Bram Stoker: Racial-Nationalist and Anti-Semite
by Karl Radl
ABRAHAM STOKER, better known as Bram Stoker, is one of most famous Anglophone novelists in history. He is best known for being the author of the quintessential Gothic novel: Dracula.
The interesting thing about Stoker is that while many people admire him as the populariser of the modern vampire novel, very few of these individuals know much about the man himself, let alone his views on various subjects.
It would almost certainly cause many self-proclaimed fans of Stoker’s literary work to recoil in horror if they knew that he was an unrepentant and strident racial-nationalist and imperialist.
To quote William Hughes:
In invoking the rhetoric of race, both novels release a set of powerful connotations of exclusion and differentiation. A series of oppositions are engaged — black against white becomes in The Snake’s Pass a conflict between the black, bilious blood of the Gombeen and the healthy bloodstock of Arthur, as testified through their colouring. (1)
Stoker’s use of racially-based parables in his novels and short stories is meant to inculcate a sense of racial pride in the British. Stoker saw himself as a ‘political conservative in a conservative country,’ (2) which necessarily places him as a racial-nationalist in the modern context as Stott has pointed out. (3)
His views on Africans for instance are openly exhibited in his literary work as Hughes explains:
In cultured terms, the negro as rapist is an opponent physically but not racially superior to his victim. His action is implicitly the violation of the superior race by the inferior, the human by the animal, the child by the adult, the mistress by the slave. (4)
Stoker’s beliefs concerning the antagonistic opposition between the races derives from his strong adherence to the view that race is both biological and the determining element in an individual’s behaviour and conduct. (5)
This led Stoker to hold what has been termed a ‘patrolling’ mentality; this emphasised the need to preserve the health of the nation by preventing and eliminating racial and sexual degeneracy among its racial stock. (6)
As with the racial views that infused his work; Stoker also used his literary efforts to propound his beliefs about the importance of eliminating degeneracy and extracting righteous vengeance when necessary.
To quote Hughes once again:
‘The blood which Hunter so pleasurably sheds is both a substitute for the aborted defloration — a sort of poetic justice — and an assertion of the male — of the white male — in the power of determining life and death. (7)
Stoker was concerned with the need to keep the ‘subject races’ (i.e. non-Whites) in line and in order to facilitate this he believed there was need for the English to return to their manly and ruthless ‘Viking-like’ roots. (8)
In addition to his political conservatism and strong racial views — which would obviously be called racist today — Stoker held strong views on the subject of the Jews.
For example, it is commonly believed that his Count Dracula was based on the infamous Vlad the Impaler, but in actuality all the character Dracula shares with Vlad is his name. (9)
In reality the Dracula character is derived from the character Svengali in George du Maurier’s 1895 novel Trilby (10). Svengali is — you guessed it — a vicious Jewish villain who seduces, dominates, and exploits a young English girl.
Dracula, like Svengali, is a ‘sinister foreign seducer’ (11) or, put more explicitly: a ‘sinister Jewish seducer’ (of English girls).
Indeed, Stoker shows his dislike of Jews in the Dracula novel itself when he describes Emanuel Hildesheim, one of Count Dracula’s principle mercantile agents in Romania (and the only one explicitly mentioned), as a comical-looking Jew who wears an Egyptian fez and has a nose like a sheep (i.e. emphasising his racial otherness and ugliness).
In the collection of follow-up stories that were published on the strength of the success of the novel Dracula, Stoker has a character in ‘Gipsy Prophecy’ refer to the Jews as pedlars of hokum to the ignorant and the gullible who claim they can predict the future from the stars, producing fake prophecies.
This is confirmed in his novel The Jewel of Seven Stars when Stoker references the impotence of kabbalistic Jewish magical carvings in warding off the supernatural.
While in the short story ‘Crooken Sands’ — which has been labelled anti-Semitic (12) — Stoker makes great play out of a character named Emanuel Moses Marx. Marx pretends to be Scottish when he is fact Jewish and cons the main (English) character into buying several sets of tartan garments. Marx profits handsomely from conning the Englishman with his lies and exorbitant prices.
The moral of the story that Stoker is trying to get across — confirming Stott’s ‘patrolling mentality’ framework — is that one is a fool to trust racial outsiders (i.e. Jews) because they will always act in their best interest and not yours. This Stoker compares negatively to the conduct of the true Englishman who is an Arthurian-type character (upright, honest, and hard-working) and is in opposition to the Svengalian type character (conniving, dishonest, and exploitative) of the Jew.
As Hughes describes it, in reference to the money-lender, which is another common jewish archetype:
The moneylender in Stoker’s fiction is more characteristically portrayed through the unscrupulous and negative figure of the Jew, a point at which race conventionally intersects with ‘unacceptable’ fiscal behaviour. The Jew is typically structured as an imposter within the community, his superficial veneer of Christian gentility beguiling the unwary into financial ruin, as the narrator of The Man suggests: ‘Mr. Cavendish, whose real name was Shadrach, looked so virtuous and benignant that an inexperienced person would have really thought he was conferring a favour.’ (13)
Thus we can see that the Jew in Stoker’s literary output is a devious and dangerous racial alien who uses his ‘superficial veneer of Christian gentility’ to manipulate and seduce those around him. He is a creature of evil that is bent on deflowering the industrious innocence of the English: hence Stoker’s prescient call to arms to the English to stand up and reclaim their former racial vitality before it is too late.
(1) William Hughes, 2000, Beyond Dracula: Bram Stoker’s Fiction and its Cultural Context, 1st Edition, Palgrave: Basingstoke, p. 69
(2) Andrew Maunder, 2006, Bram Stoker, 1st Edition, Northcote: Tavistock, p. 31
(3) Cf. Rebecca Stott, 1992, The Fabrication of the Late Victorian Femme Fatale, 1st Edition, MacMillan: London
(4) Hughes, Op. Cit., p. 111
(5) Ibid, p. 140
(6) Cf. Stott, Op. Cit.
(7) Hughes, Op. Cit., p. 112
(8) Maunder, Op. Cit., pp. 83-84
(9) Barbara Belford, 1996, Bram Stoker: A Biography of the Author of Dracula, 1st Edition, Alfred Knopf: New York, pp. 259-260
(10) Ibid, p. 228
(12) Hughes, Op. Cit., p. 22; interestingly Stoker isn’t mentioned at all in Montagu Frank Modder, 1960, , The Jew in the Literature of England: To the End of the 19th Century, 1st Edition, Jewish Publication Society of America: Philadelphia
(13) Hughes, Op. Cit., p. 63; also see p. 68