Myth, Media and Place: Dracula and Transylvania in the British popular imagination

Authors: Light, D.

Conference: Beliefs and Cultures in Education and Culture

Dates: 25-27 June 2015


Ever since Dracula was published in 1897 it has played a defining role in structuring the ways that Transylvania – and Romania more generally – are structured in the British popular imagination. In particular, Dracula portrayed Transylvania as a remote, backward and sinister corner of Europe that posed a distinct threat to ‘civilised’ British society. This place myth of Transylvania has continued to have extraordinary resonance throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. For example, representations of Romanian communism in the 1980s, orphanages in the 1990s, asylum seekers in the 2000s and, since 2007, economic migrants are all underpinned by a particular understandings of Romania as a ‘strange’ and ‘different’ country which is, in various ways, not ‘fully’ European. This paper examines a range of media sources in Britain to explore contemporary representations and understandings of Romania. It argues that the portrayals of Romania as different and Other can all be traced back (in various ways) to Dracula and that Stoker’s novel has had an enduring influence that the author could never imagined. The paper ends by considering the implications for contemporary Romania and the ways in which Romania could manage the ‘problem’ of Dracula.

Source: Manual