"The Invisible Giant," Dracula, and disease.
Nevertheless one area of criticism that has still to re-emerge alongside these others is the historicizing of Dracula within the various scientific contexts that pervaded Victorian culture in the final decade of the century. In particular Dracula, and Stoker's work as a whole, suffers from a lack of attention (save that from Sparks) to debates of the late nineteenth century that inform the creation of the vampire as a symbol of Victorian anxieties of impurity and corruption arising from illness and disease. This is surprising as it was clearly an area of interest for several Stoker critics in the 1980s and 1990s. (2) Part of the reason for this, I contend, is that Dracula's engagement with disease is so very apparent in the novel (vampirism is clearly both infection and illness) that there is a critical desire to reach beyond its seeming superficiality to uncover the metonymic and metaphoric "meanings" of disease in alternative medical practices and debates. That is what Kathleen Spencer does in her excellent article dealing partly with theories of degeneracy, and it is likewise the strategy of Robert Mighall, who reads the novel within the context of medical discussions on the effects of onanism. However, such criticism leaves disease itself as an ahistorical place marker for other aspects of late Victorian medicine. Yet theories of disease were constantly in flux in the second half of the nineteenth century and had reached a point of such significant controversy in the 1890s that it is critically reductive to read Stoker's vampiric disease as no more than a transparent signifier of something else. There is, therefore, a need to reassess Dracula within the contexts of disease theories that allows for a more historically rigorous analysis of the novel. From this will emerge a clearer recognition of Stoker's imaginative attempts to consider the effects of disease on the social and cultural body--the body politic of the 1890s--as well as on the body of the individual.
In this article, therefore, the acts, processes, effects and meanings of vampiric infection are investigated through an analysis of Victorian disease theory. In the final decade of the nineteenth century the germ theory of disease gradually became the dominant scientific paradigm of infection, replacing the contagionist and miasmatist theories that had previously been regarded as scientific orthodoxy. Dracula examines the shift towards germ theory in its portrayal of the vampire and in its construction of the opposition to vampirism by the text's scientific authorities, Abraham Van Helsing and John Seward. The novel also clearly draws on contemporary disagreements over the sources of contagion and the etiology of infectious disease, most effectively in its lengthy evocation of Lucy Westenra's treatment and her eventual (un)death from vampiric infection. Lucy's outcome will lead us to conclude that her position as sexual transgressor is not so determinedly fixed as previous critical opinion would have it. Moreover, Dracula also pays close attention to the social and cultural repercussions of disease transmission, as well as to the disruption of political and economic capital caused by infection. In particular, Stoker's deliberate analysis of Lucy Westenra's and Jonathan Harker's position as infected individuals, on whom the effects of disease have repercussions for their status within the social and economic order of late Victorian Britain, significantly reveals the novel's conflicting liberal and conservative discourses. This, in turn, will make us re-evaluate the common critical view of Stoker as a predictably conservative writer whose ideologies are made all too clearly manifest in his popular fictions, a view that is only now beginning to be questioned (e.g., by Maunder). Instead, a close analysis of the disease theories of contagionism, miasmatism, and germ theory-in their medical, social, and political contexts-uncovers a version of Dracula that is politically contingent, sensitive to the power of Victorian social orthodoxy, and able to articulate the complex interactions of the values of liberalism and conservatism.
This is not to argue that Stoker's scientific knowledge of disease theories was particularly acute or that his understanding of their social and political effects was comprehensive. Rather, Dracula's engagement with disease, while a determined part of the novel's ideological structures, illuminates the often chaotic and contradictory reception of the meanings of disease as they passed from specialist to non-specialist. Moreover, regardless of Stoker's actual understanding of disease theories and their popular applications, the transformation from empirical knowledge to imaginative narrative indelibly alters the epistemological status of disease and renders any reading of the novel as consistent with scientific theory somewhat limiting. Nevertheless, what can be said with some certainty is that Stoker's consideration of disease theory significantly predates Dracula; indeed it can be traced to his short story "The Invisible Giant," which appeared in his children's collection Under The Sunset in 1882. (3) This story is as central to Dracula as are those texts from the "Dracula Notebooks" that have been signalled as important in its formation. Until now, "The Invisible Giant" has not been seriously investigated as a source for Dracula, although superficial similarities have been noted. (4) It is in this story, nevertheless, that Stoker's creation of an invading spectre with the potential to infect a population with an unforeseen and unnamed disease finds its first expression. Here, too, Stoker deals with actual historical data on infectious disease in his imaginative personification of disease as a monstrous gothic figure. "The Invisible Giant" is therefore crucial in the creative process that led to Dracula, and vital, too, in revealing how Stoker specifically conflates scientific thinking on disease with its social and economic significance. Indeed it is in this story's polemical emphasis on the connections between disease, social status, and the role of the national body politic-far less disguised here than in Dracula-that we can first recognize Stoker's engagement with opposing political ideologies.
"The Invisible Giant" and Theories of Disease
Although Charlotte Stoker's letter on the cholera epidemics of 1832 is regarded as the most significant source for "The Invisible Giant," she was not the only voice on disease to which Bram Stoker would have had access (Ludlum 25-31). In fact Stoker was in a remarkably privileged position when it came to medical information and need not have relied entirely upon the amateur biography that his mother provided. Stoker's uncle, William Stoker, was an eminent Irish physician closely involved in the organization of the Dublin Fever Hospital, one of the most influential organizations for infectious disease in Victorian Ireland. By the time Stoker came to write "The Invisible Giant" (between 1875 and 1881) his brother George was also a practicing physician. George lived with Stoker and his family in the late 1870s and was appointed the official physician to the Lyceum Theatre where Stoker was Theatre Manager. Barbara Belford claims that it was George's experiences as a medical officer in Eastern Europe that led Stoker to situate Dracula's castle in Transylvania, further evidence that medical contexts are continually invoked to create the figure of the vampire (Belford 128). Another of Stoker's brothers, Thornley, practiced medicine in Ireland and became president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland in the early 1890s when Stoker was keenly at work on Dracula. By marriage, too, Stoker was connected with disease and its treatment. His wife, Florence, was named by her father, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Crimea, after Florence Nightingale, whose fame was due to her wartime service but who was influential in the sanitary science movement in the second half of the nineteenth century (Belford 83-84). While there is no direct evidence to prove that disease was ever a topic of discussion between Stoker and his family it is nevertheless significant that medicine and infection were a common and consistent part of Stoker's life in the years when he was writing both "The Invisible Giant" and Dracula. What this brief scientific biography also reveals is that Stoker's likely correspondents on disease were drawn from a variety of specialist and non-specialist positions, and in turn they may have based their knowledge on both specialist and non-specialist beliefs, suppositions, and understandings of disease etiology and influence.
