How strong is Dracula

Summary of Dracula

The late period of Victorianism

The so-called Victorian period shaped the 19th century in Great Britain. Queen Victoria held the throne from 1837 until her death in 1901. Towards the end of their reign, the kingdom had become a modern industrial state. At the same time, it remained an empire that still clung to the class system and colonialism. The social tensions within society - growing poverty and a strengthening labor movement on the one hand, class arrogance and immense entrepreneurial wealth on the other - were overgrown by a traditional, religiously inspired morality, the symbolic figures of which were the queen herself and her husband Prince Albert were. While ethical ideals and social etiquette seemed immovable, science and philosophy made great leaps. Published in 1859 Charles Darwin his epoch-making work About the origin of the speciesthat challenged numerous basic assumptions, not least religious ones. The scientific method established itself as a progressive alternative to many forms of unchecked belief. Educational reforms increasingly ensured participation in the school system for the proletariat. Growing literacy and the emergence of the mass press promoted the knowledge society and created a new market for popular literature.


Dracula is not only Bram Stoker's most famous work, but also the only one that the author has meticulously prepared over the years. The first sketch dates back to 1890. At that time the novel was supposed to be called "The Undead". A little later, Stoker came across the medieval prince in a historical work Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler, 1431–1476), who was nicknamed Drăculea (son of the dragon) and was notorious for his cruelty. Stoker borrowed the traditional name for the novel project without knowing any details about the historical Vlad. He was more scrupulous in other aspects of his research. The geographic details of Jonathan Harker's trip to Transylvania are exactly the same as in real life, although Stoker never traveled to Eastern Europe. The author also extensively checked medical, technical and even linguistic details. As for the vampire figure, Stoker consulted several studies on the corresponding superstitions. He took many elements of his novel character from traditional ascriptions, others came from his imagination, such as Dracula's need to rest in a coffin on home soil.

Stoker, however, was not only inspired by folk traditions, but also by literary precursors. Several successful vampire stories had appeared in Britain during the 19th century, including John PolidorisThe vampire (1819) and Sheridan Le FanusCarmilla (1871). The theaters, too, had seen the fashion of vampire dramas in the 1820s. Stoker even flirted with a stage version of his work. Dracula appeared seven years after the initial conception in June 1897 with an edition of 3,000 copies.

Impact history

The reactions to Stoker's book have been mixed. As a literary sensation, it was nowhere recorded, and until his death in 1912 it did not bring the author any notable income. Only over time did it develop into that classic, the title of which is now a synonym for the vampire. The cinema was mainly concerned with popularization, although the novel was mostly freely adapted there. The first film version is considered Friedrich Wilhelm MurnausNosferatu, a symphony of horror from 1921, although the producers initially refused to acknowledge any connection to the book. Starred in the earliest Hollywood film adaptation of 1930 Bela Lugosi the Count and thus created a first impressive picture of Dracula. Joined him later Christopher Lee, who impersonated the vampire for the first time in 1958 and played the role in seven other films. The vampire film, sometimes with and sometimes without reference to Stoker's novel, developed into a broad subgenre of horror film, which soon also caused parodies like Roman Polanskidance of the Vampires (1966).

Literary interest in Stoker's book first blossomed in the 1970s. Since then, the sexual subtext of the novel has been analyzed with particular attention. After doing dozens of film versions, Dracula has now become an icon of popular culture, although most contemporary vampires are no longer modeled in the image of the Count. Because the original story was more and more forgotten in the course of numerous adaptations, stepped Francis Ford Coppolas Movie Bram Stoker's Dracula 1992 expressly with the claim to adhere closely to the book. The following applies in literature Anne Rices Novel cycle Chronicle of the Vampires (since 1976) as the most interesting continuation of the genre.