Treating and tracking infection: doctors, disease, and the type-writer girl in Bram Stoker’s Dracula
While the eponymous vampire of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula has intrigued scholars through myriad interpretations of fin de siècle fears and anxieties, those who treat and manage the living infection that is vampirism are often ignored in favor of an exciting, terrifying monstrosity. Though the defeat of the vampire is only possible through the combination of a handful of middle-class professionals, none are as crucial to the process of gathering and disseminating information than Mina Harker. Mina, the only woman in the Crew of Light, mitigates the anxiety of the men surrounding her through the presence of her period-typical femininity, acting as the "heart" of the crew while disparaging the rise of the New Woman that threatened gender roles and expectations. However, her role is larger than that of a mere wife or woman; Mina works to mitigate anxieties through her growing collection of letters, articles, diary entries and more, information that proves vital to tracking and destroying the vampire. Through an examination of the rise of professionalism and the role of the Type-Writer Girl at the end of the nineteenth century, Mina Harker is exposed as the primary weapon against an undefined creature designed to provoke fear through familiar means of infection.
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