Bram Stoker pp 96-115 | Cite as

The Alien and the Familiar in The Jewel of Seven Stars and Dracula

  • Robert Edwards


Reviewing Dracula on 26 June 1897, The Athenaeum complained:

Mr Stoker’s way of presenting his matter, and still more the matter itself, are of too direct and uncompromising a kind. They lack the essential note of awful remoteness and at the same time subtle affinity that separates while it links our humanity with unknown beings and possibilities hovering on the confines of the known world. (p. 835)

The review is astute in identifying the importance of this phenomenon, but less so in denying it to Dracula. There are, in fact, two aspects to the Count’s pastness, which embody both a position within the natural flow of time from an ancient origin, and an ability, perceived as pathological, to stand outside time and to suspend or reverse it. Thus we find him standing for European tradition, the fight against the infidel and civilising progress. He is strangely related to his pursuers: ‘Whilst they played wits against me — against me who commanded nations, and intrigued for them, and fought for them, hundreds of years before they were born — I was countermining them.’1


Human Form Historical Narrative Electric Light Ancient Force Complete Psychological Work 
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  1. 1.
    Bram Stoker, Dracula, ed. Maud Ellmann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996) p. 288. All subsequent references to Dracula are taken from this edition, and are given in the text.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Christopher Craft, ‘“Kiss Me With Those Red Lips”: Gender and Inversion in Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ in Margaret L. Carter, ed., Dracula: The Vampire and the Critics (London: UMI Research Press, 1988) pp. 167–94 at p. 177.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Stephen D. Arata, ‘The Occidental Tourist: Dracula and the Anxiety of Reverse Colonization’, Victorian Studies, 33/4 (Summer, 1990) 621–45 at p. 626.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See Herbert Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History (London: G. Bell, 1931).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See Philippa Levine, The Amateur and the Professional: Antiquarians, Historians and Archaeologists in Victorian England, 1838–86 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bram Stoker, The jewel of Seven Stars, ed. David Glover (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996) pp. 62 and 64. All subsequent references to The Jewel of Seven Stars are taken from this edition, and are given in the text.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Sigmund Freud, ‘The Uncanny’ (1919), in James Strachey, ed., The Complete Psychological Works, 24 vols (London: The Hogarth Press, 1955) Vol. 17, pp. 218–52 at p. 220. Subsequent references to ‘The Uncanny’ are given in the text.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    Daniel Pick, ‘“Terrors of the Night”: Dracula and “Degeneration” in the Late Nineteenth Century’, Critical Quarterly, 30/4 (Winter, 1988) 71–87 at p. 78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Edwards

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