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I have a question on Dracula and the Victorian era. I was just wondering to what extent the cultural anxieties of the Victorian age are represented in Dracula?

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    What cultural anxieties would those be? What are "cultural anxieties" anyway?
    – user14111
    Apr 14, 2019 at 9:42
  • @user14111: "Cultural anxieties" are anxieties that are (more) common among members of a culture. Apr 16, 2019 at 12:35

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Generally speaking, the Count seems to embody several of the anxieties of the people living through The Victorian era. For example, they were very anxious about homosexuality, especially after the Oscar Wilde Trial. By having Dracula bite, and suck the blood of, Harker, Stoker seems to be tapping into this particular anxiety.

Victorians were also anxious about immigration and the “Other,” or foreigners, who might corrupt the British population. This may have been particularly aimed towards women who may have been attracted to foreign, tall, dark, and powerful, men. After all it is only British women, in Britain, who are bitten by a Transylvanian Dracula.

Victorians also seemed to have been anxious about the subconscious and, particularly, of losing control, through someone tapping into their minds. They seem to have feared mesmerism and hypnotism, powers akin to those Stoker assigns the Count.

They also seem to have feared the possibility of the supernatural, and any evil aspects inherent in the pursuit of “contacting” the dead. As Materialism was displacing Religion, people in the Victorian Era still seem to have believed in the immortality of the soul or the existence of spirits. This, in addition to the possibility of electricity animating severed frog legs, (or human monsters, such as that in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein), some Victorians probably feared the possibility of somehow animating the dead, thus Stoker’s “undead.”

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    Nice answer! Could you perhaps edit with citations/evidence to back up your claims of various anxieties? You've demonstrated that Dracula has elements that connect to some anxieties which you claim existed; please demonstrate that those anxieties did indeed exist.
    – bobble
    Mar 6, 2021 at 22:13
  • I begin my answer with the words “Generally speaking” because if one takes a perusal of one of Bram Stoker’s biographies (say, Barbara Belford’s Bram Stoker) most of the above are explained. To supplement the above, one could look at an annotated version of the text, such as Dracula: Norton Critical Edition, which includes contextual essays as well. Mar 6, 2021 at 23:02
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    We expect answers to be self-contained on this site; requiring someone to look elsewhere for explanations should be avoided when possible. Perhaps you could quote the relevant sections of the biographies?
    – bobble
    Mar 6, 2021 at 23:07

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