Nevertheless "The Invisible Giant" convincingly shows Stoker's recognition of the roles that disease theories might play in contemporary Britain, even if he is unaware of the contradictions exposed in his fictional account of their sociopolitical impact. The Giant who attacks the Country Under the Sunset is unequivocally representative of a generic infectious disease-Hughes reads it as cholera (Beyond Dracula 23-28)--whose causes and transmissions are exacting. Disease is to be found "in the marshes still" (1) and when it leaves the marshes it arrives in the city as "a cold mist" or "shrouded in a great misty robe" (2), both specific references to the discourse of miasmatism that I will discuss later. The spread of disease through the city is precipitated first by the "Giant-Plague" (7) whose foul mist infects the population, and thereafter also by contaminated food and water. By detailing the etiology of the disease in this way Stoker clearly positions the story within the miasmatic paradigm of disease: one of two paradigms of disease transmission that dominated the mid-nineteenth century and that were still very much at the forefront of disease theory in the 1870s when Stoker was writing "The Invisible Giant."
Of the different hypothetical positions available in disease theory the two that dominated medical science up to the 1870s were miasmatism and contagionism. To some extent these were opposing positions, although it is also the case that there were many scientists with sympathies on both sides. The historically dominant position was contagionism, which had been in vogue in nascent form from the seventeenth century. Contagionists believed that infectious diseases were passed from one person to another through close contact or touch. Diseases, they argued, produced similar effects on the human body as the processes of fermentation did on liquids-where there began an agitation of fluid that could escape its immediate surroundings and ultimately come into contact with another body. Contagionism could claim to be closer to a scientific orthodoxy in the first half of the nineteenth century, due largely to its status as a venerable scientific belief. As Erwin Ackerknecht has shown, "contagion and the contagium animatum were rather old theories around 1800" (564).
Contagionism may have been the scientific orthodoxy but it was not always accepted. A large part of the reason for this was that it was regarded-especially by Victorian liberals-as a theory leading directly to reactionary political and social action. As Michael Worboys has argued, contagionism, as it was understood in the 1860s and 1870s, tended to focus on the individual: "physicians tended to assume that most medical diseases had internal and often spontaneous origins, hence they only thought of external factors as predisposing rather than exciting causes" (193). Any attempts at containment of disease therefore began with the containment of the individual believed to be contagious. Quarantine was the most widely used state practice designed to contain the spread of contagious diseases, and indeed had remained so throughout the century despite differing scientific views on disease causation (see Maglen). Yet quarantine caused great disruption both for the individual and for wider communities and their socioeconomic progress. Most points of quarantine existed at natural borders, say between land and sea, so that trading ports and other places of economic importance were far more likely to suffer the consequences of contagionist theory.
Victorian liberals were equally concerned by contagionist theory's advocacy of social control as opposed to social rehabilitation. The practice of quarantine in the mid- to late-nineteenth century, which in essence was a form of policing and managing the boundaries between the diseased and the healthy, appeared to do little to alleviate disease. Rather, it controlled its spread through various restrictive practices that inevitably had social and cultural implications for the individuals and groups it targeted. Whether these groups were foreign nationals arriving at Britain's ports only to be quarantined to their ships, or the many female prostitutes who found their freedoms circumscribed by the Contagious Diseases Act enforced from the late 1860s, the deliberate and systematic control that contagionist theory recommended both articulated the potential biological difference of such peoples and socially stigmatized them as a diseased group immorally endangering a healthy Britain. Contagionism's clinical understanding of disease therefore had economic and social implications that reverberated outside Britain's medical community.
There was, though, another more vital reason for liberal opposition to contagionism. Contagionist preference for disease control meant that little was done to effect lasting change in those places where disease most commonly struck. As Charles Rosenberg has argued, in the mid- to late- Victorian period "contagion seemed morally random and thus a denial of the traditional assumptions that both health and disease arose from particular states of moral and social order" (117). Contagionism's promotion of disease etiology as democratic-as suggested by medical theory rather than public health practice--undermined alternative beliefs in the importance of socioeconomic factors in facilitating disease prevention.
Miasmatists (also called anti-contagionists) found this anathema to their project of social regeneration. The miasmatic position was that diseases were the product of environmental factors such as contaminated water, foul air, and poor hygienic conditions. They denied that diseases were contagious in any way, believing instead that exposure to an environment predisposed to disease because of its putrid air or water supply, its inappropriate drainage and bad smells, its lack of light or ventilation, gave rise to vapors that penetrated the human body and caused infection. Such infection was not passed between individuals but would affect individuals who resided within the particular locale that gave rise to such vapors. Those holding to this position were known as miasmatists because the root of many of their beliefs arose from early scientific analyses of diseases seemingly caused by marsh miasmatas, such as malaria, whose name clearly confirms their acceptance of the principle of "bad air."
By far the most persuasive and authoritive voice in defense of miasmatism was that of sanitary science. From the 1830s sanitary science became increasingly influential in promoting practical anti-contagionism. Contagionism, as far as the sanitarians were concerned, did a great deal of harm to the health of Victorian Britain by refusing to accept that the predisposing character of the environment led to an increase in infectious disease. Edwin Chadwick, one of the most influential of the sanitary scientists, challenged the democratic notions of contagionism in his important 1829 article in the Westminster Review: "from a paper compiled by [M. Villerme] from the registers of the hospitals at Paris, it is made to appear that disease is not more frequent among the poor than among the rich or the middling classes; but it is more frequently fatal to the former than to the latter, and the gradations of wealth, or the means of providing comforts ... may be almost taken as the scale of mortality" (41-42).
Chadwick's statistical evidence was supported by the scientific arguments of disease experts like Southwood Smith and the practical experience of hospital managers such as Florence Nightingale, both of whom were leading figures of the sanitarian movement. In 1830 Smith published his manifesto for miasmatism, A Treatise on Fever. In this work he argued that "the immediate, or the exciting cause of fever is a poison formed by the corruption or the decomposition of organic matter." Such decomposition lead to "a new compound" that "produces the phenomena constituting fever" (349). This new compound was most infective when it was "formed by exhalations given off from the living bodies of those who are affected with fever, especially when such exhalations are pent up in a close and confined apartment" (364). Here was a theory of disease to challenge contagionism. Indeed Smith even offered a reason for the contagionists's mistaken belief in the contagious, diseased individual. What they believed was a contagious disease, Smith argued, was actually a particularly potent compound arising from environmental conditions and carried by individuals suffering from the fever it excited.
