The (Im)proper New Woman of Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Keywords:Dracula, New Woman, Angel in the House, Fallen Woman, femme fatale
This article analyses the ways in which the New Woman Movement of the 1890s is reflected in Bram Stoker’s construction of his female characters in Dracula. It shows that the image of the New Woman is modified and redefined through already existing female tropes, including the Angel in the House, the Fallen Woman and the femme fatale. Thus, it is argued, two versions of the New Woman emerge: an acceptable, “proper”, New Woman as an educated and competent worker, but also a submissive wifely or motherly figure, whose character traits correspond to conservative Victorian notions of female propriety. The other, unacceptable, variant is a sexual New Woman whose interests and aspirations are trivial, indulgenceseeking and, most importantly, whose critique of the Victorian double standard is dismissed and ultimately punished.
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