The Threat of Otherness in Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Trans— No 10 (2010)
Hand in hand with scientific research on sexuality for modern culture, gothic fiction became immensely popular in the Victorian era, serving as a displaced field of any kind of sexuality that crossed the barriers or ‘normality’. In order to define normality and anomalies, the prevailing sentiment and public beliefs are determinant. Springing from Puritanism, anything apart from heterosexual monogamy was liable to cause suspicion and was regarded as a sexual dysfunction. The paraphilias gathered by Richard von Krafft-Ebing in his famous collection of pathological case histories, Psychopatia Sexualis (1886) illustrate the social consensus on sexual normativity very well, where sexual maladjustment could result in imprisonment. More than a century later we can observe a loosening tendency compared to Victorian judgments on deviations, but I restrict my research on the last decades of the nineteenth century, and focus on anomalies which were considered some forms of deviance at the time.