrous transaction (45).
There he encounters a way of doing business that jars his bureaucratic English
sensibilities so severely that it almost destroys him. Harker’s enchantment
with the Old World quickly turns into fear of the foreign, and the excitingly
strange and new environment reveals a terrifying potential to disrupt his grip
Guilelessly savoring the local cuisine, Harker makes an entry in his diary: “I
had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper,
which was very good” (31). Eating habits and writing habits overlap for
the Englishman representing his country and its interests abroad. This convergence
reveals the main purpose that keeping a journal serves for Harker. Just as
bland appreciation represents the outer limit of Harker’s gastronomy,
his writing serves no further purpose than to pacify his organism: “I
turn to my diary for repose. The habit of entering accurately must help to
soothe me” (68). Harker’s journal maintains a balance in his mind
in the same way that food satisfies his stomach. The diary performs a quasi-organic
function in organizing its writer’s prosaic sensibilities, and Harker
uses it to calm and equilibrate his system.
Unfortunately, Harker cannot maintain a comfortable balance in his life once
he has set foot into a foreign environment (especially one like Transylvania),
and the journal that he uses as an intellectual and existential pacifier begins
to malfunction. Harker’s “habit of entering accurately” leads
him to record data that he cannot process, and, as a result, his own writing
begins to appear in a disturbing new light. Imprisoned in Castle Dracula, Harker
observes that “this diary seems horribly like the beginning of the ‘Arabian
Nights,’ for everything has to break off at cock-crow—or like the
ghost of Hamlet’s father” (61). The Englishman reaches for literary
analogies in a dim intuition that the same journal that is intended for “repose” in
fact harbors a nightmare. On the one hand, the comparisons that Harker makes
between his life and literature enable him to reflect with some degree of success
on his predicament: he really stands before a supernatural state of affairs.
But on the other hand, the literary references mark the limit of what he can
process and understand. Harker, who employs his diary only in order to nourish
his simple ways—taking its contents as a sign that reality has already
been taken stock of and inventoried—cannot fully discern the ominous
implications of what he himself has written.
Because the mysterious laws governing life (and death) in Transylvania denature
the clerical supports of Harker’s sense of self, his grip on reality
weakens. The widening gap between what his hand has written and what his mind
can process prompts the Englishman to call his sanity into question: “there
is but one thing to hope for: that I may not go mad, if, indeed, I be not mad
already” (67). Dutiful and habitual journal-keeping does not “soothe” Harker,
as he means for it to do: it opens the floodgates of horror. Indeed, Harker
experiences his most troubling vision—a visitation from the Brides of
Dracula—precisely when he passes out “at a little oak table where
in old times possibly some fair lady sat to pen, with much thought and many
blushes, her ill-spelt love-letter” (67). The diary intended to produce
peace and quiet reactivates an archaic inscription of unfulfilled desire: by
writing in his journal, Harker unwittingly sets the stage for incubation.
As he lies there, the Englishman confronts visions that threaten him far more
than anything he has yet encountered:
I was not alone . . . . In the moonlight opposite me were three young women,
ladies by their dress and manner . . . . All three had brilliant white teeth,
that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips. There was
something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time
some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would
kiss me with those red lips. (68-69)
As critics have observed (e.g. Craft; Roth; Stevenson;
Bentley; Griffin), Harker’s terror rests on the forbidden yearning for unmanly passivity—“a
wicked, burning desire” to be penetrated. “Voluptuous lips” that
beckon Harker to join a soft and fluid feminine body reveal “brilliant
white teeth” that will invade his body and undermine its masculine stability. “I
could feel the soft, shivering touch of the lips on the supersensitive skin
of my throat, and the hard dents of two . . . teeth . . . . I closed my eyes
in languorous ecstasy . . .” (70). The “white sharp teeth” that
Harker sees, like the “ill-spelt love-letter” that he imagines,
express the rise of primordial forces that he cannot master—forces that
will sweep him away and destroy him.
The event is so shocking that Harker tries unsuccessfully to dismiss it as
a dream. “I suppose I must have fallen asleep,” he tells himself,
although he promptly confesses that he “cannot in the least believe it
was all sleep” (68). In fact, “it” was his writing. Once
Harker has lifted his pen from the page, the words are no longer exclusively
his own; they mark a divide between the writer and himself, a fissure in his
consciousness. As Harker drifts off into a twilight state, the vampire insinuates
itself into his mind in shifting and polymorphous guise, through the crack
that writing has opened. Why, one wonders, are there suddenly multiple vampires?
Until now, the Count has stood alone. Why are these undead creatures female?
In effect, Dracula’s Brides (two of whom share his features) are extensions
of him, and the impurity of their embrace stems at least in part from its latent
homosexual charge. Harker’s entries in his journal provide a breeding
ground for the undead, a medium in which the vampire can mutate and take on
unprecedented forms of terror.
Dracula, it seems, is neither entirely masculine nor feminine. His genealogy
leads back to a “whirlpool of European races” (59), and he therefore
resists classification in terms of the ethnic categories so important to the
Victorian mind.1 Finally, Dracula embodies class confusion. He joins his guest
for none of his meals and seems never to partake of food or drink; the Count
has no servants and does not engage in the ostentation his English counterparts
would use to signify high birth. Yet his claim to have an ancient and powerful
ancestry is clearly legitimate. The Count has enough money to make multiple
purchases of English real-estate, and there is only Old Money in Transylvania
. . . . Faced with this curious array of facts, Harker can do little more than
try to finish the business he was hired to do and hope that his nerves do not
Though rather obtuse, Harker does have one correct hunch: Dracula “would
have made a wonderful solicitor” (63). The library in Castle Dracula
consists solely of “such books of reference as the London Directory,
the ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ books, Whitaker’s Almanack,
the Army and Navy Lists, and . . . the Law List” (50), and the Count
takes a keen interest in learning about all the practical aspects of business
that Harker can share with him. Dracula’s fascination with the workings
of commerce points toward his intimate connection to the written word. He calls
the volumes comprising his utilitarian library “good friends” (50)
and credits them with teaching him English. “I know your tongue through
books,” he tells Harker (51). The Count soon reveals why he prizes his
library so. The business books and reference works have taught him not only
a foreign language, but also a way to worm his way into “mighty London” in
order to “share its life, . . . its death, and all that makes it what
it is” (51). He has used his book-friends to devise a plan that the guileless
British agent (whom he also calls “my friend” ) now translates
into action. Through Harker, Dracula sets up an array of property deeds and
bank accounts that will allow him to move about on English soil undercover.
