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The Critics’ Count: Revisions of Dracula and the Postcolonial Irish Gothic

  • Calvin W. Keogh (a1)

Abstract

This article revisits Irish criticism of the foundational period of postcolonial studies in view of its relevance to the topic of revisionism in contemporary postcolonial theory. Situating the status of Ireland and its literature in postcolonial studies, it suggests that the early distinction between academic “rereading” and creative “writing back” is a false one and that developments in Irish studies in the 1980s anticipate the more nuanced brands of contemporary postcolonialism. As a case in point, the article considers critical revisions of Irish Gothic fiction, which provided a context for various revisions conducted in the 1990s and early 2000s of the novel Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker (1847–1912). It focuses on the “metrocolonial” concept introduced by Joseph Valente, which offers a means not only of connecting these revisions but of specifying the postcolonial status of Ireland and of relating revisionism to the revolutionary and reconciliatory strands of contemporary postcolonial theory.

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Calvin W. Keogh attained a BA in English from University College, Dublin; an MA in English Language and Culture from Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam; and an advanced MA in Literary Studies from Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven. He is currently a PhD candidate in Comparative Gender Studies at the Central European University, Budapest.

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1 Howe, Stephen, Ireland and Empire: Colonial Legacies in Irish History and Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 4.

2 Cleary, Joe, “Irish Studies, Colonial Questions: Locating Ireland in the Colonial World,Outrageous Fortune: Capital and Culture in Modern Ireland (Dublin: Field Day Publications, 2006), 2021.

3 Cleary, Joe, “Postcolonial Writing in Ireland,The Cambridge History of Postcolonial Literature, Vol. I. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 539542.

4 Cleary, 2006, 22.

5 Howe, 5, author’s emphasis.

6 Hooper, Glenn and Graham, Colin, Irish and Postcolonial Writing (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), 10.

7 Cleary, 2012, 542.

8 McCaw, Neil, “Introduction: Exploding the Canons?Writing Irishness in Nineteenth-Century British Culture, ed. Neil McCaw (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), 6.

9 Ingelbien, Raphaël, “Irish Studies, the Postcolonial Paradigm and the Comparative Mandate,Affecting Irishness: Negotiating Cultural Identity within and beyond the Nation, eds. James P. Byrne et al (Bern: Peter Lang, 2009), 24.

10 Ashcroft, Bill, Griffiths, Gareth, and Tiffin, Helen, The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures, 2e (London and New York: Routledge, 2002), 2.

11 Ibid.

12 Ingelbien, 2009, 25.

13 Ibid., 29.

14 Quayson, Ato, Postcolonialism: Theory, Practice or Process? (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000), 77.

15 Huggan, Graham, “General Introduction,The Oxford Handbook of Postcolonial Studies, ed. Graham Huggan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 5, fn 1.

16 Deane, Seamus, “Heroic Styles: The Tradition of an Idea,Ireland’s Field Day: Field Day Theatre Company (London: Hutchinson Education, 1985), 58.

17 Ibid.

18 Cleary, 2006, 14.

19 Deane, Seamus, “Introduction,Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature, Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson, and Edward W. Said (Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, 1990), 6.

20 Ibid., 3.

21 Ibid., 14.

22 Huggan, 4.

23 Ibid., 12.

24 Ibid., 10.

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid., 12.

27 Ibid., 10.

28 Huggan’s brand of postcolonial historical revisionism should not be confused with Irish historical revisionism.

29 Ibid., 5, fn. 1.

30 Deane, 1990, 7.

31 Ibid.

32 Ibid., 10.

33 Ibid., 11.

34 McCormack, W. J., “Irish Gothic and After (1820–1945): Introduction,” Field Day Anthology 2: 837.

35 Killeen, Jarlath, “Irish Gothic: A Theoretical Introduction,” Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies 1 (October 2006).

36 Ibid.

37 Ibid.

38 Killeen, Jarleen, “Irish Gothic Revisited,” Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies 4 (June 2008).

39 Killeen, 2006.

40 Killeen, Jarlath, Gothic Ireland: Horror and the Irish Anglican Imagination in the Long Eighteenth Century (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2005), 17.

41 Huggan, 16.

42 Valente, Joseph, Dracula’s Crypt: Bram Stoker, Irishness, and the Question of Blood (Urbana and Chicago, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2002), 9.

43 Valente, Joseph, “Between Resistance and Complicity: Metro-Colonial Tactics in Joyce’s ‘Dubliners,’ ” Narrative: Michel de Certeau and Narrative Tactics 6.3 (October 1998): 325340.

44 Valente, Joseph, “Double Born: Bram Stoker and the Metrocolonial Gothic,MFS Modern Fiction Studies 46.3 (Fall 2000): 632; “The Colonial Conan Doyle: British Imperialism, Irish Nationalism and the Gothic (Review),” Victorian Studies 46.4 (Summer 2004): 694.

45 Huggan, 16.

46 Ibid., 15.

47 Killeen, 2005, 13.

48 McCormack, W. J., “Cashiering the Gothic Tradition,Dissolute Characters: Irish Literary History through Balzac, Sheridan, Le Fanu, Yeats and Bowen (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993), 3, 10.

