By Catherine Wynne (auth.)
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Extra resources for Bram Stoker, Dracula and the Victorian Gothic Stage
Stoker, 1997: 87–8) As Mina approaches the churchyard, her view of the seat is obscured, but ‘bending over the half-reclining white figure’ of Lucy is ‘something, long and black’ with a ‘white face and red, gleaming eyes’ (1997: 88). The focus in this passage on light and shade reveals Stoker as the business manager of the Lyceum, where he was well rehearsed in how to light a play. In a highly informed and technical essay on stage lighting, ‘Irving and Stage Lighting’ (1911), Stoker observes how he had spent many hours with Irving during lighting rehearsals noting how ‘it was a matter of absorbing interest’ to him to ‘see this new branch of stage art developed’ (Wynne, 2012, vol.
He possessed none of what I may call my homely qualities – the love of children, the love of a home, the dislike of solitude’ (1908: 121). However, the point reveals as much about Terry as it does about Irving: her requirement to cultivate an image of the maternal and the domestic – in other words, to be seen to prioritize private life over public performance – generates, as Chapter 3 argues, its own brand of Gothic production. It is unsurprising that Terry, and especially Irving, as products and interpreters of the fin-de-siècle preoccupation with the occult become associated with Gothic creation.
7 Stoker’s viewpoint recognizes the transformative power of melodrama. Daniel Gerould argues that melodrama ‘tends to favour the cause of the dispossessed rather than those in power, even when its plot structure ultimately brings about accommodation to the reigning order’ (1994: 185). Furthermore, its ‘central theme of oppressed innocence has regularly been perceived as an incitement to rebellion against tyranny by audiences suffering similar victimization’ (1994: 185). Melodrama can make victims powerful.