These written documents provide the material basis for the spread of vampirism
abroad and, moreover, furnish the key to understanding Dracula’s protean
nature. With Harker’s unwitting assistance, Dracula forges an identity
that, as Gary Day puts it, “is . . . a function of . . . documentation
rather [than] an expression of individual essence” (87). This shadowy,
purely formal identity stands at the center of who and what Dracula is. Even
though Stoker’s novel later reveals that the Count can transform himself
into various animals in order to escape notice, he passes unseen in a more
subtle way by deploying a panoply of surrogate selves on paper.
The vampire lays the groundwork for his exploits by means of writing. To pave
the way for his campaign of terror, Dracula simply posts a letter to “Hawkins
and Harker” (191) and the junior partner of the firm comes running to
him as a convenient snack. What is more, once the latter is in Transylvania,
the Count needs only to do a little more paperwork in order to make his move
to England, where he can harvest the unsuspecting citizenry. Written contact
makes physical contact possible. The scene that concludes Harker’s stay
at Castle Dracula ratifies this fundamental connection between vampirism and
writing. When the Count has received most of what he needs from Harker and
can foresee the Englishman’s imminent obsolescence, he demotes the overproud
pen-pusher, who arrived in Transylvania exultant that he was no longer a mere “solicitor’s
clerk” (45), back to a subordinate position:
Last night the Count asked me in the suavest tones to write three letters,
one saying that my work here was nearly done, and that I should start for home
within a few days, another that I was starting on the next morning from the
time of the letter, and the third that I had left the castle . . . (73)
Reading between the lines, Harker realizes that he has
just written his own death notice: “I know now the span of my life” (73). In a perversion
of his professional identity, he has written a carte blanche for the vampire
who intends to kill him—or worse. Even though Harker manages to escape,
the experience unmans him completely and lands him in a hospital, where he
is too weak even to write to his loved ones.
Back in England, at another medical institution, Harker’s fateful transaction
with Dracula bears poisonous fruit. The novel presents a series of journal
entries by the alienist Dr. John Seward, who keeps a phonographic diary. Although
he is a man of science, Seward does not have a particularly expansive mind. “‘The
unexpected always happens,’” he remarks in a more profound moment, “How
well Disraeli knew life” (143). The doctor’s constitutive dullness
makes him ill-equipped even to guess what the bizarre behavior of a man in
his care might mean (cf. Greenway).
Seward’s patient Renfield has an unconventional diet (insects and arachnids),
and he exhibits an unusual interest in tables and charts. As the doctor notes, “Spiders
are at present his hobby, and [his] notebook is filling up with small figures” (136).
Indeed, Renfield writes even when deprived of pen and paper; Seward observes
him “catching flies and eating them, and . . . keeping note of his capture
by making nail-marks on the edge of the door” (151). Seward labels Renfield
his “[z]oophagous patient” (150). A more apt designation, however,
might be “graphomaniac patient.” The madman’s appetites are
strange and indirectly evoke Dracula’s unusual diet, but the raw data
that he obsessively records points directly toward the Count. Renfield’s
scribbling forms a parallel to the utilitarian library at Castle Dracula in
that it is purely informational and consists strictly of numbers and charts.
Furthermore, it mirrors the letters that Dracula dictates to Harker inasmuch
as it appears to be one thing—merely the idiosyncratic hobby of a lunatic—when
in fact it provides a concrete indication of the Count’s arrival in England
and the beginning of his campaign.
Once again, before the English representative of social order lays eyes on
an actual vampire, he encounters portentous writing that announces his imminent
confrontation with an as-yet faceless evil. Vampiric contagion follows the
pathways of two-faced writing in Dracula. Renfield’s fevered markings
on any available surface (from notebooks to door-posts) directly indicate the
vampire’s influence, yet they are also illegible. The germ of the undead
proves invisible either because it is too obvious or because it is too well
concealed. Seward cannot see the writing on the wall because he has sensibilities
and habits that correspond neatly to Harker’s. His organism and his journal
fit together in the same way that Harker’s digestive tract and writing-hand
form a closed circuit: “Cannot eat, cannot rest, so diary instead” (93).
When not anesthetizing himself outright with “the modern Morpheus—C2HCl3O-H2O!” (136),
Seward even uses his journal as a soporific: “this diary has quieted
me, and I feel I shall get some sleep tonight” (138). Like Harker, he
employs his diary above all as a means to assimilate strange experiences to
the categories of the known. The apparatus gives him the comfort of talking
to himself without going crazy, but at the same time obscures his ability to
discern the signs of spreading danger. The phonograph’s needle on the
recording cylinder forms a trace whose jagged course points toward Renfield’s
scribbling and, by extension, to Dracula. But while this clue lies in plain
view, the doctor instead enchants himself with his own voice and allows the
situation to worsen until it becomes terminal.