Over the next three decades Smith dedicated much of his working life to the miasmatist cause. In his work of 1866, The Common Nature of Epidemics, he was even clearer about the root causes of disease and even more opposed to contagionism:
To assume the method of propagation by touch, whether by the person or of infected articles, and to overlook that by the corruption of the air, is at once to increase the real danger, from exposure to noxious effluvia, and to divert attention from the true means of remedy and prevention. (68-69)
By this time Smith had a valuable ally in Florence Nightingale, who had become an increasingly important figure in the sanitary movement after her well-documented experiences in the Crimea. Nightingale was more opposed to contagionism in her private and published writing than Smith, Chadwick, and others had been. At the beginning of Notes on Hospitals (1859) Nightingale dismisses contagion as the preserve of the ignorant:
The idea of "contagion", as explaining the spread of disease, appears to have been adopted at a time when, from the neglect of sanitary arrangements, epidemics attacked whole masses of people, and when men had ceased to consider that nature had any laws for her guidance. Beginning with the poets and historians, the word finally made its way into scientific nomenclature, where it has remained ever since ... a satisfactory explanation for pestilence and an adequate excuse for non-exertion to prevent its recurrence. (5-6)
Of far greater consequence for Nightingale was the appropriate action to tackle the underlying causes of miasma. Her hugely popular "Notes on Nursing for the Labouring Classes" (1860) advised potential nurses to "keep the air [the patient] breathes as pure as the external air" (34). Miasmatism, therefore, was inextricably linked with sociopolitical regeneration on a grand scale-from the alleviation of poverty and the renewal of mechanisms of sanitation to seismic shifts in medical understanding and government action.
It is important to understand something of both the contagionist and miasmatist positions in order to read Stoker's fiction accurately. "The Invisible Giant" may well situate disease within a miasmatist paradigm but it is necessary also to know the specific social influences and actions of contagionism to fully appreciate the story's analysis of Victorian Britain.
"The Invisible Giant" opens with a vision of the Country Under the Sunset as overpopulated urban Britain. Class division, economic inequality, and environmental degradation are its markers:
There were some very rich and there were many poor. Most of the beautiful gardens were laid waste. Houses had grown up close round the palace; and in some of these dwelt many persons who could only afford to pay for part of a house.... In the city there were a great many old houses, storey upon storey high; and in these houses lived many poor people. The higher you went up the great steep stairs the poorer were the people that lived there, so that in the garrets were some so poor that when the morning came they did not know whether they should have anything to eat the whole long day. (1-2)
The combined effects of over-crowding and poverty make the city predisposed to infection, yet there are two other causes that lead directly to the epidemic Stoker is about to articulate. First, the city is subject to climactic change when the wind fails and the temperature rises. Zaya, the young heroine of the story, subtly links this to the arrival of infection:
One evening Zaya sat alone in her garret very sad and lonely. It was a lovely Summer's evening.... There was hardly a breath of wind and the smoke went straight up from the chimneys.... Presently she looked up from her work and gazed across the city. There she saw a terrible thing-something so terrible that she gave a low cry of fear and wonder, and leaned out of the window, shading her eyes with her hands to see more clearly. In the sky beyond the city she saw a vast shadowy Form with its arms raised. It was shrouded in a great misty robe that covered it, fading away into air so that she could only see the face and the grim, spectral hands. (2-3)
Stoker connects the onset of disease with specific environmental conditions in precise miasmatic terms, using what was to become the vitally important metonym of "mist" to imaginatively articulate the disease-carrying foul air. It had, in fact, been commonly accepted in disease theory for some time that the most "plague-inducing" conditions occur when "not only the Heats are very great, and the Weather continues long in the same state, but the Winds ... do not shift and change so often" (Mead 4). Florence Nightingale placed this belief in the putridity of "stagnant air" at the center of her rules on nursing: her first rule stresses the importance of continued access to fresh air so as to avoid air that has become "musty and corrupt" and which is "ripe to breed smallpox, scarlet fever, diphtheria or anything else you please" ("Notes on Nursing" 35). In "The Invisible Giant," then, infection proceeds directly from miasmatic scenarios of disease excitement, situating Stoker's fiction as a commentary on the importance of sanitary science in contemporary urban Britain.
Nevertheless, miasmatism is not the sole focus. The social implications of contagionist practices are also foundational in providing the reader with a clear narrative of the spread of disease. Disease first enters the City Under the Sunset because of the failure of quarantine methods. Control of the City's borders is in the care of guardian spirits, arbiters of quarantine whose role it is to halt the progress of any transgressive giant. Yet their distress at the behavior of the City's citizens leads to a loosening of the tight control they once had:
And so the people sang and danced and feasted as before, and thought only of themselves. The Spirits that guarded the Land were very, very sad. Their great white shadowy wings drooped as they stood at their posts at the Portals of the Land. They hid their faces, and their eyes were dim with continuous weeping, so that they heeded not if any evil thing went by them. (1)
Stoker clearly intends to highlight the failure of the Spirits to stop infection entering the city. Yet this is more than simply a criticism of the impotence of quarantine as a measure of disease-prevention. The Spirits are clearly sympathetic to the miasmatist cause, weeping because of their citizens's denial of the dangers inherent in poverty and overcrowding. Their duties as guardians are undermined by the lack of effective disease prevention, thereby symbolically allowing infection the freedom to exert itself within the city boundaries. Quarantine is not only incapable of stopping the spread of disease, it is also an entirely inappropriate measure to take against disease. Thinking themselves safe from harm because of the guarding Spirits, the citizens--who believe that "even if there ever were giants there are none now" (1)--fail to recognize the inherent dangers of polluted air, poverty, and overpopulation. As Southwood Smith argued, acceptance of contagionist rhetoric and method, does nothing more than "increase the real danger, from exposure to noxious effluvia" that miasmatists believed to be the cause of infectious disease. Yet Stoker's prose provides room for some ambiguity; the failure of the Spirits to control the City's borders may also be suggestive of the necessity for more determined quarantine. The loss of control of the "portals of the Land" is the result of too great an attention to the claims of sanitary science: foregoing the contagionist practice of quarantine in order to focus on the problems of urban poverty leads directly to the catastrophic intervention of the Giant. It is the lack of policing at the border, not the paucity of urban regeneration, that heralds the onset of social disorder. In allowing for two such opposing readings, "The Invisible Giant" reveals the interplay in Stoker's work between the reactionary conservatism of contagionism and the liberal social policies of sanitary science as they emerge through miasmatism. Stoker's attempts to negotiate the impact of conflicting theories of disease from a non-specialist position become the basis, therefore, for a political as well as medical investigation of the impact of infection on the social body. The extent of Stoker's knowledge of disease theories allows him to employ their rhetoric and explore some of their public positions; but it is his desire to evoke these theories in order to critique variant discourses and practices of social order that should alert us to the sociopolitical diversity and complexity of his work.
