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Taming CannibalsRace and the Victorians$
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Patrick Brantlinger

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450198

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450198.001.0001

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“Shadows of the Coming Race”

“Shadows of the Coming Race”

Chapter:
(p.180) 8 “Shadows of the Coming Race”
Source:
Taming Cannibals
Author(s):

Patrick Brantlinger

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801450198.003.0008

This chapter surveys the rise of science fiction and the Victorians' response both to what evolution meant for the future and to new machines, especially new communications devices such as the telegraph and the typewriter. Edward Bulwer-Lytton's science fiction classic The Coming Race appeared in 1872. Victorians, including George Eliot, speculated about machines as a super-race that would one day replace humans. In the machinic throes of vampirism, Bram Stoker's Dracula represents a past in which imperialism and cannibalism were inseparable—a past that he threatens to turn into Britain's future by creating an ever-expanding race of vampires. Universal bloodthirstiness or vampiric cannibalism is the ultimate nightmare version of racial degeneration and also of going native.

Keywords:   science fiction, Victorians, evolution, telegraph, typewriter, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Bram Stoker, vampiric cannibalism, imperialism

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