The Tension Between Past And Present In Dracula And Lady Audley's Secret

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The tension between the past and present is one of the key central tropes that is continually addressed in the novels ‘Dracula’, written by Bram Stoker, and ‘Lady Audley’s Secret’, written by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. While gothic novels such as ‘Dracula’ and sensation fiction based on gothic tropes like ‘Lady Audley’s Secret’ are both presented in a modern society, the plot, underlying symbolism, and settings allows the past and present to persist as a central trope of the gothic. In the early stages of the gothic, the genre ultimately provided a representation for domestic fears and anxieties amongst the cultural shifts within society. The tension between the past and the present existed within gothic novels as a way of expressing concerns over modernity and the rapidly changing culture. Most importantly, the tension between the past and present consistently reappears through the plot, setting and representations of characters because of the ever-present change in society. …show more content…
95), ‘Dracula’ and ‘Lady Audley’s Secret’ similarly represented the fear that modernity may fail because of the past (Badowska 2009, p. 158). That is, that the past continually resurrects, interferes with the present and therefore doesn’t allow space for modernity to prevail. This is explicitly represented in Braddon’s novel, when Lady Audley’s hidden past continually threatens to overthrow her future despite all her attempts to stop it. While in ‘Dracula’, Stoker’s heroic cast is mainly made up of upper class occupations that are evidence of the modern approach to medicine and justice (Botting 1996, p. 96), but as the group comes across a feared supernatural being from the past, their modern occupations can’t aid

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