Essay on The Tension Between The Past And Present

1022 Words Jun 12th, 2016 null Page
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.
While the idea of the vampire originally expressed fears of the Black plague within Europe (Botting 1996, p. 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…

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