The Sleeping Beauty topos in The Monk and Dracula


A hundred years separate two of the most successful masterpieces of English Gothic Fiction: The Monk (1796) by Matthew Gregory Lewis and Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker. The significance of this circumstance goes beyond mere chronological coincidence and is revealing of a closer connection between the two texts. Such a connection, made up of a network of allusions, echoes, anticipations and cross-references, derives from a specific set of narrative situations that The Monk presents and that Dracula redefines in order to reflect new and different axiologies. These situations focus on the motif of the Sleeping Beauty and its variations, a narrative topos whose morbid connotations both novels emphasize in a typically Gothic manner. The analysis of the ways in which Lewis and Stoker make up this motif sheds light on the dialectical relationship connecting the two texts. With specific reference to Dracula, it provides as well a new interpretative perspective based on a metaliterary reading of Stoker’s novel, of the dark desires and evil pleasures it evokes one hundred years after Lewis’s The Monk.

Author Information
Paolo Pepe, eCampus University of Novedrate, Italy

Paper Information
Conference: ECAH2023
Stream: Literature/Literary Studies

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon