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Monsters in the capital: Helen Vaughan, Count Dracula and demographic fears in fin-de-siècle London

Renshaw, D. (2020) Monsters in the capital: Helen Vaughan, Count Dracula and demographic fears in fin-de-siècle London. Gothic Studies, 22 (2). pp. 148-164. ISSN 2050-456X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3366/gothic.2020.0046

Abstract/Summary

This article examines the confluence of fears of demographic change occasioned by Jewish migration to Britain between 1881 and 1905 with two key gothic texts of the period – Arthur Machen’s Great God Pan and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The descriptions of the activities of the demonic protagonists Mrs Beaumont and Count Dracula in London will be compared with contemporary depictions of Jewish settlement by leading anti-migrant polemicists. Firstly, it will consider the trope of settlement as a preconceived plan being put into effect directed against ‘Anglo-Saxon’ English society. Secondly it will look at ideas of the contested racial inferiority or superiority of the ‘other’. Thirdly the article will examine the imputed chameleonic natures of both gothic monsters and Jews rising up the metropolitan social scale. The article will conclude by comparing the way Machen and Stoker’s ‘heroes’ deal with their opponents with posited ‘solutions’ for the Eastern European immigration ‘problem’.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > History
ID Code:84075
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press

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