Dracula and Darwin" session from the FEAR course

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Transcript Dracula and Darwin" session from the FEAR course

Fear
Dracula and Darwin
Agenda
• The Omnipresence of Dracula
• Fear and phobia
• Fear in / and Dracula (Aristotle, Freud,
Marx)
• Literary Darwinism
Dracula is Everywhere!
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Fiction
Cartoons
Film
The Internet
Video and computer games
Fear and phobia
• “The emotion of pain or uneasiness
caused by the sense of impending danger,
or by the prospect of some possible evil.”
(OED)
• ”A fear, horror, strong dislike, or aversion;
esp. an extreme or irrational fear or dread
aroused by a particular object or
circumstance.” (OED)
Fear in / and Dracula
What produces fear in Dracula?
What kind of fear is produced by Dracula?
– Tragic: Pity and terror (Aristotle).
– Gothic: The Uncanny (Freud).
– The fear of liberal humanism: Capital (Marx)
– Evolutionary: natural and sexual selection
(Darwin)
The fear of tragedy: Pity and terror.
• Tragic hero; tragic flaw.
• Hamlet: hesitation
• Macbeth: ambition
Gothic fear:The Uncanny
• Das Unheimliche
– Heimlich: a) homely, known; b) secret, hidden.
– Unheimlich: unhomely, yet strangely familiar
• Dracula = the uncanny: he (unconsciously)
reminds us of our own Id.
• The hunt for Dracula = (unconsciously)
reminds us of our own Id, our repressed
oedipal desires.
The fear of liberal humanism:
Capital
• Liberal humanism: freedom, liberty, and
equality
– Money must have a moral end: amelioration,
improving, making better, the human
condition.
• Monopolistic capitalism
– The accumulation of capital is an end in itself
• Dracula as an image of capitalism
Evolutionary fear: Darwin, On the Origin of
Species by Means of Natural Selection (1858)
• Natural selection, or how to survive:
– The bodies and minds of organisms are the
result of evolved adaptations designed to help
the organism survive in a particular
environment
– Organs, skin, bones
– The senses
– The emotions: fear
Evolutionary fear: Darwin, The Descent of Man
and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871)
• Sexual selection, or how to secure a mate:
– Organisms (male / female) can evolve traits
designed to secure a mate (female / male)
through attraction or competition
– The peacock’s tail
– Antlers
– Beauty
– Courtship (dating) rituals and conventions
Attraction and Sexual Selection
Competition and Sexual Selection
Beauty and Sexual Selection
Courtship and Sexual Selection
Courtship and Sexual Selection
A receipt for courtship (1805)
A receipt for courtship (1805)
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Two or three dears, and two or three sweets;
Two or three balls, and two or three treats;
Two or three serenades, given as a lure;
Two or three oaths how much they endure;
Two or three messages sent in a day;
Two or three times led out from the play;
Two or three soft speeches made by the way;
Two or three tickets for two or three times;
Two or three love letters writ all in rhymes;
Two or three months keeping strict to these rules,
Can never fail making a couple of fools.
Literary Darwinism
• “One thing literature offers is data. Fast,
inexhaustible, cross-cultural and cheap.”
(Jonathan Gotschall).
• Literature is data that helps elucidating
human nature
Literary Darwinism
• General aim:
• To demonstrate that human behaviour is the
result of innate rather than culturally specific
patterns
• To identify the universals of life: child bearing
and rearing, love, efforts to acquire resources
(money, property, influence) and competition and
cooperation within families, groups, and
communities.
First focus: Characters and action as
referencing universal patterns of behaviour
• Pride and Prejudice
• 2nd generation: Women compete to marry high-status
men. Men compete to marry the most attractive women):
• Darcy
• Elizabeth
• Wickham
• Lydia
• 1st generation: By marrying off their daughters to the
right males, parents secure that their genetic material is
passed on in the most effective way.
• Mrs Bennett
• Mr Bennett
First focus: Characters and action as
referencing universal patterns of behaviour
• Hamlet
• Hamlet’s dilemma is personal and political
and biological and genetic: Either Hamlet
rises to power by killing his uncle, i.e. his
mother’s new husband or he lets his uncle
live, paving the way for a batch of halfbrothers and – sisters with whom he has
genes in common.
First focus: Characters and action as
referencing universal patterns of behaviour
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But what about:
The narrator? (irony)
The genre? (the novel, drama)
The medium? (writing, the stage)
Modes and periods?
Second focus: What is the point, purpose, and end
of literature? Why do human beings read and write
fiction?
• Literature instructs us (Horace: To teach and
delight):
– It teaches us about space, time, and patterns of
cause and effect, making us more adaptive and more
capable of passing on our genes.
– Literature is designed to help us cope with life’s
complexity: enhances our interpretative competences.
– Literature is a kind of fitness training: by imagining
situations you stand a better chance of succeeding
when they occur in real life.
– Strong narrative bias: what about, for instance, lyric
poetry? What about rhyme? Metre?
Second focus: What is the point, purpose, and end
of literature? Why do human beings read and write
fiction?
– Literature is a sex display designed to waste
the competition (antlers)
– Rarely handed down, though!
Second focus: What is the point, purpose, and end
of literature? Why do human beings read and write
fiction?
• Literature is a sign of abundant resources
(material, physical, psychological)
• By its utter uselessness, literature is a sign
of the fact that the reader or writer has
resources to spare (the peacock’s tail)
• Rarely handed down, though!
Second focus: What is the point, purpose, and end
of literature? Why do human beings read and write
fiction?
• Literature is a community builder
– Literature integrates humans into a single
culture. Cultural and social cohesion produces
survival advantages.
– But are cultural communities really unifying in
this way? Today?
Second focus: What is the point, purpose, and end
of literature? Why do human beings read and write
fiction?
• Literature is a kind of magic, religion, or
wish fulfilment.
– We like to tell and listen to stories of success
in order to ensure success in the future.
– But this seems a bit like sublimation?
Dracula and the issue of natural
selection
• Dracula does not concern natural
selection, or the evolutionary struggle to
survive through adaption
• Humans and vampires do not compete
over the limited resources
• Host – parasite, prey - predator
Dracula and the issue of sexual
selection
• Jonathan Harker and the three female
vampires (51-52)
Dracula and the issue of sexual
selection
• Lucy Westenra and her three male suitors
(Quincy Morris, Dr Seward, Arthur
Holmwood) pp. 73-77
Dracula and the issue of sexual
selection
• Lucy’s sleepwalking (p. 108)
Dracula and the issue of sexual
selection
• Mina satirising New Woman as sexual
selector (111)
Dracula and the issue of sexual
selection
• Vampire Lucy’s preference for Arthur (25354)
Dracula and the issue of sexual
selection
• Mina’s refusal of Dracula:
– Seward’s point of view (336)
– Mina’s point of view (343)
Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula
and the issue of sexual selection
• The Dracula and Mina scene