To borrow a phrase used by one of the characters in the novel, Dracula is "nineteenth century up-to-date with a vengeance." In her introduction to this edition Glennis Byron first discusses the famous novel as an expression not of universal fears and desires, but of specifically late nineteenth-century concerns. And she discusses too the ways in which to the modern reader it is not Transylvania but London that is the location of the monstrosity in Dracula.The many appendices include contemporary reviews; source materials drawn on by Stoker; documents expressing contemporary views on trances, sleepwalking and hypnotism; and other relevant writing by Stoker, including "the censorship of Fiction," in which he expresses his belief in the need to defend the social and moral purity of the nation.
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.