Let's Look Back In History...

    Dracula by Bram Stoker was written in the 1890’s. The issues that were around at that time affected the style of the novel in which it was written. Also, some of the fashion, arts, music, and literary works influenced the contents of the novel, Dracula

    In Dracula, the fashion in the 1890’s affected how the characters dressed. London, the setting of the novel, men usually wore shirts, suits, hard collars, and ties. However, women who had jobs that were supposed to be occupied by men would sometimes wear this attire also. The change in dresses were an important issue at the time, dresses for women were usually more proper, non-showy, and not quite comfortable. This changed when artists Mariano Fortuny and Wiener Werkstaette grouped together a design for a dress called “Delphos dress”. “Delphos dress” was a dress that was more comfortable for the ladies, practical, and appealing. However, lawn frocks and sports clothing became a new fashion. In Dracula, one of the female main characters, Lucy Westenra was a sweet, pretty looking women who had a nice soft "colour" (skin tone) and she would usually wear lawn frocks and always wore make up and blush. Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, John Seward, and Arthur Holmwood all wore the men attire: suit, hard collar, tie, and shirt. Fashion in the 1890’s greatly impacted the characters appearances. 
    Photography and art became a new thing in the 1890’s. Photography was used then, and is still used today. However, what was new then was photo secession. “Secessionists”, people who did photo secession, tried to make their pictures look as close to the original painting as they possible could. One of the most popular and recognized artist and photographer for using photo secession and pictorialism was Alfred Stieglitz; pictorialism was used to describe poetic portraits, scenes, landscapes, and moods. On the other hand, music became just as popular. Song writing became a new industry in the 1890’s. This industry was mostly ran by well-known poets at the time and/or amateurs who ran chains of theatres. Also, the rich and genuine music began to change into something different; music began to be more bland mass and have a greater pop sound. Thus, music and art began to gain more respect. Dracula’s setting to overall appearance to simple things mentioned in a room were influenced by music and art. In Count Dracula’s dining area, it is described how a picture was placed overtop of the fireplace however, the same picture (but in painting form) was also in Dracula’s bedroom. 

    Literary works greatly influenced and affected the novel Dracula. In the 1890’s, most writings, short stories, novels, and so on were works that combined fatalism and fantasy into Victorian literature. One of the most well known and famous novels in the 1890’s was Jude the Obscure. Jude the Obscure was written in 1896 by Thomas Hardy; Hardy was one of the most respected and read novelists. He also combined fatalism, what we now call Realistic fiction, and fantasy into Victorian literature as well. The genres in the 1890’s affected the authentic style in which Dracula by Bram Stoker was written. However, Bram Stoker took Dracula into a more extreme genre and combined realistic fiction, fatalism, and horror and created a Gothic novel. The important issues then influenced the contents in the novel as well. One of the greatest issues in London then, was the openness of sexuality and marriage. The openness in sexuality and marriage caused an outrage of the people in London. However, in the novel Dracula, Bram Stoker created three female vampires who not only liked each other, but also seduced men in order to drink their blood. 
    The 1890-1900’s in London, impacted and influenced the way in which Dracula by Bram Stoker was written. The important issues then, the music, art, photography, and literary works played a great role in how the novel was thought up, written, and even how it presented itself. Bram Stoker was able to take issues and news that was happening around him and create a new genre, Gothic, and write a classic novel which is still read today.

Lucy Westenra would wear lawn frocks. Here is a picture shown of a very modern day lawn frock.


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