Home > Uncategorized > Unfrozen Caveman Author: Tonight’s Episode … Vampire in the Belly

Unfrozen Caveman Author: Tonight’s Episode … Vampire in the Belly

What if Bram Stoker is the equivalent of Phil Hartmann’s Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer character.  http://urlzen.com/wkm  He’s just this guy, right.  This guy who happens to be alive at the time of almost tectonic shifts in the way the world looked and worked.  Everything was in flux.  Let’s cherry-pick shall we?
>Married women had been granted the right to vote in England in 1894.  In fact , the two decades spanning the turn of the century saw women’s suffrage explode throughout the British Empire.
>Austria-Hungary, including the Count’s beloved Transylvania, was a loosely stitched-together amalgam of tribes and nationalitoes, ruled by the German aristocracy with the consent of Hungary’s Magyar ruling class.   Similarly, the whole of the Western World was bound up in a web of alliances, treaties and backroom deals that all but guaranteed any regional conflict would bloom into full-blown war across the entire European continent.
>Technological advances on par with those that marked the late ’90s and early ’00s in this century were blurring the lines between personal and business communication.  Anyone with an opinion and a couple hundred dollars could start a newspaper and through the use of telegraphy, a vigorous mail system and a rail network that ran like clockwork and report news from places that had been days away from a printing press only 20 years before.
>Resource-rich America was an emergent power on the world economic and political stages.
In short, the Victorian Age was all about trying to retain a grasp on a too-quickly shifting World Order.  Any thinking, semi-well-read white man in the world *should* have been able to look around the world to see that his supremacy as the Prime Mover was being challenged from every side.  Women.  Technology.  Social Class.  Wealth.  Power.  All these props of the Victorian Man were being nibbled away at.
And so with all that angst that he and his fellow Men must have had bottled up inside, Bram Stoker sat down and wrote a scary-ass story.
>Aristocrats fleeing their beloved, impoverished homelands for juicier pickings abroad!
>Women torn between a society that wants them docile and an outside world that obviously needs their help!
>The insane being treated as human beings!
>Domineering Germans dictating the course of events at every turn with no explanation!
>New-fangled technology that moves information at the speed of electricity no longer afforded the calming gift of time between missives to let passions simmer down and news to play out!
>Lord Godalming’s fading genteel aristocracy overpowered by the rootin’ tootin’ manifest destiny of Quincey Morris’ America!
That is some crazy, boundary-messin’-with, masculinity-threatening stuff to cram in a book.
To me the question is whether or not Stoker wrote all this and more into the book.  In fact, no author can claim to write in a vacuum, totally removed from his times.  I believe he was just writing a good, pulpy story that would sell enough copies to make him just a bit famouser than his boss, actor Sir Henry Irving. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Irving.
"Readers of InfiniteZombies ... I'm just a simple Unfrozen Caveman.  I am afraid of your 'literary critiques' and 'half-baked theories.'"

"Readers of InfiniteZombies ... I'm just a simple Unfrozen Caveman. I am afraid of your 'literary critiques' and 'half-baked theories.'"

What if Bram Stoker is the equivalent of Phil Hartman’s Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer character on Saturday Night Live.    He’s just this guy, right.  This guy who happens to be alive at the time of almost tectonic shifts in the way the world looked and worked.  Everything was in flux.

Let’s cherry-pick shall we?

  • Married women had been granted the right to vote in England in 1894.  In fact , the two decades spanning the turn of the century saw women’s suffrage explode throughout the British Empire.
  • Austria-Hungary, including the Count’s beloved Transylvania, was a loosely stitched-together amalgam of tribes and nationalitoes, ruled by the German aristocracy with the consent of Hungary’s Magyar ruling class.   Similarly, the whole of the Western World was bound up in a web of alliances, treaties and backroom deals that all but guaranteed any regional conflict would bloom into full-blown war across the entire European continent.
  • Technological advances on par with those that marked the late ’90s and early ’00s in this century were blurring the lines between personal and business communication.  Anyone with an opinion and a couple hundred dollars could start a newspaper and through the use of telegraphy, a vigorous mail system and a rail network that ran like clockwork and report news from places that had been days away from a printing press only 20 years before.
  • Resource-rich America was an emergent power on the world economic and political stages.

In short, might the Victorian Age have been  all about trying to retain a grasp on a too-quickly shifting World Order?  Any thinking, semi-well-read white man in the world *should* have been able to look around the world to see that his supremacy as the Prime Mover was being challenged from every side.  Women.  Technology.  Social Class.  Wealth.  Power.  All these props of the Victorian Man were being nibbled away at.

And so with all that angst that he and his fellow Men must have had bottled up inside, Bram Stoker sat down and wrote a scary-ass story.

  • Aristocrats fleeing their beloved, impoverished homelands for juicier pickings abroad!
  • Women torn between a society that wants them docile and an outside world that obviously needs their help!  Oh and S-E-X too.
  • The insane being treated as human beings!
  • Domineering Germans dictating the course of events at every turn with no explanation!
  • New-fangled technology that moves information at the speed of electricity no longer afforded the calming gift of time between missives to let passions simmer down and news to play out!
  • Lord Godalming’s fading genteel aristocracy overpowered by the rootin’ tootin’ manifest destiny of Quincey Morris’ America!

That, my fellow Zombies, is some crazy, boundary-messin’-with, masculinity-threatening stuff to cram in a book. To me the question is whether or not Stoker wrote all this and more into the book.

In fact, no author can claim to write in a vacuum, totally removed from his times.  I believe Stoker was just writing a good, pulpy story that would sell enough copies to make him just a bit famouser than his boss, actor Sir Henry Irving.

So.  Was Stoker an incisive teller of parables, speaking truth to power about the threats the British Empire (and all of male-dom) was facing?  Or, as I would propose, a simple Unfrozen Caveman Author, confused by all these modern “ideas” and “changes.”
Your move.
  1. Joan
    October 26, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Yep, I’m going with him just writing a fun, pulpy, thriller. It’s a page turner, no doubt, and has a bit of something for all. Given our three posts in a row here I think we’re coming to very similar conclusions. I want, like Daryl, to have it be about deeper themes, and I think Stoker might have been trying to get that in there. But it just doesn’t completely work for me. Other writers of the time were doing it much more elegantly. I think it’s too heavy handed. Bottom line for me as I move to the end of the novel – a good genre thriller that has become an iconic and beloved part of our culture.

  1. October 26, 2009 at 9:52 pm
  2. September 3, 2014 at 10:54 pm
  3. September 3, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: