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Dracula

Dracula is an 1897 novel by Bram Stoker. Told in an epistolary format (through letters, diary entries and newspaper articles), it starts by following solicitor Jonathan Harker as he goes on a business trip to stay at the castle of a Transylvanian noble, Count Dracula. Harker escapes the castle after discovering that Dracula is a vampire, and the Count moves to England and plagues the seaside town of Whitby. A small group, led by Abraham Van Helsing, hunt Dracula and, in the end, kill him.

To write Dracula, Stoker drew extensively on Romanian mythology and history, particularly that of its region of Transylvania, of course. There are suggestions that the figure of Dracula himself might have been inspired by Vlad the Impaler or Elizabeth Báthory, but neither is mentioned in Stoker’s ~100 surviving pages of notes, so there’s dispute.

The novel was received positively on its release, although it didn’t make Stoker a lot of money. It’s has become one of the most influential works of English literature, with Dracula himself for example forming the archetype for vampire characters thereafter (e.g. his ability to transform into a bat, and his hatred of sunlight, garlic and crucifixes). It’s considered a work of Gothic fiction. There’ve been over 30 film adaptions of the story.

The 1901 Icelandic translation of Dracula, Makt Myrkranna (Powers of Darkness) was discovered in the late 1990s to be substantially different from the original novel, with changed character names, an abridged length, and more sex. It’s kind of amazing that no one ever thought to compare the two versions before that. At least one scholar reckons that the Icelandic version is better. This version was translated back into English and published under the title Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula.

The Occidental book Salute, Jonathan!, which is a “teach yourself Occidental through the natural method” resource, is substantially based on the story of Dracula.

See Also / References