Blog Post #6: Engaging with Research

Cite:

Wolverton, Mary Elizabeth. “There was No Sign of Man in It”: Casting Dracula. as Posthuman and Valuing the Progressive Vampire. Master’s Theses. University of Southern Mississippi, 2017. https://aquila.usm.edu/masters_theses/ 306. Web. 13 Aug. 2021.

Define:

The key concepts in this thesis is posthumanism in Dracula by Bram Stocker, and Victorian fears regarding the rise of evolutionary human species described by Charles Darwin. Posthumanism is a concept regarding humans that have characteristics that put them above the ordinary human. A simpler way of saying this is “evolved human”. Transhuman is another word for post human. Charles Darwin commented on human evolution in his novel “The Descent of Man,” where he describes evolved species of humans overtaking other species of humans, which lead to modern humans.

Understand:

Mary Wolverton argues in her Master’s thesis that Dracula by Bram Stoker is a science fiction novel that uses vampires as a symbol of posthumanism and evidence for the fear of evolutionary species in the Victorian era that followed Charles Darwin’s theory on the evolution of species.

  • The novel Dracula was written only a couple of years after Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was published, so Wolverton is attempting to connect the vampires in Bram Stoker’s novel to an idea of evolved human species based off of Darwin’s novel in order to express the horrifying hypothesis portrayed in the novel that one day humans might be killed off by a species of evolved humans.
  • Wolverton uses a comparative analysis for her methodology of linking the vampires in Dracula to Darwin’s theory of evolved species. She analyzes the character Dracula and compares his characteristics to ideas mentioned in Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species.” She also relates ideas in the novel to Charles Darwin’s “Descent of Man.” Her Methodology focuses on the comparison of these novels by Charles Darwin to Dracula.

Evaluate:

This significance of this source is that it introduces an idea of evolutionary biology in a novel that never outright states that it is based on a theory of evolution. However the source finds significant evidence in the novel Dracula to prove that there is a possibility evolutionary biology is a crucial part of Bram Stoker’s novel. This source is groundbreaking because it may as well show that Dracula, one of the most iconic and influential novels, was based on Darwin’s theory of evolution. It introduces the claim that Dracula by Bram Stoker was actually a hypothesis on the future of human evolution based on Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Distinguish:

This source argues that there is a link between Darwin’s theory of evolution and Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. I would say that my argument piggybacks off this source a bit because we both link instances of the novel Dracula to Darwin’s theory of evolution. However, I make the argument that Stoker uses the character Dracula to not only introduce his ideas regarding evolution, but also to demonize evolution by posing Dracula as the main antagonist. My argument specifically tries to understand why evolution is mentioned in the novel rather than simply identify it in the novel as Wolverton does in her thesis. In addition to this, I pose questions with ideas in a podcast rather than compare sources in an essay as Wolverton does.

Create:

This source suggests that the novel Dracula expresses common Victorian fears regarding evolution. This made me realize that the Victorian age was filled with religion and ideologies against evolution. This worked as support to my hypothesis that states Stoker uses his novel as a means of demonizing evolution because he was religious. This source helped me recognize specifically how evolution is mentioned within the novel allowing me to go forth and identify how evolution ties into the plot of Dracula.