Spiritualism and the Demonic

Dracula has a spiritually sinister tone through the book, as evident through Dracula’s demon-like nature as a supernatural predator of humans. Despite the novel’s dark nature, it simultaneously holds a spiritual certainty that manages to stay alive throughout the entire plot– characters look to the crucifix as a powerful weapon against vampires, acknowledging the church as a form of protection. Even more so though, this spiritual certainty extends to the confidence of evil in this same spiritual realm: an evil that surpasses earthly understanding and existence.

This motif of the spiritual realm is present within Brown’s reading, as he points to the close intertwinement of the Irish language and religious significance. Not only did the Church of Ireland utilize the Irish language for conversion, but writers of the Literary Rival were also suggested to have sacred purpose and endowment. The nation’s era of cultural nationalism was therefore a time of close intertwinement between literature and the supernatural.

This same interconnection exists within Dracula‘s own narration style: as its characters are the authors, they are able to attest to the existence of spiritual forces in the world. Yet, these writers are confident in their documentation of their encounters and undoubtedly speak of the existence of hell-like creatures on earth. In doing so, a reader is led to ponder upon his or her own beliefs on this topic.

Dracula is called the Anti-Christ in the novel, and one is inclined to feel the terror (yet also a compelling interest) towards this concept. As both the characters and readers are both fearful and curious over vampires’ existence, the novel alludes to the spiritual curiosity and enthrallment that was so prevalent in Ireland’s era of cultural nationalism. It is this same interest in the spirituality that contributed in defining Ireland’s culture and its language that held so much influence.

Perhaps my favorite quote from Brown’s article is: “So in Irish cultural nationalism we see an illogical blend of radical fervour and occult yearnings, mingled with an evangelical certainty and excitement” (519). I think that Dracula compels its readers, even to this day, into this exact conflict of feelings. For me at least, it truly is a very fascinating place to be.

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