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By Matthew Gibson (auth.)
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Additional info for Dracula and the Eastern Question: British and French Vampire Narratives of the Nineteenth-Century Near East
Thus the image of the perils and frustration of sexual love in the Orient is turned into an image which represents harmony, innocence, perfect beauty, and reality transfomed by imagination. Not only does Polidori take images and use them more appropriately, but he also turns the ideological content around. This interpretation of the work sees it as a specific attack on both Byron’s poetic practice and his political views, rather than the unaknowledged plagiarism which Patricia Skarda has observed in the reproduction of the tropes (Studies in Romanticism, 28:2 255).
The deathwound on the army of Soliman II paved the way for the revanchement upon what Emperor Leopold I considered to be his ancestral lands. In 1699 the Treaty of Karlowicz was signed, in which the Turks accepted the victories of his son Prince Eugene, and by Leopold’s death all of Hungary, including Transylvania and Voivodina, had come into the Austrian Empire (nominally at least), except a tiny territory to the East between the Theiss and the Maros rivers (p. 337), which was still Ottoman. There were frequent insurrections by Hungarian malcontents.
Thus the Near Eastern superstition has been transformed into a national allegory of the ‘other’ through its enclosure within the West European naturalistic and contemporary narrative – in this case, however, it argues that vampirism is a result of Western meddling rather than Ottoman misrule: quite the opposite of the Fragment upon which it is based. That Polidori was attacking philhellenism, and in particular the philhellenism of his patient and patron, can be demonstrated by the fact that the description of Ianthe dancing includes images which act as a riposte to specific figures already used by Byron in The Giaour.