Abstract

Bram Stoker's seminal horror novel Dracula (1897) has been subjected to a vast number of different critical readings, many of which are deeply flawed, e.g. by proceeding from defunct psychological theories. Incorporating recent advances in evolutionary social science, I offer a biocultural reading of Dracula to account for the novel's impact and resilience. Dracula connected squarely with late-Victorian anxieties, but the novel also appeals to trans-historical adaptive dispositions. I analyze Stoker's use of narrative strategies to grab and sustain attention, and Count Dracula as a supercharged predator, a counterintuitive monster well-designed to engage attention and spark the imagination.

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