49 McCormack, W. J., Burke to Beckett: Ascendancy, Tradition and Betrayal in Literary History (Cork: Cork University Press, 1994), 12, author’s emphasis.

50 Killeen, 2008.

51 Bram Stoker, Dracula [1897], eds. Nina Auerbach and David J. Skal (London: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997), 2.

52 Arata, Stephen D., “The Occidental Tourist: Dracula and the Anxiety of Reverse Colonisation,Victorian Studies (Summer 1990): 635.

53 Stoker, 2–3.

54 Ibid., 10.

55 Valente, 2002, 54.

56 Thomas Carlyle’s Reminiscences of My Irish Journey in 1849 (1882) characterizes Ireland in comparable terms.

57 Valente, 2002, 51.

58 Ingelbien, Raphaël, “Gothic Genealogies: Dracula, Bowen’s Court, and Anglo-Irish Psychology,English Literary History 70.4 (Winter 2003): 1089.

59 Valente, , 2002, 55.

60 Stoker, , 2122.

61 Ibid., 25.

62 Valente, , 2002, 6364.

63 Stoker, 29.

64 Eagleton, Terry, Heathcliff and the Great Hunger: Studies in Irish Culture (London: Verso, 1995), 215.

65 Gibbons, Luke, Gaelic Gothic: Race, Colonization, and Irish Culture (Galway: Arlen House, 2004), 78.

66 Ibid.

67 Seed, David, “The Narrative Method of Dracula,Nineteenth-Century Fiction 40.1 (1985): 68.

68 Valente, , 2002, 59.

69 Ibid., 61.

70 Ibid.

71 Stoker, , 264.

72 Cf. Mary Jean Corbett, Allegories of Union in Irish and English Writing, 1790–1870 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 84.

73 Lankester, E. Ray, Degeneration: A Chapter in Darwinism (London: Macmillan, 1880), 62.

74 Gibbons, , 78.

75 Stoker, , 5354.

76 Arata.

77 Gibbons, , 79.

78 Stewart, Bruce, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Possessed by the Spirit of the Nation?Irish University Review 29 (1999): 238255.

79 Qtd., Stewart, 247.

80 Valente, , 2002, 58.

81 Ingelbien, 2003, 1093.

82 Ibid.

83 Ibid.

84 Ibid., 1094.

85 Valente, , 2002, 3.

86 Ibid.

87 Ibid.

88 Ibid., 4.

89 Ibid.

90 Ibid., author’s emphasis.

91 Ibid., 55–59.

92 Ibid., 59.

93 Ibid., 3.

94 Ibid., 16.

95 Ibid., 8.

96 Huggan, , 1920.

97 Theo D’haen, “(Post)Modernity and Caribbean Discourse,” A History of Literature in the Caribbean, Vol. 3: Cross-Cultural Studies, A. James Arnold, ed. (Amsterdam and Philadelphia, Penn.: John Benjamins, 1997), 305.

98 Ibid.

99 Huggan, , 19.

100 Killeen, 2005, 15.

101 Ibid.

102 Ibid.

103 Ibid., 17.

104 Morash, Christopher, “The Time is Out of Joint (O Curséd Spite!): Towards a Definition of a Supernatural Narrative,That Other World, Bruce Stewart, ed. (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 2003), 138.

105 Cf. “Crew of Light.” Christopher Craft, “‘Kiss Me with Those Red Lips’: Gender and Inversion in Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” Representations 8, 1984, 130, fn. 7.

106 Wasson, Richard, “The Politics of Dracula,English Literature in Transition 47, 1979, 229237.

107 Killeen, , 2006.

108 Gikandi, Simon, Writing in Limbo: Modernism and Caribbean Culture (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University, 1992). Qtd. Theo D’haen, “Re-Presenting the Caribbean,” L’exil et l'allégorie dans le roman Anglophone contemporain, Michel Morel, ed. (Paris: Editions Messene, 1998), 103–15.

109 Hutcheon, Linda, “‘Circling the Downspout of Empire’: Post-Colonialism and Postmodernism,ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature 20.4 (1989): 151.

110 Valente, , 2002, 6.

111 Ibid., 21.

112 Stoker, , 106.

113 Hutcheon, , 171.

114 Ibid., 150.

115 Ibid., 171.

116 Valente, , 2002, 2.

117 Stoker, , 325.

118 Ibid.

119 Huggan, , 2021.

120 Ibid., 4.

121 Valente, , 2002, 1011.

122 Ibid., author’s emphasis.

123 Deane, , 1990, 3.

124 Huggan, , 17.

125 Ibid., 16.

126 Ibid., 20.

127 Ibid., author’s emphasis.

128 Valente, , 2002, 70.

129 Ibid., 19–20.

130 Field Day Anthology, 845–46.

131 Valente, , 2002, 56.

132 Stoker, , 54.

Calvin W. Keogh attained a BA in English from University College, Dublin; an MA in English Language and Culture from Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam; and an advanced MA in Literary Studies from Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven. He is currently a PhD candidate in Comparative Gender Studies at the Central European University, Budapest.

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  • EISSN: 2052-2622
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