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Journal of Dracula Studies

Abstract

One of the defining features of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the “specific and detailed geographical context that sets this novel apart from other gothic novels” (Florescu & McNally 5). Indeed, although Stoker had not visited Transylvania, he is known to have read widely in preparing Dracula.1 While his historical research has come under particular scrutiny, little attention has been paid to his representation and understanding of the region’s geography.2 As a human geographer with research interests in Romania, I find that there is something not “quite right” about Stoker’s Transylvania. In particular, where are the Romanians? And why are there so many Slovaks? And why has a Székler Count built his castle so far from the Szekely land? My focus here is on the people of Bram Stoker’s Transylvania and their geography. Through a consideration of census reports as well as Stoker’s known sources, I examine the nature and distribution of Transylvania’s population in the late nineteenth century and I argue that while Stoker clearly appreciated the multi-ethnic nature of Transylvania, his more detailed understanding of its population geography was patchy at best. Moreover, Stoker was selective in his representation of the various nationalities in Transylvania: some were highlighted for dramatic effect, whereas others were excluded altogether.

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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