Bram Stoker Was Inspired by Anthropoligists?

A Slate article by Douglas Starr proposes that perhaps Dracula author Bram Stoker may have been inspired by the writings of Italian psychologist Cesare Lombroso. In his research, Lombroso sought the underlying causes of primitive and criminal behavior and concluded that it was due to biology, particularly bad brains (Abby Normal ones?). Starr writes:

The inspiration struck him like lightning: Criminal behavior was not something people learned but a malformation they were born with. Lombroso dissected hundreds more brains and claimed to find the defect in most of them. Lombroso’s observations and statistics were notoriously sloppy, but to his mind his theory fit perfectly with the most advanced science of the day.

Starr writes on to show similarities between passages written by Lombroso and Stoker, which hint at the pseudoscience, physiogomy – that physical, especially facial, characteristics reflect the person’s character.

I do not believe that behavior, human or vampire, is entirely determined by biology. My own approach in writing vampires is to first consider their human lives and how their transformation affected them. Since my vampires have chosen their new existence, I’m especially interested in writing about what they believed was worth their humanity and if  they got what they sought.


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