Stoker firmly establishes "The Invisible Giant" as a fiction that draws its inspiration from both contagionist and miasmatist principles of infectious disease. Yet to what extent is the story a prototype of Dracula, other than in its specific use of contemporary disease theories and its personification of disease as an active human-like figure intent on spreading infection? The central characters, Zaya and Knoal, are germinal versions of Lucy/Mina and Van Helsing. Knoal is the story's medical authority. In his possession are "all sorts of curious instruments, and many strange and common herbs and simples hung to dry in bunches on the wall" (4). His home is "a Tomb" (4), in which he keeps watch over Zaya as she sleeps, and where she feels safe because of "the sweet smell of the drying herbs all around her" (6). In these brief textual moments Stoker begins to develop certain aspects of characterization and plot that will find ultimate expression in Dracula. Although only in fledgling form in "The Invisible Giant," it is clear that Knoal's understanding and acceptance of the Giant, as well as his pharmaceutical skill with plants, would be revived in the figure of Van Helsing. His surrounding of Zaya with fragrant herbs also prefigures that key moment in Dracula when Van Helsing demands that Lucy sleep amongst the garlic flowers with which he has garlanded her bedroom. Zaya, too, is a nascent form of both Lucy and Mina: she is the vulnerable female figure who requires protection and surveillance in the Tomb and also the moral compass of the story, the "innocence and devotion" (9) that, by the end of the story, "save the land" (9) from further infection. Indeed Zaya's first encounter with the Giant, where he appears "shrouded in a great misty robe" from which only his face and hands are visible, is echoed in Mina's early encounter with Dracula, which concludes with "a livid white face bending over me out of the mist" (333). (5)
Nevertheless, it is not only the similarity of character that suggests "The Invisible Giant" is a direct ancestor of Dracula. The story is also connected to the novel through their similar focus on the relationship between disease and property. Stoker's construction of infection and its causes according to miasmatic principles of disease transmission does not only reflect the prevailing scientific view (as well as the representation of disease given by Charlotte Stoker); it also gives Stoker the opportunity to comment upon the morality of property ownership. It is obvious from the opening of "The Invisible Giant" that infection arises from overpopulated housing, which is in turn the result of poverty; that "many persons" were able only "to pay for part of a house." It is not, though, the fault of those stricken by poverty. In fact, Stoker argues the contrary case. The arrival of the Giant coincides with the dominance of capitalist economics, simplified by Stoker as competition for wealth and material possessions: "People had become more selfish and more greedy, and had tried to grasp all they could for themselves" (1). The selfishness and greed of the population successful under capitalism is the "sin" (5) that leads to infection. Disease, therefore, is a marker of immorality linked indisputably to monetary gain through property. In Dracula the same dynamic interaction of property, the acquisition of wealth, and disease is in play, although the focus shifts from the too simplistic divide between the rich and the poor onto the more complex middle classes. The sinfulness of selfishness and greed that dominates "The Invisible Giant" is transformed into the ambiguous morality of business transactions with Eastern Europe that legitimizes both the sale of British property to the foreigner and the penetration of British borders by the biological body of the alien. Although Dracula is much more ambitious than "The Invisible Giant" in its interrogation of the contested theories of disease, and therefore subtler in its analysis of miasma, contagion, and the newly discovered germ, the politics of infection that Stoker first realized imaginatively in "The Invisible Giant" remain the same.
Dracula, Germ Theory, and the Politics of Infectious Disease
From the outset Dracula, like "The Invisible Giant" before it, draws considerably on miasmatic conceptions of infection. The female vampires that attack Jonathan Harker first appear as "quaint little specks floating in the rays of the moonlight" (62) and Count Dracula's tomb gives off "a deathly, sickly odour" (66), both typical exemplars of the exciting causes due to an unhealthy environment that dominated anti-contagionist rhetoric: the "vapours and exhalations ... possessing a specific power of exciting fever" that sanitary scientists so feared (Bancroft 157). The specks of matter in the air described in Harker's journal are proven later to herald the arrival of the vampire: Lucy Westenra suffers a similar attack from "a whole myriad of little specks" (186) and Mina Murray's infection begins with "a thin streak of white mist" (332). Foul smells also consistently indicate the presence of potential infection; Seward finds a putrid atmosphere in Lucy's tomb, to contrast with the "fresh and pure" (269) night air outside. More potently, Dracula's tomb at Carfax Abbey gives off "an earthy smell, as of some dry miasma, which came through the fouler air" (323). So specifically miasmatic is Stoker's representation of vampirism that here he even uses the vocabulary of miasma to indicate the unhealthy conditions of the environment.
The introduction of Van Helsing, however, shifts the representation of disease from miasma to the germ. In his diagnosis and treatment of Lucy's illness, Van Helsing places vampirism within the context of the new germ theory that had only reached public consciousness by the 1890s. While miasmatists and contagionists argued over the cause of disease through the mid-nineteenth century, a nascent germ theory was beginning to emerge from a number of different disease studies. Firstly, investigations into zymotic generation--the fermentation of disease argument preferred by contagionists-began to suggest that the particles given off by the fermenting liquid were themselves the cause of disease and may already have been present in the liquid rather than generated by it (Crellin 49-60). Second, hereditary disease-disease passed on from one generation of a family to another-was beginning to be explained not as the lasting effects of environment on the body but as a set of characteristics passed on within the body and carried from one body to another by some microbial organism (Otis 42). Third, the phenomenon of ancestral disease used by miasmatists as evidence of environmental pollution-that disease could lie dormant over a long period of time within a specific place and, when agitated by unique environmental conditions, again give rise to actual disease in the human population-was being seen in a new light as a further example of the existence of microbial life within the natural world. Reconsiderations of previously held beliefs led scientists to ask new questions of disease causation: could it be that living agents cause disease? If so, what was their constitution and how did they propagate?
