Why Is There So Much Bad Writing about Good Writing?
That's what John Sutherland
wants to know.
In the latest issue of ELN, pride of place goes to an article by Jason Sellers entitled Dracula's Band of the Hand: Suppressed Male Onanism. "I argue," Dr Sellers announces, "that the mediation of the unavailable lover and the subsequent urgent need for autosexual satisfaction is the sexual force that propels much of Dracula.
"I will explore both the physical and psychological autoerotic imagery with which the novel suppresses, in light of that taboo, the masturbatory endeavour pursued by Dracula's vampire-fighting crew of men - our, by way of physical allegory, manly Band of the Hand."
A load of wank, one is tempted to ejaculate. Not, that is, Bram Stoker's immortal work, but this scholar's crazed interpretation of it. The argument that Dracula is about Van Helsing, Harker and the rest furtively beating their meat as they gallop hell for leather across Transylvania is beyond weird into surreal. If this is what literary criticism has come to, give me Buffy.