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Dracula and the Eastern Question: British and French Vampire by Matthew Gibson (auth.)

By Matthew Gibson (auth.)

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Extra info for Dracula and the Eastern Question: British and French Vampire Narratives of the Nineteenth-Century Near East

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47–8). The new, 19-year-old Austrian Emperor, Franz-Josef, abolished autonomy and asserted direct rule over all of his Empire: neoabsolutism replaced the local constitutions allowed by his predecessors as all was brought under a Viennese bureaucracy in which he had the right to appoint the main ministers but not the parliament. However, this proved untenable, and by 1865 the Emperor was bowing to the pressure for appeasing the Hungarians (pp. 62–3). Deak’s proposition that the Empire be drawn up along dualist grounds eventually led to the Ausgleich of 1867, in which Franz-Josef refashioned the Empire into two, allowing the Hungarians separate citizenship, their own power of taxation, and the withdrawal of the imperial patent over conscription.

The Dangers of Philhellenism to Italian Liberation 25 There is also a ‘traditional appearance’ which corresponds to that of Lord Ruthven, which may mean simply that he is one of a brood, or else that the vampires, having never actually been decapitated, are in fact all one man, Lord Ruthven: a man whose exterior is entirely civilised. These two elements of Polidori’s narrative, the superiority of peasant Greece over its civilised antecedents, and the presentation of the local vampire as being a civilised invader, whose real-life basis on Lord Byron we may take as being an integral part of the story, point to a very different political view to that openly, if ironically, expressed at the beginning of the passage by the narrator: namely, that The Vampyre constitutes an attack on philhellenism, with Polidori understanding that the modern Greek peasant culture is perfectly adequate and sufficient to itself under Ottoman rule, and that the philhellene is the potential ruiner of calm, who, with his misguided attempts at resurrecting the classical Greek culture, will destroy the edenic soul of modern peasant Greece (the initial attentions of Aubrey the philhellene which lead Ruthven to Ianthe).

It may well have been the very ‘Address to the English’ from Milan in the December 1813 edition of L’Italico which inspired Polidori to such passion. 28 His illustrious patient Lord Byron, however, did not share Polidori’s anti-Napoleonic views when they first crossed the continent to Geneva in 1816 (he was to be converted later [MacCarthy, p. 471]), although they were both agreed that the current Austrian occupation was insupportable. Polidori’s nationalist views were confirmed on his visit first to Lake Geneva as Byron’ s private physician, and then later during his visit to Italy itself, even if they were now directed against Austria rather than France.

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