Alongside the professional young men who prove so resourceless
when confronted with a vampire or the signs of its activity, the novel presents
who has more insight into the supernatural. Mina Murray, Harker’s fiancée
(and later wife), is more in touch with the way vampirism works because she
collects and processes the strange texts that leave others baffled. However,
she buys her knowledge at a price, for to the extent that she comes into contact
with the graphic traces of the undead, she herself comes to exhibit vampiric
At the beginning of the novel, Mina inhabits a neat and tidy world. An “assistant
schoolmistress” (86), she exercises a traditional, womanly role in Victorian
society. Her epistolary communication with her best friend, Lucy Westenra,
defines her place in the social order. This exchange forms a more or less closed
system, and it therefore reinforces each party’s femininity: the young
women discuss marriage plans, clothing, social visits, etc., in their correspondence.
Moreover, Mina dutifully keeps a diary in which she cultivates a modest private
sphere and anchors her identity—“a sort of journal . . . I can
write in whenever I feel inclined”; this journal, she tells Lucy, is “not
intended” for others (86). Mina’s every thought concerns how she
can “be useful to Jonathan” (86)—a perfect wife to the man
she will marry.
At the same time, however, the young woman pursues activities that predispose
her to deviate from her place in the house and schoolroom:
I have been practicing shorthand very assiduously . . . . [A]nd if I can stenograph
well enough I can . . . write it out . . . on the typewriter, at which also
I am practising very hard. [. . .] I shall try to do what I see lady journalists
do: interviewing and writing descriptions and trying to remember conversations.
I am told that, with a little patience, one can remember all that goes on or
that one hears said during a day. (86)
Mina means only to assist Harker, but her stenography and
typewriting make her resemble the “New Woman” which she emphatically states she
is not (123). In effect, to the extent that she devotes herself to clerical
work, Mina invades Harker’s space, even if she does not mean to do so.2
Her studies in business-writing form the opposite pendant to her modest letters
to Lucy and personal journal-keeping.
Mina’s side interests go hand in hand with a hunger for information in
all its forms. As a result of an “unnatural” level of nosiness
not restricted to the womanly sphere of gossip and intrigue, she peeks into
Harker’s “foreign journal” (216) without permission. Although
what Mina finds initially shocks her to the point of agraphia (her diary entry
reads: “I hadn’t the heart to write last night; that horrible record
of Jonathan’s upset me so” ), her habit of imitating the “lady
journalists” provides her with the means to recover rapidly. She resolves
to “get [her] typewriter this very hour and begin transcribing” the
fantastic contents of the journal (216). Indeed, after she has typed out the
Transylvanian diary, Mina begins to collect and transcribe scattered documents
in order to substantiate what her husband has written. The young woman includes
her own journal, newspaper articles, letters, and other characters’ diaries,
omitting no scrap of text, however small. In effect, Mina has caught the bug
that makes Renfield obsessively write down a never-ending stream of data. This
bug opens a connection to Dracula.
Through her secretarial work, Mina shows herself to be perfectly capable of
performing a “masculine” role, yet this deviance from a woman’s
place has a dark side. In a half-waking state, Mina senses Dracula’s
movements and activities psychically. Mina’s status as a medium, like
all aspects of her character once she has caught the vampire-virus, is ambiguous
and threatening. Van Helsing, the Dutch polymath who steps in to advise the
English on the undead, voices the danger posed by Mina’s second sight: “If
it be that she can, by our hypnotic trance, tell what the Count see and hear,
is it not more true that he who have hypnotize her first . . . should, if he
will, compel her mind to disclose to him that which she know?” (363).
Behind the exterior of a “sweet-faced, dainty-looking girl” (257)
lurks the menace that Mina will somehow prove to be an instrument of destruction
in the hands of Dracula.
According to the plot of Stoker’s novel, Mina receives a visit from Dracula
in which he sucks her blood and infuses her with the demon seed directly (322ff.).
However, “the Vampire’s baptism of blood” (362) is not the
main reason why Mina takes on undead traits and, in exchange, develops powers
of clairvoyance. Jennifer Wicke argues that the young woman’s telepathic
abilities represent a transfigured version of the telegraph that characters
employ in Stoker’s novel (475). The intuition goes in the right direction,
but the telegraph provides the wrong point of reference for Mina’s powers
as a medium, since it is merely one of the many new information technologies
in Dracula, and one that Mina herself uses only once (217). Instead, Mina’s
clairvoyance and partial metamorphosis stem from her move into the Count’s
sphere of influence when she begins transcribing. Parallel to the text that
passes through her hands, animal magnetism courses through her body and soul;
supernatural connections double material ones. Even the somewhat obtuse Harker
realizes as much when he witnesses his wife speaking in a mesmerized state: “I
have heard her use the same tone when reading her shorthand notes” (353).
The sum total of vampiric data in which Mina immerses herself opens her to
the Count’s advances. Because the master-text that Mina creates through
her typewriting charts Dracula’s movements and activities, it allows
the vampire hunters to anticipate where the Count will strike next. However,
since it permits them to know the future, it also radiates a strange, mantic
aura. This uncanny property seemingly “rubs off” on Mina, the person
in closest contact with it, and prepares her for Dracula’s embraces long
before the vampire seeks out her body for physical contact.
Although Mina avoids full-blown transformation into a vampire, her situation
comes to resemble that of her less fortunate friend. Lucy’s letters to
Mina reveal why she is Dracula’s first victim on English soil and the
first full-blooded vampire outside of Transylvania. “Do you ever try
to read your own face in the glass? I do,” Miss Westenra writes (88).
Lucy is definitely the more self-indulgent of the two women, and her narcissism
manifests itself as wanton writing. Separated from Mina, Lucy tells her friend
in a letter: “I wish I were with you, dear, sitting by the fire undressing,
as we used to sit . . .” (88). This desire seems natural enough, given
that, as Mina says, Lucy and she are “like sisters” (268), but
it also contains sinister undertones insofar as it hints at Lucy’s inability
to tolerate the distance necessary to maintain a well-defined sense of self.