By the 1870s the beginnings of a mature germ theory-that disease is caused by micro-organisms we know as bacteria-was being formed. An article by John Tyndall in Nature tentatively explored the possibility of microbial life as the cause of disease, going so far as to argue that it may be true "that epidemic diseases are due to germs which float in the atmosphere, enter the body, and produce disturbance by the development within the body of parasitic life" (341). It was to be another two decades before such a definitive statement was accepted, when the work of Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur was most influential in overturning the scientific paradigms of contagionism and miasmatism. In fact it can be argued that Koch's discovery of the tuberculosis bacillus and Pasteur's work on fermentation did not lead to a new paradigm in disease theory until the final decade of the century. Michael Worboys, for one, maintains that "it was only after 1895 that bacteriologists played a major part in public health" (234). However, germ theory did offer one clear difference from these previous systems of belief; that disease was the product of a living organic being-the microbe or bacteria-whose life, like the life of the vampire, depended on human illness. (6)
For Van Helsing Lucy's exposure to Dracula demanded a response that dealt with the microbial origin of vampirism. It is for this reason that he introduces the garlic into her bedroom. The particular arrangement of the garlic and its subsequent destruction by Lucy's mother stages a domestic conflict between germ theory and miasmatism. Seward describes Van Helsing's actions:
We went into the room, taking the [garlic] flowers with us. The Professor's actions were certainly odd and not to be found in any pharmacopoeia that I ever heard of. First, he fastened up the windows and latched them securely; next, taking a handful of the flowers, he rubbed them all over the sashes, as though to ensure that every whiff of air that might get in would be laden with the garlic smell. Then, with the wisp he rubbed all over the jamb of the door, above, below, and at each side, and round the fireplace in the same way. (171)
Surrounded by the garlic flowers, a metonymy for antiseptic that combats the metaphor of vampirism as microbe, Lucy is well protected from the microbial infection that vampirism represents. However, Mrs Westenra's conviction in the miasmatic practices of sanitary science--her aversion to "those horrible, strong-smelling flowers" and her belief in the potency of "fresh air" (174)--undoes Van Helsing's work. She removes the garlic from Lucy's neck and opens a window to allow the passage of air into the room, to the detriment of Lucy's condition. Lucy's increasingly endangered health shows how Stoker now represents miasmatism as an exploded paradigm that should be replaced by the principles of germ theory.
Yet as the novel continues, and the Crew of Light begin their destruction of Dracula's London refuges, there is a return to the representation of vampirism as a miasmatic disease once again, even if by this time it is a response to miasma that recognizes the existence of the microbe within the offensive organic matter that characterizes Dracula's presence. (7) The properties that Dracula maintains around London are all sanitized by the vampire hunters in their quest to keep him from returning to them, a decision that proves successful, as Dracula eventually flees back to Transylvania. The process of sanitization is certainly representative of sanitarian advice on cleanliness and hygiene. Carfax Abbey--the first property dealt with by the Crew of Light-is exemplary. As Jonathan Harker describes it, "the whole place was thick with dust" (322), and the chapel where Dracula kept his boxes of earth was "small and close, and long disuse had made the air stagnant and foul" (323). After fumigating the boxes with communion wafers the Crew opens the doors to the chapel and succeeds in "purifying ... the deadly atmosphere" (325). By cleaning the polluted atmosphere with fresh air as well as sterilizing the boxes of infected earth, the Crew of Light combines the theory of the germ with the practice of sanitary science.
What Stoker unconsciously dramatizes here is how sanitary science and germ theory became intertwined in the 1890s. Faced with the growing evidence in favor of germ theory sanitarians took a pragmatic view of their previous opposition to it. Rather than risk their social projects by continuing to deny the truth of this newly emergent paradigm of disease, they embraced it, remaking the central hypotheses of germ theory as improved sanitary measures. As Nancy Tomes has argued, sanitarians "simply superimposed the menace of the microbe onto existing mappings of disease dangers in the household" (49). For this reason we find a shift in the advice given on sanitary health, even where the causes of disease are identical. Before the emergence of germ theory, Southwood Smith and Florence Nightingale suggest that the best way to avoid infection from the "organic matter [in] the surrounding atmosphere" is "ventilation and cleanliness" (Smith, Common Nature 14), with "excessive care" given to removing the poisonous matter found in "the particle of dust" (Nightingale, "Notes on Nursing" 106-09). By the time germ theory had begun to take hold in the scientific community, however, the same organic matter is dealt with by a "cotton wool respirator" that "hold[s] back from the lungs ... the germs by which contagious disease is said to be propagated" (Tyndall 342). Yet even with the onset of germ theory the rhetoric of sanitary science is still employed to indicate the effectiveness of new techniques. The same cotton wool respirator, for example, is so effective as to bring "the air of the highest Alps ... into the chamber of the invalid" (Tyndall 342). The use of respirators, fumigation, and antiseptic treatments instigated by germ theory were therefore paraded by sanitary scientists as the newest methods for the assurance of cleanliness and fresh air, always their bulwarks against the onset of infection.
This collapsing of the boundaries between the new germ theory and miasmatism achieved an ongoing connection of disease to immorality that had always been present in sanitary science. Even before the nineteenth century those unfortunate enough to contract an infectious disease had been categorized as sick or unclean, a form of temporary identity that was very easily transformed into dirty and wicked. Richard Mead, who completed a pamphlet for the government of 1720 on disease prevention, argued that "as Nastiness is a great source of Infection, so Cleanliness is the greatest Preservative: Which is the true Reason, why the Poor are most Obnoxious to Disasters of this Kind" (48). A direct line is drawn from infectious disease to poverty so that the poor are almost automatically infected, and so that it is their own "nastiness" that has led them to succumb to disease. Victorian sanitary scientists were equally persuaded of the connection between disease and immoral activity. Florence Nightingale in an 1867 letter stated: "There are sick streets, like sick people, which one can recognize at once ... and sick streets produce sick people and bad people ... the sick streets will always bear the same fruits-each in its degree-we shall always reap the same harvest of sickness (and consequent pauperism) and of vice from them" ("Notes on Nursing" 533). Nightingale's use of apparently anecdotal evidence that leads to a speculative correlation between infection and vice shows the permeability of the boundaries between sanitary science and social politics. As Alison Bashford has recognized, public health was greatly influenced by the easy transfer of clinical categories of disease into social structures. Elements of disease theories were readily superimposed upon already existing social distinctions between "clean and unclean, normal and pathological, healthy and unhealthy" (39). Even miasma's root in the word "impurity," as Margaret Pelling argues, shows how understandings of infectious disease were never entirely medical but "had a wide currency in a range of areas of thought and practice ... [and] are inseparable from notions of individual morality" (16-17). It was to this that Stoker was responding when he connected disease with immorality, poverty, and economics in "The Invisible Giant," and he continues to investigate disease's contestation of sociopolitcal identity in Dracula.
Lucy Westenra is the novel's finest example of how infection, once it has entered the world of social and cultural value, can have profound effects on individual identity. Critical opinion has consistently argued that Lucy's vampiric infection is a marker of moral laxity leading to sexual transgression. (8) Yet if we consider Dracula's appearance as the onset of disease as well as the more commonly articulated sexual encounter, Lucy's straightforward sexual transgression must be challenged and Stoker's consideration of her character investigated differently. Lucy is first infected by Dracula during an episode of sleepwalking that takes her to the graveyard overlooking Whitby harbour. Her illness begins, then, with an unforeseen expedition to a place of infection, a site of impurity of which she had no knowledge. This is the vampire as miasma, but a miasma that is situated away from any environment over which Lucy has control. Lucy is not even at fault for her own sleepwalking; Mrs Westenra admits to Mina that it is a hereditary complaint, passed to Lucy by her father who "had the same habit; that he would get up in the night and dress himself and go out, if he were not stopped" (97). If Lucy's initial exposure to infection can be explained by her unfortunate inheritance from her father, her continued illness is more readily the fault of her mother. It is Mrs Westenra who mistakenly privileges her knowledge of sanitary science over Van Helsing's more sophisticated understanding of germ theory and further exposes Lucy to Dracula's attacks. In fact the decisive moment in Lucy's battle with disease comes when her mother enters her bedroom and, frightened by Dracula's appearance at the window, "clutched the wreath of flowers that Dr Van Helsing insisted on [Lucy] wearing round [her] neck, and tore it away from [her]" (186). Lucy's death is not altogether the necessary conclusion of sexual transgression, but a failing of her father's genetic inheritance and her mother's inability to recognize and respond to contemporary medical authority.
