Spirited Away: Dream Work, the Outsider, and the Representation of Transylvania in the Pied Piper and Dracula Myth in Britain and Germany
We may question the representation of Bram Stoker’s and Robert Browning’s Transylvania but we need to be careful with our contemporary desire to tie the texts too closely to their socio-historical contexts. This approach has proved insightful with regard to otherness, but it can constitute an attempt to rationalise the gothic elements of a novel or fairy tale, dispelling, too, the enchantment evoked in the phrase ‘once upon a time’. Viewed in this way, we can concur with Bloch that ‘literary activity becomes a special form of dream work’. Our understanding of these texts is enhanced if we are able to set a reading which uncovers the progressive potential of their visionary character against the kinds of reading which situates them in location and history and uncovers their social function. This is, following Fredric Jameson, to consider the dialectic between the ‘utopian’ (after Bloch) and the ideological.