XIV, 2018, 1

Propaganda and Popularization: the Printed Stories about Vlad Țepeș in the Context of 1488 | p. 45–60

Dracula, Nürnberg, popularization, printing, Vlad Țepeș


In the fall of 1488, there appeared in Nürnberg the first printed work about Dracula, the literary character modeled on Vlad Țepeș, the ruler of Wallachia. It was shortly followed by other editions on the same topic. Why did a second wave of popularization of the stories about Dracula started just at the end of the ʼ80s of the 15th century and why exactly at Nürnberg? The propaganda battle between Emperor Frederick III and Matthias Corvinus was the premise for the onset of the stories about Vlad Țepeș in 1488. The stories originated from around the Hungarian court, whereas the denigration belonged to the supporters of the Emperor. The social, political, economic and cultural milieu of Nürnberg was an appropriate place where these stories could have had success in print. The specific context in which they appeared is linked to the Imperial Diet from 1487 and the canceled battle from 1488 against Matthias Corvinus, who was depicted as an ally of the Turks by the imperial side. The present study also discusses the social, cultural, commercial and political context which created favorable premises for the publication of the first preserved printing on Dracula.