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Journal of Dracula Studies

Abstract

Dracula is one of the world’s best-known books. The novel has never been out of print since its publication and has been translated into about 30 languages (Melton). Yet, paradoxically, one of the countries where it is least known is Romania. The usual explanation given for this situation is Romania’s recent history, particularly the period of Communist Party rule (1947-1989). Dracula, with its emphasis on vampires and the supernatural, was apparently regarded as an unsuitable or inappropriate novel in a state founded on the materialist and “scientific” principles of Marxism. Hence, no translation of Stoker’s novel was permitted during the Communist period, a fact noted by several contemporary commentators (for example, Mackenzie 20; Florescu and McNally, Prince 220). As a result, Romania was entirely unprepared for the explosion in the West of popular interest in Dracula and vampires during the 1970s. While increasing numbers of Western tourists visited Transylvania on their own searches for the literary and supernatural roots of Bram Stoker’s novel, they frequently returned disappointed since hardly anybody in Romania understood what they were searching for. For example, Romanian guides and interpreters working for the national tourist office were often bewildered when asked by Western tourists for more details about Dracula and vampires in Romania (Nicolae Păduraru, personal interview). It was not until after the fall of Nicolae Ceauşescu’s Communist regime that the first Romanian translation of Dracula was published in 1990, much to the surprise and puzzlement of many Romanians (Boia 226). This article closely examines the issue of when Dracula was first translated into Romanian. In particular, I question the frequently repeated claim that Stoker’s novel did not appear in Romanian until after the fall of Communism. Instead, I argue that there is strong evidence (albeit circumstantial) that some form of translation existed during the interwar period and, furthermore, that a full translation was prepared (even if never published) at some stage during the Communist period.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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