Dracula as Social Fusion

In periods of cultural insecurity, when there are fears of regression and degeneration, the longing for strict border controls around the definition of gender, as well as race, class, and nationality, becomes especially intense. If the different races can be kept in their places, if the various classes can be held in their proper districts of the city, and if men and women can be fixed in their separate spheres, many hope, apocalypse can be prevented and we can preserve a comforting sense of identity and permanence in the face of that relentless specter of millennial change. (Showalter 4)

In the first chapter of her book Sexual Anarachy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siècle, Elaine Showalter outlines the social circumstances in the western world as the year 1900 approached. She asserts that the fin-de-siècle mentality, a so-called "endism," aggravated battles of race and class, leading to ferocious backlash by proponents of the status quo. Fearing that the coming end of the century signified the last step in a gradual process of de-civilization which blurred demarcations between social castes, these people clamored for a "return" to a more ordered society. Gender roles were to be firmly established,...

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