Mechanics' Institute & The Irish Literary & Historical Society hosted a talk by visiting scholar Deaglán Ó Donghaile on the political subtext of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Bram Stoker was an Irishman & the well-connected theatrical manager of Henry Irving. In Mr. Ó Donghaile's reading, Stoker made subtle references to Ireland's status as an occupied country. Dracula resembles an Anglo-Irish landlord, running a surveillance state, devastating the land & literally feeding off his people. The vampire hunters are a secret society, bound by an oath & akin to the Fenian Brotherhood. Stoker even originally planned to kill Dracula by the classic terrorist method of dynamite. The novel's stabbing death of Dracula echoes the Phoenix Park Killings, an assassination of English political appointees in Dublin. Mr. Ó Donghaile admitted that Dracula is an "over-determined" text, which has been interpreted as being about anything from feminism to the spread of disease, but his observations were convincing, as was his thick Irish accent. Mr. Ó Donghaile also showed us a couple of entertaining political cartoons, including one from the 19th century depicting San Francisco landlords as vampire bats.
§ Bram Stoker's Dracula and Irelands Gothic History
A talk by Dr. Deaglán Ó Donghaile
Tuesday, September 02, 2014 - 6:00pm