Bram Stoker pp 116-133 | Cite as

Exchanging Fantasies: Sex and the Serbian Crisis in The Lady of the Shroud

  • Victor Sage


Stoker’s The Lady of the Shroud (1909) is a double text in several respects: it exploits two relatively different sets of genre expectation — the Gothic novel and the Empire adventure story — and employs two quite different modes of writing to gain the peculiar effect which I shall call here ‘exchanging fantasies’. In the process, the narrative serves two different but related propaganda aims. These are, first, to put another nail in the coffin, so to speak, of the New Woman, by asserting the Masculine values of protective instinct and natural chivalry; and second, to challenge the ‘liberal’ approach to Britain’s foreign policy in the Balkans. The novel plays on traditional (but apparently outdated) British fears of Turkey, and further suggests to the reader the desirability of Serbian expansion against Austria-Hungary, in the wake of the latter’s annexation of Bosnia in 1908.


Blue Mountain Adriatic Coast Sexual Politics Loeb Classical Library Orange Blossom 
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  1. 1.
    Bram Stoker, The Lady of the Shroud (Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1994) p. 2. All subsequent references are to this edition, and are given in the text.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    This is probably a portrait of the American actress Genevieve Ward, to whom the novel is dedicated. Ward married a Russian count at gun-point in an Orthodox church in Warsaw. See: B. Belford, Bram Stoker. A Biography of the Author of Dracula (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1996) pp. 57–9 and 116–17.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    B. Schmidt, The Annexation of Bosnia, 1908–9 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1937) pp. 37–8.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    Ibid., p. 58. But see M. Kent, ed., The Great Powers and the Ottoman Empire (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1984) pp. 178–9, for a description of how this relationship between the British Government and Turkey shifted and eventually, by 1914, reversed.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

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  • Victor Sage

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