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Showing posts from April, 2018

Dracula Gender Tropes and Victorian Sexual Panic

Almost 2000 years ago, in AD 54, St. Paul wrote the First Epistle to the Corinthians, wherein it states (verse 11:8), “For neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” Taking this to heart, over the centuries, men took possession of their creations and liberated them from the burden of property and legal rights, in order to shelter the fairer sex from the quotidian mental toils of earthly existence.

By 1792, in Mary Wollstonecraft’s time, most women had conformed to this arrangement: Women are told from their infancy, and taught by the example of their mothers, that a little knowledge of human weakness, justly termed cunning, softness of temper, outward obedience, and a scrupulous attention to a puerile kind of propriety, will obtain for them the protection of man; and should they be beautiful, everything else is needless, for, at least, twenty years of their lives.

Minister William Jay, at a wedding in Argyle Chapel, Bath, on August 16, 1801, gave this lesso…

"You Must Come With Me, Loving Me, To Death"--Sexual and Gender Tropes in Carmilla

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From its inception, Gothic literature provided a vitrine for presentation of taboo subjects, especially forbidden love. Walpole’s Castle of Otranto, for example, tells of Manfred’s pursuit of an incestuous relationship with his ward. Carmilla, by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, written during the Victorian Era of adamantine sexual repression, features a steamy same-sex relationship, veiled as vampirism, between its narrator, Laura, archetype of the virtuous woman, and the alluring monster, Countess Karnstein, whose name cycles through anagrams from Mircalla to Carmilla. Even by today’s standards, the language is markedly erotic, but Le Fanu’s piquant prose surely shocked a significant share of the reading public.

Teenage Laura lives with her English father and several servants in an Austrian Schloss, a country estate. She is lonely, so lonely, in fact, we only learn her name at the end of Chapter 8 and, even then, she is not directly addressed. This is how Laura describes the isolation of the…

I am the winner of the realgm Miami Heat Guess How Mediocre We Are game.

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Correctly predicted (unfortunately) only 44 wins. Chalm proof: