Reading in Progress: Dracula, Footnote Quotes, and Photographic Skeletons

Dracula - Bram Stoker

Yesterday I added this link mid-post - I'll add it again because I explored it a bit more and had fun with it: The Dracula Project. It's the book text with clickable footnotes, including bibliographical references. The notes so far have been in some of the same parts as this Norton edition, but different commentary.


Which reminds me - I saw Sabine Baring-Gould cited there and this seems as good a place as any to pass on his 1865 book: The Book of Were-Wolves, being an account of a terrible superstition (Internet Archive link). I keep meaning to get around to reading it.


Anyway, I have a feeling I'm going to keep popping back in here and posting quotes from the Norton edition footnotes, because they are somewhat fun.


p. 29, Jonathan Harker has documented the house/property in London that's been bought for Dracula:


"...I could not enter it, as I had not the key of the door leading to it from the house, but I have taken with my Kodak (2) views of it from various points."


Pause here a moment to realize that those of you reading this are still within the generation that will remember (perhaps only as something vaguely mentioned) that Kodak once meant film (analog) camera.


Footnote (2) - which made me think "wow, now that would be great in a film!" - bolding is mine:

"This early camera is one of the many modern gadgets in the novel. Stoker's working notes contain a reference to Dracula registering as a skeleton on photographic film, an effect omitted in the finished novel."

Actually that could be great - or really, really cheesy, now that I think of it and the possibility of bad special effects.


p 31, footnote about the scene where Dracula breaks Harker's shaving mirror (he doesn't taste Harker's blood from the razor cut btw), calling it "a foul bauble of man's vanity." The footnote (7) was interesting:

"Dracula does not sup; he does not smoke; he finds mirrors vain baubles. Altogether he is a Puritanical presence, though he is often written of - and filmed - as a sybaritic liberator. His dark clothes, his obsessive memories, and rage against human gratification are reminiscent of Henry Irving's famous Hamlet, first staged at the Lyceum in 1874."


I've always found it weird that the default vampire has become one that is safe and wants sex  - instead of killing. Because you'd think there'd be a lot more of them that would pretend to be a lover just long enough to get close to that TSTL heroine and then have a nice meal. I know there are still some vampires like that in both horror and supernatural romance books - it's just odd to me that there aren't more. These things survive on blood after all, and into self-preservation, not love. It's not like real world predators have all disappeared, or that it's no longer a scary monster in theory.


Henry Irving, who Stoker once worked for as a personal assistant, is thought to be the man Stoker had in mind when he described Dracula. Apparently Stoker felt a play of the book would be a great starring role for Irving.


Random vaguely related links!


8 Things You Didn't Know About Halloween - PBS NewsHour

Even PBS is getting on the "people will click numbered lists!" train. From point number three:

"Vampires in contemporary pop culture are often demonic aristocrats or people plagued by a virus. But in the 1600 and 1700s, it was believed that people became vampires because they had been criminals in life or had done sinful things, said Titus Hjelm, lecturer at University College London."

Because I always google academics in lists like this - because they may have written a book I might want - I found Hjelm's page at the college. And had to smile because he has a widow's peak, which seemed appropriate.


The rest of the list is also interesting - and I'll repost their link in number 7 about the War of the World's panic from an article posted last year:


The Myth of the War of the World's Panic - Slate Magazine


I have a moment of missing teaching every year because I'd always play parts of the 1938 radio broadcast and discuss this bit. It's always been assumed that the scale of the panic was exaggerated - because it made a good story. People did panic, it just wasn't a vast, "call the national guard" scale of problem.