Nevertheless, the novel does lead us to consider Lucy's sexuality as responsible for her own infection, nowhere more so than when she attempts to seduce Lord Godalming while under Dracula's influence, an episode that reinforces the connection between her diseased state and her sexual assertiveness. (9) Why should this be the case, when Stoker is at pains to suggest an alternative reading for her infection? What the novel is aiming to highlight is the ease with which disease can alter the social position of the infected individual and the ready associations between sexual conduct and propensity for infection. While Lucy can be regarded as "the embodiment of the positive feminine qualities of 'sweetness and light,'" as William Hughes has argued (Beyond Dracula 141), her infection by the vampire has the potential to turn her from a virginal aristocratic girl into a wanton and immoral sexual woman. Mina Murray recognizes this immediately on discovering that Lucy was predisposed to sleepwalking. Her narrative of Lucy's nocturnal somnambulance is revealing of the social fear associated with infection, describing the "fear" of their being a "witness of Lucy's condition" that might lead to "exposure" of "her reputation" as well as her "bare feet" (119-22). Mina's complex response to Lucy's attack offers a clear indication of Stoker's acknowledgement of the effects of infection on public image as well as the easily reversible route from disease back to individual sexual impropriety. Mina's unarticulated fear coalesces both as an antipathy to public discovery and a presentiment of Lucy's infection. Lucy's health and (sexual) reputation are seen to be simultaneously at stake, as though one is dependent upon the other. Yet Mina's greatest concern is not with the "white face and red, gleaming eyes" (121) of Dracula, but with the "exposure" of Lucy to the Whitby community and her feet to passers-by. The bared feet are, if anything, most significant, for they register Mina's deep-held fear of being dis-covered. Her own bare feet, resonating symbolically as the feet of the underclass or the street urchin, are covered in filth so as to not to reveal their status as infected or diseased, that is as unclean. Stoker cleverly plays on the irony of Mina's polluted feet hiding the real pollution of public discovery of disease. More than that, however, the bare feet suggest nakedness, not only the metaphoric nakedness to public shame but also bodily nakedness associated with infidelity to Victorian propriety and suggestive of the sexual encounter. Mina's surrender of her shoes to Lucy becomes a moment of great sacrifice, risking her own sexual status to save her friend's. Despite Mina's successful efforts to protect Lucy from social stigma it is thereafter that disease begins to determine her identity as sexual transgressor, both in her actions after infection and in suggesting that infection is the result of previous sexual misconduct. While maintaining Lucy's innocence in contracting the disease of vampirism, the novel also makes explicit her emerging sexuality to trace how infection can culturally shift into other forms of pollution: moving from physical ill health to moral impurity.
That the representation of Lucy appears to offer two contradictory readings of her identity--as sexually anarchic and innocently infected--is an indication of how Stoker's incomplete knowledge of the complex interactions between medicine and society accurately reflect the contradictory reception, and continuing inconsistency of understanding, of disease theories. Lucy is sexually provocative and innocently ill at the same time, an oppositional doubling that illuminates the social embodiment of disease in late Victorian Britain as indicative of both unforeseeable physical misfortune and individual irresponsibility, often perceived as sexual transgression. As Frank Mort has exhaustively and persuasively argued, medical legislation of the mid- to late-nineteenth century betrayed "a dual commitment to physical improvement and moral regulation ... which resulted in the growing specificity of the sexual within official discourse." Stoker's is a carefully balanced articulation of Lucy's position as in-between the reactionary sexual politics that characterized the Contagious Diseases Act and the more liberal view of disease as arising from social deprivation to strike all classes of society randomly. This highlights how capable Stoker's fictions are of imaginatively investigating, in Mort's phrase, the "marked polarization of political positions" from which disease and infection were viewed (Mort 68).
However, it is not only on Lucy that a reading of Dracula's political complexity through the contextual lens of disease theories should, or need be founded. Indeed "The Invisible Giant," as the first fiction in which Stoker dealt with disease theory, provides an important cue for expanding an interrogation of Dracula into another area of medical politics: economics and trade. Stoker placed great emphasis in "The Invisible Giant" both on border quarantine, which was always associated with foreign trade by contagionists and anti-contagionists alike, and on the medico-economic implications of property ownership. Dracula reinvestigates these themes in the relationship between the Count and his legal advisor, Jonathan Harker.
It is relatively straightforward to make connections between Dracula's foreignness and his role as carrier of disease, (10) but his arrival in Britain, what we can call the transmission of disease to Britain from abroad, is only achieved with the help of Jonathan Harker. It is Harker who discovers and purchases British property in Count Dracula's name, travels to Transylvania to aid the Count in his British business dealings, and helps the Count master the intonations of the English language and his performance as the English gentleman. Harker's help is varied and profound, and yet he actually conducts his business with Dracula with the intention of achieving his own personal advancement and economic success.
Before considering this further it is important to recall that Harker's role as legal representative is made more complex by his status within the legal practice he represents. Harker is subordinate to Mr. Hawkins, his mentor and father-figure, and has been "sent out" (25) to Transylvania on his behalf. Harker is not, therefore, solely culpable for the economic alliance with Dracula that brings back to British shores the disease of vampirism. Indeed, Harker may be said to be an unwitting representative of Mr. Hawkins, his role simply to carry out the wishes of his superior, innocent of its likely repercussions. Certainly Harker's later realization that he has instituted Dracula's invasion of Britain comes as a surprise to him. Nevertheless, his quest for increased status within his firm of solicitors, later shown to be successful when he inherits the practice on Mr. Hawkins's death, clearly offers an alternative perspective on the faithful clerk doing no more than his master's bidding. Two brief sections of Harker's journal betray his class-conscious desire for power and his rising position in the firm. First, he is keen to recall that he is no longer a "solicitor's clerk" but "now a full-blown solicitor!" (25) and second, Mr. Hawkins views him not as a subordinate but as his own "substitute" (27). Such public avowal of Harker's improved position both professionally and in career terms gives him licence--which he certainly takes--to act as the aspiring middle-class Englishman at large in an uncivilized foreign land.
