Transylvania and romania in scholarly editions of Bram Stoker's Dracula

Authors: Artenie, Cristina
Advisor: Kent, Brad
Abstract: Since the 1970s, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) has gone through an unexpectedly long series of scholarly editions, which has contributed both to the canonisation of a work of fiction previously considered undeserving and to the perpetuation of the novel’s views on Transylvania and Romania. As a rule, editors follow the principle according to which their annotations should allow today’s audience a reading experience similar to that of the original reader and as close to the author’s intention as possible. In Dracula’s case, this means that much of Stoker’s ideological choices remain unexplained and unchallenged, while his representations of “remote” people and places are supported by the editors’ use of the writer’s working notes. Stoker took down, in altered form, hundreds of quotes from several sources that he incorporated into the text of the novel. The editors of Dracula rely heavily on these notes, without taking into account the changes brought by the novelist, the passages that he used but do not appear in the notes, and the fact that the sources were often biased or simply wrong. Thus, the many scholarly editions of Stoker’s novel preserve and even enhance its original process of othering. The analysis of the othering discourse is closely linked to the discussion of the historical context of the novel, that is, to the neo-colonial status of Romania, examined in the second part of this study. The information unearthed here shows that who and what Stoker knew influenced his choice of place, plot and character, which can provide a new line of inquiry for both literary critics and historians. The involvement of Great Britain in the economy and politics of the region, before and after the Crimean War, attested by the presence of British colonial adventurers and by that of the British navy on the river Danube, has only been marginally studied by historians, and the same is true about the study of the British involvement in the European Commission of the Danube. The present study can be equally useful to scholars engaged with postcolonialism, globalisation, and the transformations brought about by capitalism in the Lower Danube region and by the integration of the Romanian principalities into the world market economy. Stoker’s sources were travellers to Transylvania and Romania who were preoccupied with the economic advantages those countries had to offer. Their writings both stimulated and, later, supported the British involvement in the economy of the region. This dissertation crosses yet another boundary, from literary studies into anthropology. Cultural anthropologists can find useful the discussion of time and difference in Stoker’s novel and in the annotations of the editors, both of which involve the collection and manipulation of data from a “remote” European region. In the case of Dracula, the (non)existence of vampire beliefs is an interesting case study which provides insight into the practice but, more importantly, into the far-reaching consequences of nineteenth-century anthropological work. Although an examination of the most heavily annotated scholarly editions of Bram Stoker’s vampire novel, the present study is interdisciplinary. It employs theories and concepts from several fields, thus bringing to the fore the intricate links between culture, history, politics and economy. What this study shows, more importantly, is the close link between the literary object and the context in which it was produced.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2015
Open Access Date: 23 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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