In this thesis, I seek to answer one of the central questions in Bram Stoker’s Dracula: who is entitled to hold hegemony in Europe, and more importantly, based on what claim? The novel treats race as the primary decisive factor in answering this question, but also links race to policies of language, national identity, and civilizational progress. The novel approaches this question through a normative English subjectivity, such as that of Jonathan Harker’s travel narrative, which juxtaposes English modernity and rationalism to the, supposedly, racially decadent Transylvanian locals. On the other hand, the novel presents Dracula as a cruel, authoritarian leader constructing an ideology of Székely (Sekler) racial purity based on militaristic achievements and an ancient Hunnic origin. The novel argues that these ideas are morally reprehensible, hence it deems these ideas a despicable, dangerous monster. Ultimately the novel is ideologically confused: it both positions the Dutch and America as potential leaders of a future of indefinite Western hegemony, and, strangely, appreciates some aspects of Dracula and his Transylvanian home. The first chapter deals with Harker’s travel narrative and the English’s claim to power based on modernity, while the second chapter analyzes its counter text, Dracula’s lecture on Transylvanian history, a rhetorical speech promoting the racial status of his Hun-Székely background. Lastly, the third chapter elaborates on the novel’s indecisiveness to the hegemony question and how its treatment of Dracula with both fear and fascination reflects tendencies in nineteenth-century Anglo-Irish Gothic literature.

Keywords: Dracula, Stoker, Transylvania, Székely, race, hegemony, language, national identity, modernity

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