Postcolonial Rewritings of Bram Stoker´s Dracula: Mudrooroo’s Vampire Trilogy


  • Cornelis Martin Renes



postcolonialism, Indigeneity, Mudrooroo, Colin Johnson, the Fantastic, the Gothic, vampire fiction


Indigenous-Australian fiction has experimented with subgenres of the Fantastic in various ways to secure an empowering location from which to address post/colonial dispossession. In the mid-1990s, the Australian writer and critic Mudrooroo, formerly known as Colin Johnson, proposed Maban Reality as a genre denomination for fiction which introduces the reader to the powerful and empowering universe of the Aboriginal maban or shaman, also known as the Dreaming. Mudrooroo’s coining of Maban Reality was a way of establishing an Australian variant of Magic Realism which defied a European epistemology of the universe, engaging and enabling Dreamtime spirituality as a solid pillar of Aboriginal reality. Mudrooroo had already experimented with a postcolonial reversal of the Gothic, a dark version of the Fantastic, in the first of his Tasmanian quintet, Dr Wooreddy’s Prescription for Enduring the Ending of the World (1983), but left its gloomy resignation to a dire Indigenous fate under colonial rule behind for the upbeat Master of the Ghost Dreaming (1993). Yet, as the result of a deep personal crisis—believed not to have an Aboriginal bloodline, in the mid-1990s he was barred from the tribal affiliation he had long claimed—Mudrooroo resorted to the gloominess of the postcolonial Gothic again in a vampire trilogy to reflect on the devastating impact of colonisation on Australian identity at large. This essay comments on the ways in which he has reflected on the present state of Australianness by rewriting Bram Stoker’s Dracula.