Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh
chris_walsh

Exclamation! (I considered titling this "!" but decided not to.)

This is probably a coincidence, but now that I've read both novels, I like that both Dracula, Bram Stoker's 1897 novel, and Ben-Hur: a Tale of the Christ, Lew Wallace's 1880 novel, share the line "Unclean, unclean!"

Two Ben-Hur characters, imprisoned for years in a leprosy-infected prison cell so that they become lepers, say it, and it's such a habit that one of them still says "unclean, unclean!" after Jesus Christ (in all Christ's Christness) has cured them of it. And later, in Dracula, Mina Harker feels a burn when Van Helsing tries to perform a religious ceremony with her, the burn a result of Dracula having touched Mina earlier.

Again, it's probably a coincidence, though I'm guessing there is a chance that Stoker had read Wallace's book, which had been a huge hit. But the line "unclean, unclean!" is nicely, appropriately, melodramatic.

So much 19th-century English-language writing was melodramatic.

I wouldn't write that way, but I can appreciate others who do.
Tags: books
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