Lucy loves to lose herself in others. At the beginning of Dracula, all the
single men are courting her, and she would just as soon not commit to any one
of them. She has promised herself to Arthur Holmwood, yet she writes to her
friend: “Why can’t they let a girl marry three men, or as many
as want her, and save all this trouble?” (91). Even when Lucy focuses
her sexual energy on her fiancé, she cannot restrain her effusions: “[O]h,
Mina, I love him; I love him; I love him! [. . .] I do not know how I am writing
this even to you. I am afraid to stop . . . and I don’t want to stop” (88).
Through lustful thoughts reinforced by reckless writing, Lucy steps into the
same realm of dangerous fantasy where Harker encountered the Brides of Dracula.
Her graphorrhea opens the way for the Count’s advances.
Before attacking directly, the Count takes advantage of the weak spots already
present in his victims’ lives. As a result, vampirism effectively spreads
from the inside out, manifesting itself in states of nervous agitation and
excitability before blossoming into physical change. Dracula himself need not
be present in actuality in order to be present in effect. It is enough that
the regular circuits of communication between members of society be even slightly
destabilized for the vampire to exercise his influence. This occult aspect
of the undead spreads through writing because the medium seems deceptively
neutral when in fact it is not. Compulsive writing provides the purest symptom
of infection. Dracula turns Harker into his graphic pathic. Renfield maniacally
records masses of figures on every available surface of the asylum. Finally,
the men’s graphomania parallels Lucy’s promiscuous letters and
Mina’s obsessive transcription work. No mirror throws back the image
of the vampire, but writing reveals the monster’s presence in refracted
The Count does not cast such a long shadow over England entirely on his own.
The vampire hunters’ own tools contribute to the way that Dracula comes
to represent an ever-larger threat as the novel progresses. Through Mina’s
composition of an ostensibly anti-vampiric master document, reports from anonymous
sources take a place alongside the characters’ most intimate writings,
now transformed into standardized, typed text. The anonymous world of mass
print invades characters’ lives, and reports that formerly would have
seemed utterly localized and trivial portend the spread of the undead and plant
the seeds of growing alienation. Information about vampires in mass-mediated
form displays the same properties that personal writing does, with the key
difference that it implies even greater terrors. Private writing gradually
loses its subjective coloration as Mina transforms it into typewriting, and
gray and impersonal newsprint becomes infused with potentially limitless personal
significance for characters, who find that the terrors in their private diaries
resonate with the unsettling implications contained in stories in public journals.
For example, the alarm bells go off when an article from the Westminster Gazette
reports that “[d]uring the past two or three days several cases have
occurred of young children straying from home or neglecting to return from
their playing on the Heath . . . . [T]he consensus of their excuses is that
they had been with a ‘bloofer lady’” (214). Translated into
grown-up, “bloofer” means “beautiful,” and the lady
in question for those in the know is none other than the late Lucy Westenra.
The appearance of vampires in print entails a paranoid mindset among characters:
a sign of undead activity can lurk anywhere in the countless publications of
the Empire, just as any shadow on English soil can conceal a life-stealing
corpse. As a result, the vampire looms larger and larger with each passing
day. In the arena of the mass media, all the signs can point to Dracula even
when another undead does his dirty work for him. The popular press multiplies
the vampire’s doubling in deeds and contracts ad infinitum.
Under the spell of the mass media, what is private becomes public, and what
is public becomes private. The fact that the slightest piece of information
can assume, from one moment to the next, importance of the first order reconfigures
the normal avenues of communication between members of different segments of
society and, as a result, prompts the vampire hunters to act in uncharacteristic
ways. Like the flurry of documents changing hands wildly, the vampire hunters
begin to jump from one place to another, and from one social milieu to another.
The slightest quirk in writing points to the vampire’s anarchic mastery
of the situation. For example, when Harker approaches a “decent, intelligent
fellow, distinctly a good, reliable . . . workman,” the information the
proletarian provides sends the clerk off on a wild goose chase (300). Meaning
to signify “deputy” by the glyph “depite” in a note “written
with a carpenter’s pencil in a sprawling hand,” the well-intentioned
workman unwittingly aggravates the growing chaos (302). The note exhibits vampiric
properties inasmuch as its phonetic spelling dictates a course of action to
Harker that sends him down the wrong track.
The vampire hunters’ actions mirror Dracula’s lawless hunts for
blood throughout the big city. As a result, the traditional constraints of
propriety, seemliness, and ethics have no hold on them as they attempt to pinpoint
Dracula. They run around tomb-raiding, crumble the Host in order to “sterilize” the
earth that the Count sleeps in (338), and engage in housebreaking. This behavior
not only mirrors Dracula’s actions; it also occurs by exactly the same
means. To take a particularly striking example, Arthur Holmwood makes a killing
off of Lucy’s death and inherits a title in her extinguished family line;
he then uses this title to violate the law. Now “Lord Godalming” (204),
Holmwood proposes that the vampire hunters simply break into Dracula’s
property in broad daylight: “My title will make it all right with the
locksmith, and with any policeman that may come along” (339). Presumably,
Holmwood is not carrying certification of his new status around in his pocket,
but the title that he has obtained under rather questionable circumstances
and which he intends to use to circumvent the rules that govern the rest of
society points towards the Count. As the menace of England teeming with a “new
order of beings” (343) looms on the horizon, the exchange of writing
and documents produces a situation that anticipates the nightmare’s materialization
The very text that enables the fight against Dracula “vampirizes” the
vampire hunters by underwriting lawless actions and pushing Mina, the person
in closest contact with it, in the direction of becoming an undead herself.
Only Abraham Van Helsing shows no sign of suffering a pernicious influence.
