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Transylvanian Transfusion: Anxieties of Medical Progress - Violations of Persons, Life, Death and Identity in Bram Stoker’s Dracula

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This thesis focuses on Bram Stoker’s 1897 British novel 'Dracula' and its association of medical technology with a myriad of Victorian British societal anxieties, facilitating an examination of current and historical fears about medical intervention and medical innovation. Dracula’s parallel

This thesis focuses on Bram Stoker’s 1897 British novel 'Dracula' and its association of medical technology with a myriad of Victorian British societal anxieties, facilitating an examination of current and historical fears about medical intervention and medical innovation. Dracula’s parallel yet opposite portrayals of blood transfusion and vampirism allow fears of medical technology to be exaggerated and explored within the realm of the supernatural. In Dracula and today, the desire to restore the health of ourselves and our loved ones is accompanied by fears that medical treatment will cause harm; will reshape our conceptualization of death and thus our relationship with death; and, as new technologies with unestablished consequences are employed, that medical intervention may in fact erode our basic identity and humanity.

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2021-05

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On the Brink: Scenes of Precarity in late Victorian Literature

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Late Victorian fiction presents scenes of near-death experience that places characters within the literature in a state of precarity. The precarious existence manifests itself as a perpetual near-death experience that makes visible the necropolitical power dynamic and the “death-in-life” condition.

Late Victorian fiction presents scenes of near-death experience that places characters within the literature in a state of precarity. The precarious existence manifests itself as a perpetual near-death experience that makes visible the necropolitical power dynamic and the “death-in-life” condition. Key moments in H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau and Bram Stoker’s Dracula provide evidence for the precarity under which people live in late Victorian literature. Both novels uniquely feature a process of becoming-object, Moreau’s humanization process and Dracula’s vampirization process, that places the victims in a state of precarity and death-in-life. Previous scholars have examined these processes as a means of establishing precarity and as a near-death experience, yet none have contextualized these scenes of precarity within Achille Mbembe’s theory of necropolitics. In an extended reading of both novels, this essay shows how Victorians function as administrators of necropolitics, victimizing non-Victorians to processes of becoming-object, and pushing these victim-objects to the brink of death, where they continue to live in a state of death-in-life. This essay focuses on these two novels because of their genre differences and their geographical differences, which further demonstrates the Victorian attentiveness towards scenes of precarity involving the marginalized and the “Oriental.” Despite scenes of precarity involving select Victorians, both novels inevitably reinforce the necropolitical Victorian hegemony. In the face of over a century of British colonialism, the threat of the colonized breaking the necropolitical hegemony of the Victorian empire is hyper-present in both late Victorian science fiction and gothic fiction, suggesting this anxiety of having precarity established over their own lives by the former oppressed was shared by the majority of the Victorian Empire.

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2021-05

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(Re)memories of Slavery: An Examination of the Traumatic Past,Present, and Future Depicted in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

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The application of Toni Morrison’s Beloved as a lens through which one can analyze intergenerational trauma on an individual and communal level results in a blueprint towards a remedial process. The characters and their experiences in her novel are representative

The application of Toni Morrison’s Beloved as a lens through which one can analyze intergenerational trauma on an individual and communal level results in a blueprint towards a remedial process. The characters and their experiences in her novel are representative of a myriad of ways in which trauma is manifested. I have broken down the concept of intergenerational trauma into the idea that it can be seen as the state where one is both simultaneously “falling” and “fallen” at the same time. Used here, the term “falling” refers to the consistent, individual trauma that one is experiencing. On the other hand, the term “fallen” refers to the trauma that a community as a whole has experienced and internalized. This framework that I establish based off of Beloved is a launching point for the conversation surrounding the topic of remedial actions in relation to intergenerational trauma that resulted from slavery. Using it as a basis of knowledge allows one to truly gather the weight of the situation regarding trauma postbellum. Considering the current climate surrounding any meaningful dialogue, knowledge is one of the most important aspects. Along with the concepts of “falling”/”fallen,” I also coined the term productive memory, which refers to the act of confrontation as well as the remembering of intergenerational trauma. The use of productive memory is imperative in addressing the prior ideas presented regarding intergenerational trauma and the possible pathways to move forward.

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2021-05