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Writing the national self: Bram Stoker's Dracula and Anglo-Irish Gothic identities

Horgan, Sarah (2012) Writing the national self: Bram Stoker's Dracula and Anglo-Irish Gothic identities. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86503) (KAR id:86503)


This thesis announces the special relationship that Bram Stoker's masterpiece Dracula has to its creator, taking as its focal point the startling textual reflection of Stoker's own hybridised national identity as Anglo-lrish emigré in his vampire Count. Using this paired relationship between author and antagonist as its base, it thereby proposes an original reading of the novel as a work of imaginative autobiography, as a fictional rendering of the realities of Stoker's own fragmented national existence in fin-de-siècle London, positioning Dracula as a novel that deeply engages with the complexity of its author's national identity and the place of this national self in his writing. By their very nature, discussions of nationality are articulated in the interaction between the individual and the community that constitutes the nation. Stoker's own lived experiences in London provide the immediate context for the exploration of such concerns in Dracula, but these are experiences shaped by his particular status as an Anglo-Irish writer in the metropolis. Dracula is therefore first positioned in this work as the product of a historical tradition of Anglo-Irish writing long invested in the complications of national affiliation, something that Chapters One and Two explore, interrogating in the process how the legacy of writers such as Maria Edgeworth, Charles Robert Maturin and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu forms the foundations of Stoker's work. Chapter Three considers in detail how it is Stoker's migrant status that serves as a keystone in this thesis' reading of Dracula by exploring the (Anglo-) Irish migrant experience in Victorian London. Chapter Four deals with the nineteenth-century literary vampire, and asks what such a motif might offer a writer like Stoker seeking to give authentic textual life to his sense of national displacement. Chapter Five reveals the centrality of ideas of writing the (national) self in external perceptions of Stoker and in Stoker's own non-fictional work. Finally, Chapter Six completes a reading of Dracula as imaginative autobiography, as a sustained literary engagement with conflicted national identity that proves illuminating of both Stoker and the class that shaped him and his most famous literary endeavour.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Cregan-Reid, Vybarr
Thesis advisor: Klein, Bernhard
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86503
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: P Language and Literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 13:54 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2021 11:37 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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