Category Archive '“Dracula”'

03 May 2023

Dracula Daily


The old Roman road approaching the Borgo Pass today.

The action of Bram Stoker’s Dracula commences on May 3rd, and you can follow the daily events of the novel on this Substack.


(Kept in shorthand.)

3 May. Bistritz — Left Munich at 8:35 P. M., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late. Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse which I got of it from the train and the little I could walk through the streets. I feared to go very far from the station, as we had arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible. The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East; the most western of splendid bridges over the Danube, which is here of noble width and depth, took us among the traditions of Turkish rule.

We left in pretty good time, and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh. Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale. I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem., get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called “paprika hendl,” and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians. I found my smattering of German very useful here; indeed, I don’t know how I should be able to get on without it.

Having had some time at my disposal when in London, I had visited the British Museum, and made search among the books and maps in the library regarding Transylvania; it had struck me that some foreknowledge of the country could hardly fail to have some importance in dealing with a nobleman of that country. I find that the district he named is in the extreme east of the country, just on the borders of three states, Transylvania, Moldavia and Bukovina, in the midst of the Carpathian mountains; one of the wildest and least known portions of Europe. I was not able to light on any map or work giving the exact locality of the Castle Dracula, as there are no maps of this country as yet to compare with our own Ordnance Survey maps; but I found that Bistritz, the post town named by Count Dracula, is a fairly well-known place. I shall enter here some of my notes, as they may refresh my memory when I talk over my travels with Mina.

In the population of Transylvania there are four distinct nationalities: Saxons in the South, and mixed with them the Wallachs, who are the descendants of the Dacians; Magyars in the West, and Szekelys in the East and North. I am going among the latter, who claim to be descended from Attila and the Huns. This may be so, for when the Magyars conquered the country in the eleventh century they found the Huns settled in it. I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting. (Mem., I must ask the Count all about them.) Read the rest of this entry »

07 Oct 2022

Dracula Now on Substack


Christopher Lee in “Horror of Dracula” (1958).

For years now, Joyce fans have held “Bloomsday” celebrations on June 16th, the date the events described in “Ulysses” were supposed to have taken place.

More recently, we have a substack allowing enthusiasts to follow, day-by-day more or less, the action in Bram Stoker’s classic vampire tale “Dracula.”

New York Times

Confined by the pandemic to his home in Lawrence, Kan., in the summer of 2020, Matt Kirkland pulled an old paperback of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” from his bookshelf and decided to reread it.

“Being trapped in a castle, trying to get out, felt like it had a lot of parallels there,” he said.

He shared the epistolary novel with his 11-year-old daughter. As he read, Kirkland noticed the letters from the novel’s protagonist, Jonathan Harker, were also dated in the summer. He started to synchronize the readings to the dates on the letters, creating a sense that the events in the book were unfolding in real time, and heightening the drama for his daughter, who asked him daily for updates.

By the end of the year — with a lot of pandemic downtime in his hands — he’d decided to expand on the idea, creating “Dracula Daily,” a newsletter that sends a missive from Harker to subscribers’ inboxes following the book’s chronology. Kirkland queued up the posts and began sending them to subscribers in May 2021.

Count Dracula — a recluse plagued by yearning, a macabre flair for theatrics and existential loneliness — turned out to be an unlikely patron saint for the uncertain times, Kirkland said. The newsletter became a success and internet sensation: Subscribers found that serialization made the 125-year-old novel more accessible and created a community of readers at a time when many were looking for connection.


Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait for May 3 for the beginning.

06 Dec 2017

Lost Icelandic Translation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”

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Smithsonian reports that the Icelandic translation of Dracula amounts to a different book, possibly better and more sexy.

The Icelandic version of Dracula is called Powers of Darkness, and it’s actually a different—some say better—version of the classic Bram Stoker tale.

Makt Myrkranna (the book’s name in Icelandic) was “translated” from the English only a few years after Dracula was published on May 26, 1897, skyrocketing to almost-instant fame. Next Friday is still celebrated as World Dracula Day by fans of the book, which has been continuously in print since its first publication, according to Dutch author and historian Hans Corneel de Roos for Lithub. …

The book’s Icelandic text was unknown to English-speaking aficionados of the Dark Prince until recently, de Roos writes, as no one had bothered to re-translate it back into English. Although Dracula scholars knew about the existence of Powers of Darkness as far back as 1986, they didn’t know it was actually a different story. Then, he writes, “literary researcher Richard Dalby reported on the 1901 Icelandic edition and on its preface, apparently written specifically for it by Stoker himself.”

The preface was what got English-language scholars interested in the Icelandic book, but still, nobody thought to compare the actual text of Makt Myrkranna to the original Stoker novel, assuming, as Dalby wrote, that it was “merely an abridged translation of Dracula,” de Roos writes. Finally in 2014, de Roos writes that he went back to the original text of Powers of Darkness to verify something, and discovered that the Icelandic story diverged from the English original.

As de Roos worked on the translation, patterns emerged: many of the characters had different names, the text was shorter and had a different structure, and it was markedly sexier than the English version, he writes. It’s also, he writes, better: “Although Dracula received positive reviews in most newspapers of the day…the original novel can be tedious and meandering….Powers of Darkness, by contrast, is written in a concise, punchy style; each scene adds to the progress of the plot.”

“The nature of the changes has led de Roos to argue that they could not have been the work of Valdimar alone,” according to Iceland Magazine. “Instead he has speculated that Valdimar and Stoker must have collaborated in some way. Stoker could, for example, have sent Valdimar an older version of his story.”


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