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Research Colloquium - Michelle Witen: From Britain to Ireland to Europe: Bram Stoker's Dracula and the Victorian Periodical
This paper hones in on a particular point in Victorian periodical culture -- in the aftermath of the rise of the periodical press following the "Repeal of the Taxes on Knowledge" (1853-1861) -- when newspapers were battling with magazines over what constituted "news" in the 1890s. The majority of fiction published from 1860 onwards engaged with this debate metatextually (i.e. circulation, readership, advertisements, serialization practices); however, its presence can also be detected in the content of the fiction. As a case study, this paper will focus on Bram Stoker's Dracula, gesturing to Stoker's use of the newspaper to demonstrate impersonal reportage and/or the facticity of an event. However, the primary focus will be the novel's engagement with aspects of the Victorian periodical through the incorporation of political caricatures of Ireland (i.e. the Irish vampire vs the Eastern European vampire), references to The Pall Mall Gazette, and the structural layout of the newspaper in the novel's design. By tracing these engagements, one can see Stoker's critique of the British empire and its place as a European superpower.