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Domesticating the Vampire Trope Through Translation: The Case of the Two 1897 Translations of Jules Verne’s Le château des Carpathes (1892)

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Abstract: One of the earliest and most important works of vampire literature to be translated into Romanian is Jules Verne’s Le château des Carpathes (1892), which saw no less than two renditions in 1897, the year in which Bram Stoker released his famous Dracula: Victor Onișor’s, published in the then Austro-Hungarian province of Transylvania and an anonymous version, serialized in a Bucharest-based publication from Romania. Although not comparable in terms of production value and critical reception, the two translations find common ground in the fact that they reduce the already minimal presence of vampires in the French author’s work in favor of the local “strigoi.” This domesticating practice, witnessed as late as 2009 in the case of renditions from the Romanian, appears to have applied in the opposite direction as well, which contributed to a belated association of the term “vampire,” heavily influenced by the late nineteenth-century political and pop culture discourses from the West, with the bloodthirsty monster popularized by Stoker.

Keywords: domestication, Dracula, Bram Stoker, Jules Verne, Le château des Carpathes, strigoi, Transylvania, vampire

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