This is the case because he is a double of Dracula and effectively a vampire
himself. He stands apart from the rest of his cohorts, calls the shots from
behind the scenes, manipulates others like puppets on a string, and makes them
carry out his will.
Van Helsing is “one of the most advanced scientists of his day” (147). “[A]
philosopher and a metaphysician,” he also “knows as much about
obscure diseases as any one in the world” (147). Indeed, he has so many
degrees and areas of expertise that even his former pupil cannot keep track.
When Seward fears that Van Helsing, because he comes from abroad, “might
not be quite aware of English legal requirements,” the Dutchman reminds
him of the reach of his expertise: “You forget that I am a lawyer as
well as a doctor” (200). Uncannily, Dracula can boast of comparable accomplishments.
In his non-English English, Van Helsing reveals the Count’s intellectual
[Dracula] was in life a most wonderful man. Soldier, statesman,
latter was the highest development of the science-knowledge of his time. He
had a mighty brain, a learning beyond compare . . . . [T]here was no branch
of knowledge of his time that he did not essay. (342-343)
Both Dracula and Van Helsing are foreigners on English
soil, old men, mesmerists in touch with the supernatural world, and “mighty brains with learning
beyond compare.” These similarities between the two antagonists correspond
to an even deeper connection that is not readily apparent, but for this same
reason even more profound. Dracula does not show its eponymous villain in action
nearly as much as one might expect. The Count is a shape-shifting creature
who materializes only when closing in for the kill; his potential for destruction
is based on his ability to conceal his whereabouts and activities until it
is time to strike. As we have seen, the concealing powers of ghostwritten,
pseudonymous, or anonymous writing enable Dracula’s protean nature and
shadowy moves. On this point, too, Van Helsing resembles the Count. He has
a surfeit of titles: “M.D., D.PH., D.LIT. ETC., ETC.” (148), and
the fact that he comes from abroad puts it entirely outside the realm of possibility
for anyone to check up on his references. Van Helsing can say, do, and command
what he wants, and the panoply of degrees lends his wishes and whims logical
substance and force in the eyes of the English.
Van Helsing does not step onto the stage of the novel in person; instead, he
makes his first appearance in Dracula through a cryptic missive:
My good Friend,—
When I have received your letter I am already coming to you. By good fortune
I can leave just at once, without wrong to any of those who have trusted
me . . . . Tell your friend that when that time you suck from my wound so
swiftly the poison from that knife that our other friend, too nervous, let
slip, you did more for him when he wants my aids and you call for them than
all his great fortune could do. But it is pleasure added to do for him, your
friend; it is to you that I come . . . . Till then goodbye, my friend John.
VAN HELSING (148)
This letter opens a series of questions that will remain
unanswered, but which conjure up the (unreproduced) correspondence that Dracula
used to initiate
contact with the English. What “wrong” could Van Helsing, simply
by leaving when he does, inflict upon “those who have trusted” him?
What undisclosed power does he wield? Like Dracula (who calls Harker his “friend” back
in Transylvania), Van Helsing seems unduly concerned with underlining the amicable
relations between himself and others (especially “friend John”);
such emphasis casts a doubt on whether they really should get along or not.
Finally, even if Van Helsing writes English so poorly that the precise details
are hopelessly obscure, his intimate relationship to Seward goes back to a
mysterious incident that looks like a quasi-vampiric encounter (“that
time you suck from my wound . . .”). Indeed, the younger man refers to
the foreigner as his “master” (154)—precisely the term that
Renfield employs when speaking of the Count (193).
Like Dracula, Van Helsing avoids leaving traces of his activities behind. Even
though the Dutch doctor hardly leaves the scene after his introduction one-third
of the way through the book, he shares the Count’s ghostly aspect. Van
Helsing makes epistolary contact under the sign of bloodsucking, but then for
the most part holds off from taking up a pen; in the rest of the novel, his
discourse is for the most part reported in other characters’ writings.
Significantly, however, his graphic abstention goes along with an increase
of influence. The Dutchman’s sway over others only gets larger as the
amount of written signs he leaves diminishes. The exceptions to this rule confirm
the Dutchman’s spectral qualities, most strikingly when Van Helsing parasitically
claims Seward’s phonographic journal for himself. Speaking into the electric
diary, Dracula’s supposed adversary barks a directive with vampiric echoes: “This
to Jonathan Harker” (355). Because Van Helsing does not communicate his
wishes to Harker in person, but instead has a machine (and someone else’s,
at that) do the talking for him, because his English is full of barbarisms,
and, finally, because his words are a command, the Dutch vampire hunter’s
speech evokes the Transylvanian Count’s dictation to the unlucky clerk
earlier in the novel.
The English characters do occasionally remark something disturbing about their
foreign companion. However, because the threat posed by Dracula and the tide
of disorienting, undead data have unsettled all the habits and conventions
that previously provided them with a clear sense of right and wrong, they can
at most express discomfort and unease when Van Helsing seems to go too far. “Professor,
are you in earnest; or is it some monstrous joke?” Holmwood asks Van
Helsing at one point (243). Even though the doctor protests, “I never
jest! There is grim purpose in all I do” (166), his ascendancy in the
latter half of the novel makes much of what happens appear in a queer light
and even seem like a sick joke.
In particular, Van Helsing’s sayings and doings with regard to the dead
Lucy are appalling, if also, to the detached reader, darkly funny. At her burial,
the Dutch doctor erupts into “a regular fit of hysterics” (211)—behavior
so out of line with propriety and decorum that it looks like a case of demonic
possession. “He laughed till he cried . . . and then he cried till he
laughed again; and laughed and cried together, just as a woman does” (211).
