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Dracula, a Gothic novel by Bram Stoker published in 1897, was the most popular literary work derived from vampire legends and became the basis for an entire genre of literature and film.

Dracula comprises journal entries, letters, and telegrams written by the main characters. It begins with Jonathan Harker, a young English lawyer, as he travels to Transylvania. Harker plans to meet with Count Dracula, a client of his firm, in order to finalize a property transaction. When he arrives in Transylvania, the locals react with terror after he discloses his destination: Castle Dracula.

Though this unsettles him slightly, he continues onward. The ominous howling of wolves rings through the air as he arrives at the castle. When Harker meets Dracula, he acknowledges that the man is pale, gaunt, and strange. Harker becomes further concerned when, after Harker cuts himself while shaving, Dracula lunges at his throat. Soon after, Harker is seduced by three female vampires, from whom he barely escapes. He then learns Dracula’s secret—that he is a vampire and survives by drinking human blood. Harker correctly assumes that he is to be the count’s next victim.

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 from SparkNotes: Context

 from SparkNotes: Vampire Literature

 from SparkNotes: Victorian Science & Medicine