Philosophy professor Stephen Amsa writes this in The Chronicle of Higher Education:
“Any careful reading of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, for example, will reveal not only a highly sexualized description of blood drinking, but an erotic characterization of the count himself.”
What he means to say, I think, is that a Freud-besotted modern reading confirms the Freudian orthodoxy about Dracula. But to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a moan is just a moan. A truly careful reading, on the other hand, which is attentive to the meanings of words in 1897 and to the overall tone, themes, and symbolism in the book, will not leave one with the feeling that Count Dracula is in any way erotic.
I don’t know why this is such a big deal with me. Maybe because I don’t like it when academics all agree that something is obvious. Or maybe because there’s something vaguely misogynistic about reading what Dracula does to his female victims as seduction. Or maybe because I’m just contrary, and think Freud was creepy and a borderline pervert, and think we ought not import psycho-babble into texts. Regardless, I stand by my belief that the only good vampire is a dead vampire.