A Crisis Of Faith : Unpacking The Paradox Of Bram Stoker 's Religious
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A Crisis of Faith: Unpacking the Paradox of Bram Stoker’s Religious “Other”
Vampires are not new. Vampires are not old, either. Over the immeasurable history of the vampire myth, they have been re-invented countless times. In the early 19th century, vampires stepped out of legend and into literature where its evolution has continued. Polidori’s vampire was seductive. Anne Rice’s vampire was lonely. Francis Ford Copolla’s vampire was passionate. Bram Stoker’s vampire, however, was something arguably more complicated: it was the embodiment of faith at a time and place where faith was a matter of great contention. In his 1897 novel, Stoker designed his vampire as a complex and comprehensive religious “other” with characteristics derived in part from many of the religious traditions he saw in conflict around him. He placed these religious traditions within a folkloric creature associated with evil, encapsulating Victorian anxieties relating to the validity and verity of Christianity and scientific modernism. The resulting character, the notorious Count Dracula, was the unholy incarnation of the interdependent complexity and the tumultuous state of faith in Victorian England.
At the time of Dracula’s authoring, the infamous fin de siècle, the western mind was full of anxieties with respect to many things, not least of which was the legitimacy of its religious practice. During the 20-year span surrounding the turn of the century, several of Stoker’s literary contemporaries