The Critical Methods
This research uses historical criticism in that it is an evolutionary piece. According to Steven Lynn, a historical criticism, or more specifically a cultural criticism "includes, of course, not only those great and obviously influential persons and events that we usually think of, but also the ordinary, the everyday, the apparently trivial. The development of plumbing is clearly very important to civilization, but few people, I venture, know much about its evolution" (144). In looking at the original Count Dracula and watching variously how he—and by direct association, the vampire myth—evolved through time as society evolved, this project is giving cultural merit to Dracula and its various interpretations (from this time forward, this phrase will be "Dracula and etc." so as to avoid wordiness) in that it evolves just as a culture or society would (146).
A psychological criticism of literature connects the ideas presented in a text to common developmental patterns in psychology (Lynn 215). In applying psychological criticism to the already established cultural criticism, this research attempts to show the development of the idea of fear as implemented in Dracula and etc. The information displayed in "Fear and Psychology" will delve into the psychological development of the audience of Dracula and how that has evolved the Count and his predecessors.
Dracula cannot be discussed without discussing women in some way. Since the original Dracula, women have been involved, whether they act as passive or aggressive characters. When discussing issues such as these, the feminist criticism works to uncover the patterns of feminine repression or feminine supremacy. Lynn poses the question in Texts and Contexts: Writing About Literature with Critical Theory, "It is of course always possible that you just don't agree that women have been oppressed and that generalizations based on sexual orientation or gender are dumb. What would be the purpose of feminist criticism for such a person?" (225). Lynn goes on to describe that regardless if a researcher supports feminism, they can impliment a gender study into their research. This research particularly studies not only the evolution of women empowerment in Dracula, but also Dracula's use and exploitation of women sexually.
Reader Response Criticism ties all of this research together. With the reader's response, "even the most idiosyncratic response should be shared...and heard sympathetically" (Lynn 67). Reader response is about how the reader responds to the text, and in that way, is about the reception of the various Dracula films, the reader's desensitivity to fear, and the evolution of the character Dracula as he and his fellow vampires are received by society and the audience of the current day.