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David40

The important part of this passage, I think, is that Dracula allows himself to be seen for what he is. Presumably Dracula could travel around the castle in slightly more human ways if he wanted to keep his true nature secret. Jonathan clearly 'knows too much' at this point, and his period of usefulness to Dracula must be nearing its end. Making even a pretense of concealing his true nature is now too much effort for Dracula to be bothered with. Dracula is only keeping Jonathan alive at all because he does not expect Jonathan could escape alive, and has small uses for Jonathan that may still be of some benefit to Dracula.

Elizabeth

The scene of the Count crawling down the castle wall (perhaps my favorite in the entire book) is depicted on the cover of the 1901 abridged edition of the novel (first paperback).

It was also the inspiration for the following lines in T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land": "And bats with baby faces in the violet light/ Whistled, and beat their wings/ And crawled head downward down a blackened wall."

David40

I find the scene of the Count crawling down the castle wall to certainly be one of the most disturbing in the entire book. He is so obviously mocking Jonathan and all of Jonathan's 'civilized' ways. He (Dracula) is saying (at least the way I see it) 'this is what I am and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it'.

David40

Quick question, Elizabeth--why was an abridged version of the novel published so soon after the original novel? I mean, novels today are not usually changed significantly just four years after publication--what was the issue with the original version that substantial modifications were deemed necessary?

Elizabeth

Re abridged edition - a cheaper book for the less affluent general market. That's the short answer. I published an article about this edition and how it differs from the original. You'll find it at www.blooferland.com/drc
Follow the link for Stoker & Dracula: miscellaneous articles.

David40

It is interesting that a fifteen percent reduction in the length of the text was significant enough to mean the difference between the book being affordable or not. Of course, presumably there were other changes, like going to paperback, that also reduced the cost.

Elizabeth

There was a considerable reduction in cost. As you can see on the cover illustration, the paperback sold for 6d (6 pence). The hardcover first edition sold for 6 shillings. (Prior to the 1970s when British currency went decimal, there were 12 pence in a shilling, 20 shillings in a pound.)

A paperback is much cheaper to produce than a hardcover. I suspect the paper itself would have been of cheaper quality.

What interests me the most is the material that Stoker considered expendable (assuming he made the deletions, which is likely). If you scroll past the end of my article at the Dracula Research Centre (past the endnotes), I have included some of the major passages that were deleted, including some from the early chapters that we have already been reading.

David40

Thanks for the pointer to your article with the deletions, Elizabeth. Since we are reading this novel day by day, I'll concern myself only with passages in the text as we have seen thus far. Most of the deletions I agree with, at least in the context of the novel being deemed to have 'too many notes' and some deletions being unavoidable. One that you commented on that I think cannot be deleted (but was):

"The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East..."

This is central to the novel--the idea of two worlds clashing--and shouldn't be deleted. On the other hand, the description of the menus at hotel restaurants, while setting the stage, can presumably be dropped without losing much of the meaning. The other passage that I consider crucial, that was removed, is the following:

"The warlike days are over. Blood is too precious a thing in these days of dishonourable peace; and the glories of the great races are as a tale that is told."

Actually I note that this passage seems to have been deleted twice--once in the 1901 abridged edition, and again as part of a larger section that looks like it should have appeared in this online edition on May 8 (or possibly May 9--it being a 'midnight' entry on May 8), but seems to have been omitted. I presume its omission was intentional in 1901 but a simple oversight here.

In any event, it is an important passage. For one thing, it introduces the concept of blood being important to Dracula--rather a significant idea, I'd say. But it also establishes some sense of what kind of a man Dracula was in life. He was probably a warrior--a man who believed in peace only by achieving it through war. It also is a perceptive, and, I think, accurate comment on the historical times in which the novel was written. It was a fin-de-siecle era when people were reflecting on a century that was drawing to a close. There were great unresolved tensions between nations, but for the most part these tensions were to be allowed to remain unaddressed until early in the new century. Hence the sense of it being a time of dishonourable peace--the stresses between countries were not settled, but they were being allowed to fester (at least at the level of the great powers) for a time.

The cynic in me wonders if this is the real reason this passage was deleted, and if perhaps this passage was omitted at the insistence of the publisher, not Stoker. The upper classes didn't want the lower classes to know they were soon to again be sent off to war, even though that was inevitable by 1901. But that is pure speculation on my part.

Bryan

A copy and paste error on my part. The passage is restored to 8 May; please refresh the page, read and enjoy.

David40

Thanks Bryan!!!

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