The Text, the Context, and the Reader
This study is an inquiry into the circumstances that led to the publication of Dracula, Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, and into the far-reaching consequences of that publication. It is, in other words, a study of what made Dracula possible and of what was made possible by Dracula.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula,a Count and a vampire in nineteenth-century Transylvania, is also an immortal fifteenth-century Romanian ruler. He has posed as his own offspring over many generations and is ready to invade England and create a loyal army of the undead. In real life, the historical Dracula invaded England twice through his Transylvanian offspring, the Tecks, who married into the British Royal family in 1866 and 1892. Bram Stoker was there to report it: he knew Dracula’s descendants personally and, in his 1897 novel, he told the story of the corruption of English blood by foreign invaders from remote Transylvania.
In the nineteenth century, Dracula’s native lands had become a neo-colony of the British Empire and the Lower Danube was controlled by the British. This book makes the case for a postcolonial reading of Dracula by offering a fresh perspective into the historical and biographical context of the genesis of the novel, as well as an analysis of the personality of the historical character chosen by Stoker for his vampire Count. Ultimately, this study answers unequivocally the question that Dracula critics have been trying to answer in the negative: Can Dracula be analysed from a postcolonial perspective? Yes!
Cristina Artenie is a Dracula specialist of a postcolonial persuasion whose work includes co-editing Dracula: The Postcolonial Edition and the comparative survey of all major critical editions – from the 1970s until today – of Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula: A Study of Editorial Practices.