Abstract

The vampire's longevity provides a solution to the difficulty voiced by Benedict Anderson: ‘[W]hat limits one's access to other languages is not their imperviousness, but one's own mortality.’ This article discusses the vampire's intimate relation with translation and polyglossia, arguing that Bram Stoker's novel Dracula (1897) anticipates its own translatability by reworking ethnographic and travel sources to engage with debates now central to translation studies. The afterlife of Stoker's undead Count finds its epitome in desiring relationships mediated not simply through blood, but through linguistic mastery, the restriction to a mother tongue, and the translated text. To this end, the novel pits the politics of multilingualism in central Europe against new, female-mediated technologies of translation: shorthand, the telegraph, the phonograph and medical hypnosis. The text of Dracula invites us to reconsider the intimacy involved in translating and the desire for translated texts in light of the novel's own cinematic and linguistic translatability.

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