Faceless Fear: Explorations of the Uncanny in Dracula and Marble Hornets
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This essay seeks to explore the theory of the uncanny in relation to two texts; Dracula (1897) and Marble Hornets (2009). Despite being published over a century apart, these two texts each exhibit uncanny characteristics that help to accentuate the horror and sense of fear portrayed in each narrative. The uncanny is a concept first explored by Ernst Jentsch in his essay on E.T.A Hoffman’s Der Sandman (1816), though perhaps more famously appraised in Sigmund Freud’s 'Das Unheimlich', or, 'The Uncanny' (1919). Since then, both the uncanny and 'The Uncanny', have been assessed, re-evaluated and contextualised by academics, covering a range of fields from literary theory to sociology. Nicholas Royle boasts the first book-length study on the subject, similarly titled The Uncanny (2003). He defines the uncanny as a "moment of embroilment in the experience of something at once strange and familiar" (Royle, 2003, p.7). This essay applies this definition to a range of aspects from both Marble Hornets (2009) and Dracula (1897). Chapter One deals with the narrative of the two texts, exploring the role of the visual in both stories and its connection with the story. This chapter deals with Freud’s theories on the eyes and Nicholas Royle’s theories on darkness to explore how a sense of fear is created in the themes and story elements of Dracula and Marble Hornets. Chapter Two is an exploration of the extra-textual. Both texts are presented in a multi-modal fashion; Dracula through diaries and letters, Marble Hornets through video logs and Twitter posts. This chapter applies Royle’s theories of the 'telepathic narrator' to each text, and explores how the presentation of each story compounds the immersion, and thereby fears, of the readers. All in all, this piece tries to bridge the large chronological gap between the two texts, in order to resolve many of the similarities they share, and explores the creation of a new monster (the Slender Man) in Marble Hornets (2009). Furthermore, it offers an approach to Dracula (1897) that many academics do not explore, moving away from the more traditional post-colonial or gender-based studies.
BA (Hons) English and Drama
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