Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Last night I went to a lecture at the Romanian Cultural Institute here in Stockholm. It was called "På tal om nationella stereotyper" and I got to listen to Dr. Vesna Goldsworthy speak about the various myths about Eastern Europe and in particular Romania. I had seen her on SVT's Kobra a few years ago and quoted her in my last thesis. Now, finally, I got to hear more than the snippet which I found so interesting on that show. I couldn't believe my luck.
Here are some of my notes on what she said about Dracula:
Brittish Victorian rationality pitted against Eastern superstition ("Bells and Spells"). Mumbojumbo, crucifix, garlic etc. A case of reversed colonization. Dracula studies English; he doesn't want to be a stranger in a strange land. Eastern Europeans can't be spotted. ( Under-cover).
In her book Inventing Ruritania- The Imperialism of the Imagination, she discusses Brittish novels set in invented, lovely, all-purpose Balkan countries, like Ruritania and Slovonia. Dr. Golrdsworthy describes the invented Ruritania as a mirror-version of the imagined Transylvania. I have to find her book.