Do you think this is localized to the British experience, or is the story of Dracula one that likely resonated with people living in places like Paris, Berlin, Budapest, or other industrial centers?
This is the week that many of you have been stressing over: the week Dracula is due! I am hoping that social distancing and staying at home — for those of you who can — has provided plenty of opportunity to finish the novel by this point, and if it has not, you still have time. It is a pretty easy read overall, and — if I do say so — a rather gripping read to boot. I just wanted to make a few brief comments about the novel itself before you get to the posts for the week. There are really two major things I want you thinking about as you get to writing your paper. The first is: what is this novel saying about life in the last two decades of the nineteenth century? Do you think this is localized to the British experience, or is the story of Dracula one that likely resonated with people living in places like Paris, Berlin, Budapest, or other industrial centers? The West at this point of the nineteenth century is undergoing a massive upheaval of its culture and social structure, as we saw in part last week, and as Cole and Symes discuss in a bit more detail this week. Dracula’s appearance in the 1890s is in part because of how it resonated with the changing culture of the period. Consider why it is that this particular story was so gripping for many people. Secondly, I want you to consider what this new culture looks like. How is it different than what life was for the average European even fifty years before? As we go through the rest of the class, we are going to see Europe undergo a few different upheavals, over and over, in an increasingly small space of time. Someone living in 1945 likely had less in common with someone living in 1900 than someone living in 1900 had in common with a person alive in 1800. Keep an eye out when you are reading/writing for instances that show a break with the shared cultural past that existed prior to this period. One last thing to note: I have sent out an email giving each student a writing partner for the writing forum. This is a REQUIRED part of our course. You are required to exchange a draft of your paper with your partner, who is then required to read and comment on your paper. If your partner fails to send you a copy of their paper, or fails to get you your draft back in a timely manner, contact me immediately. Depending on how many students fail to follow the instructions, I may be able to place you with another student (and grant you a slight extension to the paper deadline), or if worst comes to worst I can give your paper an edit and get it back to you so you have something to work with for your final submission. If you are the partner who fails to complete any part of this group work, you will see a reduction in your final grade for the paper.
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