When a shocked Seward demands an explanation, Van Helsing responds:
[I]t was the grim irony of it all—this so lovely lady garlanded with
flowers, that looked so fair as life, till one by one we wondered if she were
truly dead . . . ; and that sacred bell going “Toll! Toll! Toll!” so
sad and slow; and those holy men, with the white garments of the angel pretending
to read books, and yet all the time their eyes never on the page . . . (212-213)
While the clergy pretend to read the holy text, Van Helsing
reads their actions. He bursts into laughter because he notices that the
clerics are busy looking
at the sexy corpse instead of focusing on the burial ritual. In addition, Van
Helsing knows that “this so lovely lady . . . [looks] so fair as life” because
the vampire’s embrace has lent her a form of perverted immortality. Lucy,
who appears to be a “sweet maid” (213) going to eternal rest will
in fact return from the grave in order to seek thrills as an undead. As the
doctor observes, she is already a “polyandrist” (213) because of
the blood transfusions that he ordered during her period of weakness and decline
In describing the scene, Van Helsing makes an interlinguistic pun. The sounds
made by the bells of God’s church (“Toll! Toll! Toll!”),
translated into German, mean “Mad! Mad! Mad!” The doctor mocks
the clerics’ imposture, the falsehood of appearances, and his companions’ willingness
to go along with his schemes. As the novel progresses, Van Helsing time after
time puts the credulity of the English to the test, and he always has his way.
The most striking instance again involves Lucy and comes when she must be laid
to rest once more. The vampire hunters break into the undead girl’s tomb
to make sure that her rest will indeed be eternal. Acting according to Van
Arthur [Holmwood] took the stake and the hammer . . . . [He] placed the point
over the heart . . . . Then he struck with all his might.
The Thing in the coffin writhed; and a hideous, blood-curdling screech came
from the opened red lips. The body shook and quivered and twisted in wild contortions;
the sharp white teeth champed together till the lips were cut, and the mouth
was smeared with blood. But Arthur never faltered. He looked like the figure
of Thor as his untrembling arm rose and fell, driving deeper and deeper the
mercy-bearing stake . . . (254)
“The grim irony of it all” practically leaps off the page. Holmwood,
who meant to marry Lucy, kills her. Instead of experiencing sexual union with
his bride, he pounds away on her supine body, “driving deeper and deeper” a
stake that will seal their separation forever. Lucy’s movements in this
moment of intimacy evoke the throes of sexual passion, yet she is clearly having
no fun. Her bloody lips and wildly contorted body under Holmwood’s vigorous
thrusts form a terrible parody of a wedding night. Van Helsing cements the
irony by reading a missal on the occasion of these belated nuptials to ensure
that Holmwood “strike in God’s name” in order to consecrate
the unseemly and disgusting scene (254).
Although the English in Dracula initially try to keep their sense of the world
balanced with their private journals, writing ultimately serves to eliminate
selfhood as Van Helsing steps in to take control of the crisis situation that
the Count has ushered in and uncanny, impersonal forms of writing have exacerbated.
Mina devotes herself so thoroughly to collecting and transcribing data that
she almost becomes a vampire. Harker, with a clumsy but complete attention
to detail, follows every written lead like a robot. Holmwood employs the title
that he has inherited in order to sidestep the law and, in the process, acts
more like a common criminal than the Lord that he now is in name.
As the story progresses, Dracula presents more and more scenes in the lunatic
asylum, which even becomes the vampire hunters’ base of operations. Generalized
vampirism also affects the doctor-patient relationship between Seward and Renfield,
and Van Helsing’s pupil seems almost eager to see the man in his care
continue to suffer. Where one might expect at least a small measure of recognition
and appreciation for the one individual who has known all along what is really
happening in England, we instead witness a coldly mercenary attitude that evokes
the Count’s calculated cruelty. The practice that constitutes Seward’s
identity as a physician is denatured as he, in the ghoulish company of the
other characters and under the influence of undead writing, exploits another’s
misfortune in order to get the information that he desires.
Not long after gruesomely dispatching Lucy—an event in which the vampire
hunters spectacularly demonstrate their willingness to perform actions they
would never have dreamed of previously—the cohorts return to the asylum
to catch their breath. Seward finds Renfield “in a state of considerable
excitement, but far more rational in his speech and manner” than ever
before (282). Speaking to the doctor “as . . . an equal” (285),
the patient describes the details of his case with all the subtlety of a man
of law. Unlike Renfield’s earlier discourses, his speech now makes no
reference to mysterious visitations from a supernatural being. Rather, it is
couched in the jurisprudential and medical terminology familiar to polite society. “I
am as sane as at least the majority of men who are in full possession of their
liberties,” the patient concludes (283). In comparison to the way that
Harker, Holmwood, et al. have been acting, he certainly has a point.
When the growing threat posed by vampirism has definitively stood the normal
order of things—and discourse—on its head, Seward takes a renewed
interest in Renfield. For the first time, the doctor engages his patient in
conversation. In retrospect, Seward can see that Renfield was the first person
in England to perceive the coming tide of horror and to attempt to notify others.
Yet, as Geoffrey Winthrop-Young notes, “vampire hunters need information
as much as Dracula needs blood” (112). By this point in the novel, Seward’s
new calling as a Ghostbuster has usurped his professional identity as a man
of science, and anti-vampiric paperwork has buried the Hippocratic Oath. His
interest in Renfield concerns a pathological specimen, not a human being.
The patient wants his doctor to release him from the asylum. Seward feels constrained
to restore full civil liberty to Renfield and thereby sacrifice an invaluable
source of data. However, Mina has been recording the madman’s speech
all along, and her transcript offers Seward a way to keep Renfield in his custody.
The same words mean one thing when they are spoken, and another when typed.
The doctor “smile[s]” as he “[lays his] hand on the type-written
matter” (294): Mina’s transcript gives him a new perspective on
his patient’s case. Turning away from Renfield himself, Seward consults
Several points seem to make what the American interviewer
calls “a story” .
. . . Here they are:
Will not mention “drinking.”
