"Dracula" is the novel that introduced the fictional creature known as the vampire to millions. It is considered by many as the single most important work in the gothic vampire horror genre. "Dracula" while not the first appearance of the vampire in literature is certainly the work that is most readily identified with the vampire genre and has spawned countless imitations and references. The novel is set sometime in the late 19th century and begins by being told from the perspective of Jonathan Harker. Harker is a young English lawyer who is traveling to the castle of Count Dracula to perform some legal services for the Count. Harker upon meeting Count Dracula finds him a strange and eerie man and will soon learn his dark secret.
Dracula is one of the few horror books to be honored by inclusion in the Norton Critical Edition series. (The others are Frankenstein, The Turn of the Screw, Heart of Darkness, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The Metamorphosis.) This 100th-anniversary edition includes not only the complete authoritative text of the novel with illuminating footnotes, but also four contextual essays, five reviews from the time of publication, five articles on dramatic and film variations, and seven selections from literary and academic criticism. Nina Auerbach of the University of Pennsylvania (author of Our Vampires, Ourselves) and horror scholar David J. Skal (author of Hollywood Gothic, The Monster Show, and Screams of Reason) are the editors of the volume. Especially fascinating are excerpts from materials that Bram Stoker consulted in his research for the book, and his working papers over the several years he was composing it. The selection of criticism includes essays on how Dracula deals with female sexuality, gender inversion, homoerotic elements, and Victorian fears of "reverse colonization" by politically turbulent Transylvania.