Fear Dracula and Darwin
Agenda • The Omnipresence of Dracula • Fear and phobia • Fear in / and Dracula (Aristotle, Freud, Marx) • Literary Darwinism
Dracula is Everywhere! • Fiction • Cartoons • Film • The Internet • Video and computer games
Fear and phobia • “The emotion of pain or uneasiness caused by the sense of impending danger, or by the prospect of some possible evil.” (OED) • ”A fear, horror, strong dislike, or aversion; esp. an extreme or irrational fear or dread aroused by a particular object or circumstance.” (OED)
Fear in / and Dracula What produces fear in Dracula? What kind of fear is produced by Dracula? • Tragic: Pity and terror (Aristotle). • Gothic: The Uncanny (Freud). • The fear of liberal humanism: Capital (Marx) • Evolutionary: natural and sexual selection (Darwin)
The fear of tragedy: Pity and terror. • Tragic hero; tragic flaw. • Hamlet: hesitation • Macbeth: ambition
Gothic fear:The Uncanny • Das Unheimliche • Heimlich: a) homely, known; b) secret, hidden. • Unheimlich: unhomely, yet strangely familiar • Dracula = the uncanny: he (unconsciously) reminds us of our own Id. • The hunt for Dracula = (unconsciously) reminds us of our own Id, our repressed oedipal desires.
The fear of liberal humanism: Capital • Liberal humanism: freedom, liberty, and equality • Money must have a moral end: amelioration, improving, making better, the human condition. • Monopolistic capitalism • The accumulation of capital is an end in itself • Dracula as an image of capitalism
Evolutionary fear: Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1858) • Natural selection, or how to survive: • The bodies and minds of organisms are the result of evolved adaptations designed to help the organism survive in a particular environment • Organs, skin, bones • The senses • The emotions: fear
Evolutionary fear: Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871) • Sexual selection, or how to secure a mate: • Organisms (male / female) can evolve traits designed to secure a mate (female / male) through attraction or competition • The peacock’s tail • Antlers • Beauty • Courtship (dating) rituals and conventions
A receipt for courtship (1805) • Two or three dears, and two or three sweets; • Two or three balls, and two or three treats; • Two or three serenades, given as a lure; • Two or three oaths how much they endure; • Two or three messages sent in a day; • Two or three times led out from the play; • Two or three soft speeches made by the way; • Two or three tickets for two or three times; • Two or three love letters writ all in rhymes; • Two or three months keeping strict to these rules, • Can never fail making a couple of fools.
Literary Darwinism • “One thing literature offers is data. Fast, inexhaustible, cross-cultural and cheap.” (Jonathan Gotschall). • Literature is data that helps elucidating human nature
Literary Darwinism • General aim: • To demonstrate that human behaviour is the result of innate rather than culturally specific patterns • To identify the universals of life: child bearing and rearing, love, efforts to acquire resources (money, property, influence) and competition and cooperation within families, groups, and communities.
First focus: Characters and action as referencing universal patterns of behaviour • Pride and Prejudice • 2nd generation: Women compete to marry high-status men. Men compete to marry the most attractive women): • Darcy • Elizabeth • Wickham • Lydia • 1st generation: By marrying off their daughters to the right males, parents secure that their genetic material is passed on in the most effective way. • Mrs Bennett • Mr Bennett
First focus: Characters and action as referencing universal patterns of behaviour • Hamlet • Hamlet’s dilemma is personal and political and biological and genetic: Either Hamlet rises to power by killing his uncle, i.e. his mother’s new husband or he lets his uncle live, paving the way for a batch of half-brothers and – sisters with whom he has genes in common.
First focus: Characters and action as referencing universal patterns of behaviour • But what about: • The narrator? (irony) • The genre? (the novel, drama) • The medium? (writing, the stage) • Modes and periods?
Second focus: What is the point, purpose, and end of literature? Why do human beings read and write fiction? • Literature instructs us (Horace: To teach and delight): • It teaches us about space, time, and patterns of cause and effect, making us more adaptive and more capable of passing on our genes. • Literature is designed to help us cope with life’s complexity: enhances our interpretative competences. • Literature is a kind of fitness training: by imagining situations you stand a better chance of succeeding when they occur in real life. • Strong narrative bias: what about, for instance, lyric poetry? What about rhyme? Metre?
Second focus: What is the point, purpose, and end of literature? Why do human beings read and write fiction? • Literature is a sex display designed to waste the competition (antlers) • Rarely handed down, though!
Second focus: What is the point, purpose, and end of literature? Why do human beings read and write fiction? • Literature is a sign of abundant resources (material, physical, psychological) • By its utter uselessness, literature is a sign of the fact that the reader or writer has resources to spare (the peacock’s tail) • Rarely handed down, though!
Second focus: What is the point, purpose, and end of literature? Why do human beings read and write fiction? • Literature is a community builder • Literature integrates humans into a single culture. Cultural and social cohesion produces survival advantages. • But are cultural communities really unifying in this way? Today?
Second focus: What is the point, purpose, and end of literature? Why do human beings read and write fiction? • Literature is a kind of magic, religion, or wish fulfilment. • We like to tell and listen to stories of success in order to ensure success in the future. • But this seems a bit like sublimation?
Dracula and the issue of natural selection • Dracula does not concern natural selection, or the evolutionary struggle to survive through adaption • Humans and vampires do not compete over the limited resources • Host – parasite, prey - predator
Dracula and the issue of sexual selection • Jonathan Harker and the three female vampires (51-52)
Dracula and the issue of sexual selection • Lucy Westenra and her three male suitors (Quincy Morris, Dr Seward, Arthur Holmwood) pp. 73-77
Dracula and the issue of sexual selection • Lucy’s sleepwalking (p. 108)
Dracula and the issue of sexual selection • Mina satirising New Woman as sexual selector (111)
Dracula and the issue of sexual selection • Vampire Lucy’s preference for Arthur (253-54)
Dracula and the issue of sexual selection • Mina’s refusal of Dracula: • Seward’s point of view (336) • Mina’s point of view (343)
Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the issue of sexual selection • The Dracula and Mina scene