This article proposes a new account of sexuality and narrative in Bram Stoker's Dracula. It suggests that the two plot strands of the novel—the petit bourgeois narrative of Jonathan and Mina's courtship and the gothic story of Jonathan's imprisonment by Count Dracula—are two different ways of telling the same story, namely that of the marriage-plot. The article suggests that the novel's vampire plot is an expression of the dark underside of its romantic plot. Seeing Jonathan's erotically charged incarceration by Dracula, a wealthy and gallant social superior, as a way of imagining the predicament of the well-married wife has implications for the much-debated question of the novel's relationship to homosexuality and to the “closet.” The argument reverses the more common view of postcolonial and queer theorists concerning orientalism and perversion in Stoker's novel by suggesting that what Dracula views as exotic is the domestic, the home, sexuality, and marriage. Dracula, this is to say, is not about heterosexual marriage threatened or perverted but about its successful fulfillment. If Dracula is written from the perspective of a closeted gay man, as much scholarship contends, this article therefore suggests that the gay closet, far from being a site of pure terror and deception, can provide a privileged outsider's vantage point on heterosexual life. In the closet, erotic desire is always at odds with social institutions; Dracula can be read in part as a horrified imagining of what full participation in institutionalized sexuality would be like.
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Barry McCrea; Heterosexual Horror: Dracula, the Closet, and the Marriage-Plot. Novel 1 August 2010; 43 (2): 251–270. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00295132-2010-003
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