I am having a hard time figuring out what the setting of the novel "Dracula" is.

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parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One reason for this complication is that the book is written as a compilation of letters exchanged among the protagonists. The origin and destination of these letters is basically London, England and Transylvania, the latter being a fictive country situated somewhere in Eastern Europe ('Transylvania' meaning "across the woods"). In some of the letters, however, references are also made to various voyages at sea, which also must be considered. Also, diary entries mention arrivals and departures from such cities as Munich and Vienna.

The element of time is also an aspect of the setting. Although set in Victorian England, transition of events and lapses of time are often obscure. Some critics suggest it is intentional, reflecting the confused state of Johnathan Harker's mind as he comments (by diaries and letters) upon his experiences. (See reference below.) Others say it's just clumsy writing.

Although this epistolary form is somewhat awkward and at times difficult to follow, Bram Stoker went to great pains to document information for the setting and context of 'Dracula' before actually settling down to write it. For example, he studied metereological records in depth to make sure that storms at sea cited in the book really did happen (in case anybody actually "checked it out.")

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