Non-Standard Language and the Cultural Stakes of Stoker’s Dracula



Ferguson C (2004) Non-Standard Language and the Cultural Stakes of Stoker’s Dracula. ELH: English Literary History, 71 (1), pp. 229-249.

This article reads the under-examined celebration of "impure" and non-standard English in Bram Stoker's Dracula in order to challenge common critical assessments of both the novel and the Victorian fin-de-siécle's anxious worship of cultural and linguistic homogeneity. Habitually cited as an example of the period's paranoia about instability of various kinds, the novel anathematizes the very values of conformity it is said to engender by depicting the mutability of English as a prime foil to the careful, rigid, and conservative speech of the vampire. The novel's fascination with the vivifying power of language diversity illuminates the era's larger cultural project of constructing a national identity based on the variability of British identity.

ELH: English Literary History: Volume 71, Issue 1

Publication date30/04/2004
PublisherThe Johns Hopkins University Press

People (1)


Professor Christine Ferguson

Professor Christine Ferguson

Professor in English, English Studies