Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in 1897. The settings of the book reflect two major traditions in horror writing, those of the older pure Gothic form and the newer traditions of the sensation novel.
The initial setting of the book in Transylvania reflects the older Gothic tradition. It is a remote and foreboding environment, foreign to the daily lives of Stoker's English readers. It creates an atmosphere of folklore, superstition, and primal horror, creating a sense of the primitive as the uncanny and threatening, with the potential to erupt into the rational ordered lives of the modern European.
The travel of Dracula to England shows the disruptive potential of the irrational erupting into an almost stereotypical vision of the peaceful ordered life of the English village. As is typical of the sensation novel, it creates horror by suggesting that even the most peaceful, orderly, rational and innocent lives are not safe from external threats.
The creepy opening of Dracula sets the tone for the novel...
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