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Dracula , Gothic novel by Bram Stoker , published in , that was the most popular literary work derived from vampire legends and became the basis for an entire genre of literature and film. Dracula comprises journal entries, letters, and telegrams written by the main characters. It begins with Jonathan Harker , a young English lawyer, as he travels to Transylvania.
Harker plans to meet with Count Dracula , a client of his firm, in order to finalize a property transaction. When he arrives in Transylvania, the locals react with terror after he discloses his destination: Castle Dracula.
Though this unsettles him slightly, he continues onward. The ominous howling of wolves rings through the air as he arrives at the castle. When Harker meets Dracula, he acknowledges that the man is pale, gaunt, and strange. Harker becomes further concerned when, after Harker cuts himself while shaving, Dracula lunges at his throat. Soon after, Harker is seduced by three female vampires, from whom he barely escapes.
He attacks the count, but his efforts are unsuccessful. Dracula leaves Harker trapped in the castle and then, along with 50 boxes of dirt, departs for England. One night Mina must search for Lucy, as she has fallen back into her old habit of sleepwalking. When Mina finds her outside near a graveyard, there appears to be a shape hovering over her for a split second.
Over the following days, Lucy falls ill and is at times seen through a window next to a bat. Mina is worried, but she is called away once she receives correspondence from Jonathan. Lucy goes into the care of Dr. Seward and Dr. Van Helsing, who, after a number of failed blood transfusions, decide further action is needed. They then drape Lucy and her room with garlic —a strategy used to ward off vampires.
Lucy, however, soon dies. After her death, many report the appearance of a creature who is attacking children in the area. In order to prevent her from further killing, they unearth her corpse, stake her through the heart, cut off her head, and stuff her mouth with garlic. Now that Lucy has been taken care of, the group decides to track down Count Dracula and the 50 boxes of dirt he brought with him. According to lore, Dracula needs the dirt of his home country to remain healthy.
The group attempts to destroy the boxes so that Dracula has no means of regeneration. The vampire disappears and returns to Transylvania only to be followed by the determined group. They find him buried in the final box of dirt and promptly cut off his head and stab him through his heart. Dracula crumbles into dust. The vampire hunters also lose one of their own, Quincey Morris, during the expedition. Vlad impaled his enemies on stakes to consolidate his political power in Walachia.
One account also claimed that while his victims were dying atop the stakes, Vlad would dip bread in their blood and eat it in front of them, but that account is unconfirmed. Dracula has been interpreted as an expression of anxiety about eastern Europeans invading western Europe, as represented by a Transylvanian who arrives in London and terrorizes its residents.
Some critics argue that the novel is about the relationship between the past and the future, with Count Dracula perhaps representing the primitive nature of the past as it permeates the present and challenges modernization. She dies by the hand of the past, despite the use of modern medical technology. Stoker might be acknowledging contemporary suspicions about the effectiveness of new technology. Dracula was well received when it was published, but its success is even better measured by the number of adaptations it inspired.
These adaptations began in , when the novel was plagiarized in the silent motion picture Nosferatu , in which the director F. Duplicates were created, and thus Nosferatu survived. Since then vampires of the same kind have appeared across popular culture. Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Introduction Summary Analysis Adaptations. Written By: Kate Lohnes.
See Article History. Britannica Quiz. From Moby-Dick to Space Odysseys. Who wrote a novel about a world of Eastasia, Eurasia, and Oceania?
Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Irish literature: The decline of the Protestant Ascendancy. His Dracula gave Western culture one of its most enduring and fantastic villains, the vampire Count Dracula. A young lawyer, Jonathan Harker—whose journal makes up the first third of the novel—travels into the wilds of eastern Europe in search of Dracula , a strange, aristocratic Anglophile.
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