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The origins of Turkish Gothic: the adaptations of Stoker’s Dracula in Turkish literature and film

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Studies in Gothic Fiction
Issue number1-2
Volume4
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)57-69
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The adaptations of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) in Turkish literature and film are relatively unknown by Western academia and have been poorly discussed by Turkish critics and scholars on the grounds of being superficial copies of the original. However, they have great importance not only for Turkish Horror studies but also for recently formed Globalgothic studies. In 1928, a novel named Vlad the Impaler was published in Ottoman Turkish by Ali Rıza Seyfi, a historian and a poet from newly founded Republic of Turkey. As the novel’s name suggests, Seyfi uses the historical character known as Vlad Tepes and his connection to Turkish history, which dates back to the Ottoman Empire period. However, Seyfi’s novel was an adaptation of Stoker’s Dracula with engaging modifications. A quarter-century later, this adaptation was adapted into film under the name of Dracula in Istanbul (1953) which became the first Horror film to survive in Turkish cinema history and the first Dracula adaptation made by a Muslim country. Contrary to popular opinion in Western academia, the film is also the first adaptation in which Count Dracula’s fangs are seen. This article provides close readings of both adaptations by focusing on representations of Turkish national identity in particular. Considering both Gothic criticism and adaptation theories, I argue that these works lay the foundations of Turkish Gothic, a genre which has not yet been canonised in Turkish studies, and that they serve as a first step towards a Turkish contribution to Globalgothic studies.

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