Author(s): Dracula for Doctors: Medical Facts and Gothic Fantasies
by Fiona Subotsky (Author)
Exploring how medicine and psychiatry are portrayed in gothic literature, this engaging book illustrates how Stoker’s famous work was influenced by nineteenth-century attitudes to disease and medicine and reveals many previously unknown links. Extracts from many sensational stories of the time are presented, and the role of doctors and their appearance and contribution to gothic fiction is investigated. The book covers topics such as asylums, their purpose, practice and patients, deadly diseases echoing the symptoms of vampirism, and the otherworldly allure of the undead. Dracula for Doctors is an entertaining and informative examination of how Victorian medical knowledge and culture informed Stoker’s gothic masterpiece. This book suggests that Stoker, who had many medical connections, was able to link lurid stories of operations and asylums with fictional horror and suspense. Fans of gothic literature, as well as those of medical history and the supernatural, will find this an enjoyable read.
‘If, as Dr Subotsky tells us, it takes being bitten by a bat to produce a book of this depth, detail but also fun, then I recommend bat bites to all aspiring authors.’ Professor Sir Simon Wessely, Regius Chair of Psychiatry, King’s College London
‘Fiona Subotsky is uniquely placed to deliver a consistently refreshing, informative and insightful account of the medical contexts informing Bram Stoker’s vampire. Both a work of Gothic scholarship and a compelling medical history, this is exactly the kind of book the emergent field of Medical Humanities needs. Rigorous yet fun!’ Roger Luckhurst, University of London, editor of The Cambridge Companion to Dracula
‘But not just for doctors, and not just about Dracula! For students and enthusiasts of 19th-century gothic fiction, topics such as lunatic asylums, diagnosing disease, blood disorders, hypnotism, catalepsy, operations and medical experimentation, are explored not only in Stoker’s Dracula, but in the work of Le Fanu, Kipling, Wilkie Collins, Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, R.L. Stevenson and others. Dr Subotsky examines published contemporary medico-psychological source materials (and their resulting controversies), and applies them to our favourite vampire novel. Meticulously researched and referenced, this is an entertaining, thoroughly engrossing work of scholarship.’ Julia Kruk, Chair of the Dracula Society