Fears the thought of being burdened with the “soul” of anything.
Has no dread of wanting “life” in the future.
Despises the meaner forms of life altogether, though he dreads being haunted
by their souls. (311-312)
The text makes incongruities in the patient’s speech, which the doctor
overlooked when giving him his undivided attention, leap to the fore. Through
the lens of the typewritten transcript, Seward automatically sees Renfield’s
discourse in a new light. Abstracted from its original, embodied performance
and placed on the page, Renfield’s eloquent oratory becomes clinical
evidence devoid of pathos and power. The facts on the page point one way: “The
Count has been to him [Renfield], and there is some new scheme of terror afoot!” (312).
The doctor can finally decode his patient’s “delusions.” Seward’s
ruminations in his own journal led him nowhere, but the typewritten text Mina
has prepared brings the situation into sharp focus. Needless to say, the new
clarity of things has a human price, which Renfield pays. The transcript serves
as a surrogate body that substitutes for the patient’s suffering, human
form. The textual corpus is legible in a way that a living man is not; it is
therefore of greater utility to Seward and his cohorts. For this reason, Renfield
himself becomes utterly disposable in the eyes of the vampire hunters—merely “a
sort of index to the coming and going of the Count” (264). Before long,
he meets with “some accident” that is suspiciously opportune for
the doctor and his associates (314). Seward and Van Helsing keep him from giving
up the ghost only long enough to extract from him the information they want.
They can be perversely content with an innocent man’s demise, since,
in passing the frontier between life and death, Renfield gives them the facts
they need. Dr. Seward—especially in the presence of his “master”—is
as cold-blooded as Dracula.
The Vampire’s Triumph
On the surface, the battle between Dracula and the vampire
hunters seems to present the victory of Good over Evil. On a deeper level,
however, the moral
and metaphysical trappings of Stoker’s novel are irrelevant. As Friedrich
Kittler observes, the side with the fastest data-relay system wins. An impersonal,
instrumental intelligence reestablishes Order under Heaven. This power does
not belong to a benevolent and omniscient “Recording Angel” floating
above, as the none-too-bright Harker assumes (367). Instead, it belongs to
an old man down on earth who commands the pious fingers of a young lady and
the vigorous limbs of dutiful and compliant young men.
The rustic vampire trying to make it big in London shows himself to be hopelessly
out of touch with life in the metropolis and the pace of modernity. He uses
the ridiculously parvenu-sounding name “Count de Ville” as an alias
(312) and walks the streets wearing a straw hat—an accessory which, in
the words of his nemesis, Van Helsing, “suit not him or the time” (357).
More importantly, Dracula employs superannuated communications technology.
Winthrop-Young observes that Dracula’s foray into the foreign meat-market “resembles
that of an early modern merchant directly involved in all purchasing ventures” (116).
The Count “does not advance beyond hand-written letters” and personal
interaction when he goes about his infernal business (115). These old-fashioned
methods bring him a certain measure of success. He lures Harker to Transylvania
and then uses the clerk’s contacts to set up a series of documentary
covers for himself. Dracula reproduces numerous missives from Mina to Lucy
with the ominous note, “Unopened by her,” thereby indicating that
the vampire has already taken possession of Miss Westenra. Throughout the novel,
the Count also controls the mail.3 But although Dracula wins a few initial
skirmishes, he simply does not operate quickly enough in the epoch of typewriters
and telegrams, nor can his “snail mail” compete with the data-processing
network which Mina administrates and Van Helsing oversees. Dracula is stuck
in the past, or, as Van Helsing contemptuously puts it, “[i]n some faculties
of the mind he . . . is . . . only a child” (343).
In contrast, the vampire hunters employ ultra-modern and fast technologies.
And because they operate with reproduced documents, not originals, Dracula
does not stand a chance. Mina types out all the data she can gather into easily
legible, standardized print and uses “manifold”—in other
words, carbon paper (262). When Dracula attempts to foil his enemies by breaking
into their base of operations and making “rare hay” (325) of Mina’s
master-text, the vampire hunters emerge unscathed because they can still avail
themselves of another copy they keep in a safe. Finally, Mina’s transcript
changes hands freely, and the information about vampiric activities that it
contains is therefore the equal possession of all.
But the writing that serves to trap the vampire itself displays vampiric properties.
The characters’ own graphic activity betrays them by exposing them to
things they are ill-equipped to handle. The opening sequence of Dracula shows
how Harker’s clerical habits nearly bring about his destruction. Even
though he survives, he will never be the same. By the middle of the novel,
all the other characters have also undergone a transformation.4 The germ of
undead alterity corrupting English identity and the social order that underpins
it starts with a lying letter postmarked in Transylvania. It quickly transforms
itself into a veritable plague of denaturing data flowing freely and wantonly
among characters in England. The figures who preside over this preternatural
writing—Mina, the quasi-vampire, and the mysterious Van Helsing, the
Count’s double—highlight how messed-up things have become.
Diaries initially form the material support for individual identity and, by
extension, for the social mosaic by reinforcing their users’ inherited
notions of selfhood and place in the world. However, as the threat of vampirism
grows and forces characters to share their personal writings with others, these
documents begin to produce effects opposite to the ones for which they are
intended. Previously private and closed books turn into impersonal, open text,
and their writers’ identities start to unravel. Not all characters show
the signs of turning into a vampire outright, but they uniformly act in ways
disallowed by convention and tradition as they try to fight the foreign invader.
Even when the “good guys” are not breaking the law, their actions
appear starkly unnatural (e.g., watching a nutty old man put a girl into a
trance in order to hear her talk about another crazy foreigner buying up English
real estate by day and sucking young women’s blood by night). The vampire
hunters can only reconstitute themselves by becoming largely interchangeable
cogs in a machine that Van Helsing runs. In doing so, they give up the last
traces of their individuality.
