Study Guide

Dracula Technology and Modernization

By Bram Stoker

Technology and Modernization

Chapter 1
Count Dracula

It seems to me that the further East you go the more unpunctual are the trains. What ought they to be in China? (1.5)

Throughout the novel, Bram Stoker is obsessed with train travel and other "modern" inventions for transportation and communication. So it's important to notice that in this first mention of train travel, it's to compare the "East" unfavorably with the "West."

Chapter 3

It is nineteenth century up-to-date with a vengeance. And yet, unless my senses deceive me, the old centuries had, and have, powers of their own which mere "modernity" cannot kill. (3.24)

While trapped in Dracula's castle, Harker comforts himself with his super-modern shorthand diary. But he also realizes that history has a certain power that all his modern technologies can't cope with.

Chapter 5
Dr. John Seward

Dr Seward's Diary (Kept in phonograph) (5.16)

Dr. Seward keeps his diary in a phonograph, which is an early recording device. All he has to do is speak into it and his words are recorded. Mina offers to type out the recorded entries later, which is (supposedly) how they came to be included in the collection of documents that form the novel. Check out "Best of the Web" to see a picture of a phonograph from the 1890s.

Chapter 10
Dr. Abraham Van Helsing

My friend John and I have consulted; and we are about to perform what we call a transfusion of blood—to transfer from full veins of one to the empty veins which pine for him. (10.19)

Blood transfusions were a relatively new procedure in 1897, and believe us, they weren't pleasant operations. The needles doctors used were huge!

Then with swiftness, but with absolute method, Van Helsing performed the operation. (10.28)

Van Helsing is the epitome of a good scientist—he does everything efficiently, yet precisely.

Chapter 11
Dr. Abraham Van Helsing

Telegram, Van Helsing, Antwerp, to Seward, Carfax (Sent to Carfax, Sussex, as no county given; delivered late by twenty-two hours) (11.56)

Sometimes technologies can fail. Your computer can crash the night before an essay is due, or a telegram can go to the wrong address, resulting in the girl you love being bitten by a vampire.

Chapter 14
Dr. John Seward

"Good God, Professor!" I said, starting up. "Do you mean to tell me that Lucy was bitten by such a bat; and that such a thing is here in London in the nineteenth century?" (14.76)

It's funny that Jack Seward has no trouble believing that a vampire bat could exist—he just has trouble thinking that it could exist in his ultra-modern, super-civilized, 19th-century London.

Chapter 17
Mina Murray Harker

"I keep [my diary] in this." As he spoke he laid his hand on the phonograph. I felt quite excited over it, and blurted out:—

"Why, this beats even shorthand! May I hear it say something?" (17.16-17)

Mina is as excited to see a real phonograph as we are to see the latest smartphone.

Chapter 18

We have on our side […] resources of science (18.40)

The Crew of Light has science on their side, at least. Dracula hardly knows how the latest technologies work, so they've got a major advantage over him.

Dr. Abraham Van Helsing

A year ago which of us would have received such a possibility, in the midst of our scientific, matter-of-fact nineteenth century? (18.42)

Van Helsing and the rest of the Crew of Light have to get over their faith in science and logic—vampires do exist, even "in the midst of our scientific, "matter-of-fact nineteenth century."