Harker plays the role of the superior colonialist from the moment he opens his narrative account of his business dealings with Dracula. As Stephen D. Arata has previously noted, Harker's sly castigation of the inaccuracy of the train timetable and his derogatory comments on the map-making skills of Transylvanian cartographers construct a dynamic in which Britain is perceived as intellectually and technologically advanced while the East is a land of anarchy and superstition (7-8; see also Arata 634-37). Harker's imperialist attitude continues while he is Dracula's guest, and leads him to contract a disease that he may well have been able to avoid. Dracula, conscious of the disease properties of his castle which are personified in the three female vampires, warns Harker against trespassing on certain areas, concluding that "we are in Transylvania; and Transylvania is not England" (32). Yet Harker displays an extraordinary disregard for Transylvanian custom and its domestic environments, believing himself imprisoned by the locked doors rather than protected by them. His panic at being so incarcerated leads him to abuse Dracula's trust and forcefully enter a suite of rooms in an older section of the castle. Here, Stoker develops his theme of imperial disturbance of ancient culture in association with the revival of ancestral infection:
This was evidently the portion of the castle occupied in bygone days.... [T]he windows were curtainless, and the yellow moonlight, flooded in through the diamond panes, enabled one to see even colours, whilst it softened the wealth of dust which lay over all and disguised in some measure the ravages of time. (51)
Harker turns his intrusion into a romance narrative in which he plays the hero; "I determined not to return tonight to the gloom-haunted rooms, but to sleep here, where of old ladies bad sat and sung and lived sweet lives whilst their gentle breasts were sad for their menfolk away in the midst of remorseless wars" (52). Harker recreates Transylvania imaginatively, according to his own cultural traditions, in this instance of the stories of chivalric romance that make up England's cultural heritage (see Prescott and Giorgio 489-90). As he undertakes this process of cultural colonization he fails to recognize one of the dangers of colonial intervention-the accumulated miasmatic dust of ancestral disease against which he has no natural immunity. "Unthinking of and uncaring for the dust" (52), Harker spends the night inhaling the foul atmosphere of the long-sealed room. Waking to find himself surrounded by three female vampires, who later appear as "the tiniest grains of dust" (62), Harker's first sight is of his "own footsteps marked where I had disturbed the long accumulation of dust" (53). The connection between the vampires and the dust makes certain the link between history and ancestral disease (disease that has remained dormant in a specific place over time until re-invigorated into action by external forces), now excited into action by Harker's violation of Transylvania's past.
Vampiric disease's long journey to the heart of the British empire begins, then, with Harker's cultural desecration of Transylvania coupled with his economic exploitation of Dracula. These imperialist transgressions abroad have consequences for both Harker and Britain's nation state. Harker falls victim to the vampire, having unearthed its ancestral roots in Dracula's castle, and aided its cause by preparing the ground for Dracula's journey to Britain. Britain, too, suffers from Harker's decision to opt for increased status in business-and society: Harker feels he will gain from Dracula's wealth and patronage. His professional offices enable Dracula to plan an efficient assault on Britain, spreading the disease of vampirism from the property that Harker has helped him purchase. Harker eventually recognizes this in a momentary epiphany while standing over Dracula's coffin: "This was the being I was helping to transfer to London, where, perhaps, for centuries to come he might, amongst a teeming millions, satiate his lust for blood, and create a new and ever-widening circle of semi-demons to batten on the helpless" (71). Harker's shock at his own culpability notwithstanding, his guilt-ridden outburst further reinforces the connection between disease and property that had been the basis for Stoker's social criticism in "The Invisible Giant." While in the earlier story he had focused his discussion of disease on the gap between the property-owning rich and the dispossessed poor, in Dracula it is the avariciousness of the middle-class imperialist that comes under scrutiny. Always represented as self-improvement and well-deserved success (although it is only ever the middle classes themselves in the form of Jonathan and Mina Harker whom the reader hears speak), Harker's middle-class appropriation of power and status is the vehicle by which Dracula spreads the disease of vampirism across Britain. Harker's own personal advancement is rooted in a dubious moral economy of superiority over the foreigner and his culture allied to exploitative trade in property. For the question that is never asked is, if Jonathan Harker so maligns Dracula's foreignness why is it that he continues to offer him the opportunity to import it to Britain? Who, indeed, in this economic and cultural transaction truly represents impurity borne of moral corruption and expressed in the novel as infectious disease? In the purchase and exchange of Carfax Abbey we witness Stoker's meditations on these questions, which ask us to revisit our understanding of the location of disease and immorality.
Jonathan Harker deals both with the purchase of Carfax Abbey and the mapping of the house and its grounds. What seems most significant about Carfax is its history. Harker tells Dracula that "the house is very large and of all periods back, I should say, to mediaeval times" (35). It is this aspect that pleases Dracula most: "I am glad that it is old and big. I myself am of an old family, and to live in a new house would kill me" (35). Dracula is also delighted that Carfax includes an ancient chapel: "I rejoice also that there is a chapel of old times. We Transylvanian nobles love not to think that our bones may be amongst the common dead" (35-36). Harker, however, has not had an opportunity to see the chapel. "I could not enter it," he says, "but I have taken with my Kodak views of it from various points" (35). This is significant for it highlights the limitations of Harker's observations of the English house, which, had he undertaken his duties properly, might have given him an indication of its diseased environment. When Carfax is eventually raided Harker immediately notes its similarity to Dracula's castle. His description of the house mirrors precisely his commentary on the ancient room in which he had met the three female vampires:
The whole place was thick with dust. The floor was seemingly inches deep, except where there were recent footsteps, in which on holding down my lamp I could see marks of hobnails where the dust was caked. The walls were fluffy and heavy with dust, and in the corners were masses of spiders" webs, whereon the dust had gathered till they looked like old tattered rags as the weight had torn them partly down. (323)
Only now is Harker able to observe the similar quality of the environments of Carfax and Dracula's castle, a parallel that is continued when he enters the chapel for the first time. The "faint, malodorous air" reminds Harker of finding Dracula in his earth box in the cellar of the castle, although here at Carfax "the long disuse had made the air stagnant and foul" and its enclosed space "intensified its loathsomeness" (323). It would be easy to view Carfax simply as infected by Dracula's presence but Stoker is methodical in not allowing such a straightforward connection to be made. Instead, he draws comparisons between Dracula's castle and Carfax in terms of the miasmatic atmosphere, the dust, and the age of the building. If Dracula's castle is a site of disease precisely because it is filled with ancient dust and foul air then so too is Carfax. Seeing Carfax as a place of ancient (and ancestral) infection is highly significant within the structure of disease causation that Stoker creates. It reveals that the predisposing causes of disease are to be found at home as well as abroad, and therefore articulates a potential for the spread of infection within those characters who reside in Britain. That it is in Carfax Abbey that Stoker particularly situates Britain's own infective potential shows us that of all the characters who are connected with Britain it is to Harker we must turn. After all, the exciting cause of disease, that which allows infection to become virulent, is the sale of Carfax to Dracula, and at the center of this transaction we find Jonathan Harker.