One character we have passed over until now provides the exception that proves
the rule. The vampire hunters include, besides Van Helsing, a second foreign
body. Introduced as one of Lucy’s suitors early on, the American Quincey
Morris, like the best of his countrymen, is a free-spirit and very much his
own person. When it becomes clear that he will not have Lucy’s hand,
he is also a gracious loser. The English characters praise him as a remarkably “nice
fellow” (90), and they find his American idiom and the colorful tales
he tells charming. Yet what brings Morris to England? No one in Dracula asks
this question, but perhaps they should . . . .
From a Marxian perspective, Franco Moretti argues that Morris is a vampire.
Like Dracula, he is a foreigner who represents an economic system inimical
to the English social order and his hosts’ traditional way of life. Breakneck
American capitalism and atavistic Transylvanian feudalism pose equal threats
to the stability and well-being of Great Britain. As Moretti observes, the
word “vampire” appears in Dracula for the first time when Morris
tells his companions about an adventure in South America: “[o]ne of those
big bats that they call vampires” drained his horse of its blood in the
Pampas (188). Furthermore, Morris acts in a suspicious manner at key moments
in the vampire hunt. During a session to plan a course of action against the
Count, he takes leave of the others in order to shoot at a big bat hanging
outside the window and spying on the proceedings. The American misses, Moretti
suggests, because he does not intend to kill Dracula at all; instead, he merely
wants to provide a smoke-screen for himself. And when the vampire hunters find
Dracula physically assaulting Mina, Morris inexplicably runs off and hides “in
the shadow of a great yew tree” (323) before returning to tell the others
that the Count has escaped. Like a true vampire, the American is fundamentally
duplicitous. “So long as things go well for Dracula, Morris acts like
an accomplice. As soon as there is a reversal of fortunes, he turns into his
staunchest enemy” (Moretti 95). Morris eagerly participates in the hunt
for the Count on his native soil, in Transylvania—that is, once the English
have gained the upper hand and are on the verge of destroying their adversary.
For no apparent reason, the American suffers a mortal blow at the hands of
the Count’s Gypsy allies just as the vampire hunters catch up with their
prey. It is only logical, Moretti argues, that Morris die when Dracula does.
The American’s sudden and apparently unmotivated death at the last minute “fits
perfectly into [the] sociological design” of Stoker’s novel (95),
which presents the exorcism of forces that are pernicious and destabilizing
to the English social body.
However, the final document included in Dracula suggests that a complete purification
does not occur. A note from Jonathan Harker’s hand concludes the novel:
Seven years ago we all went through the flames; and the
happiness of some of us is, we think, well worth the pain endured. It is
an added joy to Mina
and me that our boy’s birthday is the same day as that on which Quincey
Morris died. His mother holds, I know, the secret belief that some of our brave
friend’s spirit has passed into him . . . . [W]e call him Quincey. (419)
On the one hand, the way that things have worked out seems
to fall in line with the triumph of life. Seven years after the terror, Dracula
has not returned,
and the Harkers have added a young member to their family. Their son represents
the renewal of full-blooded English stock in years to come. But on the other
hand, the new generation also provides a bridge to the troubling past. The
young Harker’s birth coincides not only with Morris’s death, but
also with Dracula’s. As we have seen throughout this essay, vampires
disappear only to reappear later in another form. In the cyclical time of the
calendar, the child’s entry into the world overlaps with the vampire’s
vanishing from it. This convergence points toward the possibility that the
monster has wormed its way into another body and lies dormant, waiting to strike
when least expected. In addition, we have seen in some detail how the undead
work under textual and onomastic cover. The child’s name is ominous.
If in fact “some . . . spirit has passed into” the young Harker,
then a horror lies in store. Mina, of all people, should know what it means
for a “spirit” to pass from one being to another.
In this light, we can understand why Dracula does not put up much of a fight
when his pursuers finally catch up with him, and why, “in [the] moment
of final dissolution, . . . a look of peace” appears in his face (418).
The vampire goes to rest secure that he will soon be reborn in a new, and better,
disguise. His many reincarnations since the publication of the novel prove
his confidence justified. Stoker’s work has gone through too many reeditions
and adaptations to count. Dracula has appeared in print, on stage, on the radio,
on film, and in televised programming. Diffused in the media, the vampire lurks
in every home, where each new generation receives him through the bloodstream
of mass culture like mother’s milk.
1 Stephen D. Arata argues that Stoker’s novel presents a nightmare
vision of the races subject to English rule turning the tables on their oppressors.
In this context, Dracula appears as a miscegenated Leviathan with European,
African, Asian, and American blood. See also Alexandra Warwick’s “Vampires
and the Empire: Fears and Fictions of the 1890s.”
2 Indeed, according to the fiction of Dracula, Mina is the work’s author.
For insightful discussions of the relationship between gender trouble and narrative
control, see Alison Case’s “Tasting the Original Apple: Gender
and the Struggle for Narrative Authority in Dracula” and Marjorie Howes’s “The
Mediation of the Feminine: Bisexuality, Homoerotic Desire, and Self-Expression
in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”
3 The evidence abounds; e.g., Harker’s statement upon finding Dracula’s
correspondence: “It gave me almost a turn to see again one of the letters
which I had seen on the Count’s table before I knew of his diabolical
plans. Everything had been carefully thought out, and done systematically and
with precision” (265).
4 Harker’s accelerated aging is exemplary of his growing likeness in
kind to the “pale people” (320): “Harker was still and quiet;
but over his face . . . came a grey look which deepened and deepened in the
morning light, till . . . the flesh stood darkly out against the whitening
hair” (328); cf. also Seward’s remark about Holmwood: “Poor
fellow! He looked desperately sad and broken. Even his stalwart manhood seemed
to have shrunk . . .” (205).
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