The focus of this thesis is a reading of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It investigates the experience of horror and the link between horror and desire that can be found in the text. The reading centres on the vampire figure and the vampire’s metaphorical function. Themes like insomnia, undeath, blood, devouring and writing are examined.
The reading of Dracula draws on a theoretical framework. In the discussion of horror, Julia Kristeva’s and Emmanuel Levinas’ phenomenological surveys of subjectivity become central. For both Kristeva and Levinas, horror signals a disturbance or crisis in subjectivity. While Levinas associates horror with the anonymity of being, Kristeva is interested in the return of maternal, abject and unrepresentable elements that haunt the edges of a certain symbolic space. Both perspectives are used in the exploration of the vampire figure and open a field where horror and desire seem linked to literary inspiration. It is this field the reading attempts to approach through the vampire metaphor.