There is, therefore, an extraordinarily rich attenuation of symbol and metaphor illuminating Harker's position as the corrupting and exploitative middle-class imperialist central to the spread of infection. (11) Nowhere is this more apparent than in the often-analyzed scene of confrontation in Dracula's Piccadilly home. In the central action of this scene Harker slashes at Dracula with his Kukri knife, "making a wide gap whence a bundle of bank-notes and a stream of gold fell out" (394). Franco Moretti (90-98) reads this as an example of Dracula's position within monopoly capitalism while Judith Halberstam (Skin Shows 86-106) believes it symbolizes Dracula's hoarding of money. Yet as Harker slices the money from Dracula's coat he symbolically enacts the true nature of his relationship with the Count. Harker's perceived superiority over the foreign and his immoral exploitation of its wealth-previously repressed into the middle-class travel narrative with which he opened the novel-return in this scene transformed into a violent colonial confrontation where the British male, with "a fierce and sudden cut" (393) expropriates Transylvania's wealth without recourse to the "civilized" veneer of economic exchange (see Arata 636-37).
Harker's role in the novel is more complex even than Lucy's, particularly in the ways his character and actions symbolize different and conflicting theories of disease and their socio-political implications. Harker's middleclass aspirations for power (especially economic and social power) implicate him personally in the spread of disease from Transylvania to Britain. Yet this can also be regarded as a critique of anti-contagionist opposition to quarantine. Harker's unconscious participation in the infection of the nation suggests the necessity for greater medical and governmental control of foreign trade through those restrictive practices of disease control recommended by contagionists. Equally, however, the symbolic connections between sites of disease in Transylvania and Britain acknowledges anti-contagionist arguments that infection has its roots in the deprivation and decay at home rather than abroad. Furthermore, while Harker's aggressively bourgeois quest for status is seen as infecting and corrupting the state of the nation, it is also the middle classes (including Harker) that hold the power of prevention and renewal. Harker's knife cuts out the money earned from foreign trade but it also cuts off Dracula's head, thereby bringing to an end the spread of disease that he had begun.
It is Stoker's attempt to interrogate the diverse properties and influences of disease that marks out Dracula as the most significant fictional intervention in the nineteenth century's debates on contagionism, miasmatism and germ theory. Reading Dracula through Stoker's earlier story, "The Invisible Giant," illuminates the important medical contexts that inform the novel at every level. In fact, it is how Stoker imagines the onset and spread of disease in "The Invisible Giant" and how the story offers a rather complex picture of the social and political effects of disease theories that enables the reader to more clearly comprehend these theories and their impact on politics and society when they are opaquely and complexly imagined in Dracula. Moreover, the central impetus of "The Invisible Giant"-that opposing theories of disease can form the basis of a fascinating portrait of the impact of infection on both the individual and society-is maintained in Dracula. Indeed, resistance of "The Invisible Giant" to the domination of any single disease theory, and instead its investigation of the different social implications that various disease theories give rise to is matched in Dracula.
However, it is only in the novel that the fullest range of the effects of disease on the socio-economic and political positions of the individual, the group or community, and the nation are investigated. Recovering the specific medical contexts of Stoker's novel allows for a much clearer recognition of his indebtedness to contemporary medical theories than previous criticism has offered. Yet what is most striking is how a clearer understanding of the contexts of disease theories illuminates the novel's politically inflected epistemology of Victorian Britain. These contexts enable us to see Stoker as a mature novelist attempting to articulate contradictory political ideologies of disease of which he has only limited and non-specialist knowledge. That these theories are put to work upon the structures of individual, gendered, professional, and national relationships from a position of partial understanding actually lends them a certain verity; their reception in the social world of the novel is as contradictory, complex, and inconsistent as their reception in late Victorian Britain. Moreover, the novel does not reduce the impact of disease by allying it to any specific political position; its attempted examination of contagionism and miasmatism reveals the consequences of both liberal and conservative responses to the dangers of infection. Reconfiguring Dracula as a novel engaging with theories of disease highlights its political complexity, while at the same time reveals Stoker as a writer familiar with, but not acutely sensitive to, the different paradigms of disease and their cultural effects. Yet the novel does show Stoker as an astute and ambivalent critic of Victorian cultural politics who, in his various successful (and less successful) interrogations of disease, fruitfully reveals that it is not only a clinical or pathological category, nor can it be associated with any single political ideology, but that it powerfully and contradictorily acts upon, and within, an already multivalent and conflicted social and cultural world.
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(1) See, for example, Valente, Rance, Fleissner, and Riquelme.
(2) See Showalter, Pick, Spencer, Halberstam ("Technologies"), and Mighall.
(3) "The Invisible Giant" originally appeared in Brain Stoker's Under The Sunset in 1882. The collection is no longer commercially available in any edition. The most accessible and error-free version can be found digitally at http://www.geocities.com/psmcalduff/lgiant.txt. The page references in the text relate to this version.
(4) Hindle, Belford, Riquelme, and Hughes (Beyond Dracula) all hint at a connection between Dracula and "The Invisible Giant."
(5) See Hindle's edition of Dracula 333. Throughout the text all citations to Dracula are from this edition.
(6) For various scientific, social, and cultural assessments of the emergence of germ theory see Ackerknecht, Bynum, Pelling, Tomes, Waller, and Worboys.
(7) I follow Craft's use of the phrase "Crew of Light" as a useful shorthand for the group of vampire hunters that consists of Abraham Van Helsing, John Seward, Lord Godalming, Quincy Morris, Jonathan Harker and, on occasion, Mina Harker (Craft 109).
(8) Arata, Auerbach, Byron, Prescott & Giorgio, and Roth all argue that Lucy Westenra is most often assessed within the contexts of gender and sexuality.
(9) Lucy is described by Seward in this scene as speaking in "a soft, voluptuous voice, such as I had never heard from her lips" (208) when she calls for Arthur to kiss her. Seward's stressing of the voice which he has never before heard reinforces the point that Lucy's sexuality is altered by the onset of vampiric disease and is not the product of an already present sexuality.
(10) See Worboys 6-12, Lee and Fulford 1-23, and Maglen 66-68 as well as Nightingale, Public Health Care 567-68 and Smith, Common Nature 12.
(11) Craft, Rance, and Scandura have all noted the ambiguity of Jonathan Harker's position within the novel.
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|Publication:||Studies in the Novel|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2007|
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