337 Cohen Hall
Christopher Hamlin, University of Notre Dame
"Dracula, Malaria, Cachexia: Rethinking the security of the self, c. 1900"
Abstract: In this presentation I will explore Bram Stoker’s famous novel, Dracula, in terms of an under-recognized theme of late-19th century malariology, concern with malarial cachexia, a gradual somatic, psychic, and social decline associated with repeated reinfection, and used as a way of characterizing malarious regions and peoples. While I will not suggest that Dracula is a malarial allegory -- despite the deadly blood-sucking fiends that both cases have in common-- I will suggest that we gain important insights from reading Dracula in terms of the contemporary culture of malaria, and that we learn much about that culture from Stoker's fantasy of Transylvanian transgressions on English bodies and souls. I will explore five features of the novel in terms of malaria: xenophobia and race; vulnerability and identity; diagnosis; delusion and paranoia; and ritual and redemption.