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"St. George's Day" - Locally associated with supernatural unrest. A British reader would be more likely to recall the dragon-slayer.

"She was in such an excited state" - Jonathan is Church of England. An echo of the British Gothic’s long tradition of contrasting a demonized Catholic southern Europe with a sensible homeland. For a good example see the prelude to Radcliffe’s The Italian.

Elizabeth Miller

"I am waiting for the coach which is, of course, late..."

This is one of several rather condescending remarks that Jonathan makes as he travels through Transylvania. Jonathan is typical of many 19th-century British travelers visiting Eastern Europe and comparing it negatively with their homeland.

Baby Jinx

Jonathan's 4 May entry shows one of several errors in Stoker's writing. When the old lady asks Jonathan whether he knows what day it is, Jonathan replies (as an Englishman would) that it is the fourth of May. The old lady agrees with him, but adds that it is St George's Eve.

No Romanian would have agreed with Jonathan because, in the 1890s, Romania was still using the Julian calendar whereas England had already adopted the Gregorian calendar, which was 11 days ahead of the Julian calendar.

The fact that the old lady agrees with Jonathan when he says that it is May 4th is evidence of bad editing on Stoker's part. She should have been confused by, not in agreement with, Jonathan's response because, for her, it was April 22nd.

Marty Busse

Baby Jinx,

Is it possible that Jonathan is simply adhering to local custom? That he is agreeing with the Romanian woman, and not the other way around?

Baby Jinx


Reread the entry. Jonathan is not agreeing with the Romanian woman. Rather, she is agreeing with him that the date is 4 May. To a Romanian in the 1890s, St George's Eve fell on 22 April. Jonathan's reponse to her question ("Do you know what day it is?") certainly would have caused her to be taken aback, just as it would be if someone told you that today's date was a date two weeks in the future.

The only believable explanation for such a discrepancy would be that the peasants in Romania were equally acquainted with the Gregorian calendar as with their own Julian calendar as today we are equally pedestrian in both the metric and the English systems of measurement.

Marty Busse

Ah, good point. And Jonathan is dating the entry May 4, so unelss he's decided to date his journal entries in accord with local custom, Stoker's obviously confused things.

Maybe Dracula, who converted to Catholicism, is going by the Gregorian calendar, and the locals know it? (Note: I'm kidding.)

language hat

"This is one of several rather condescending remarks that Jonathan makes as he travels through Transylvania."

Why "condescending"? Surely you're not implying that transportation ran with Teutonic precision in 19th-century Transylvania? Of course the coach was late; I see this as reportage, not condescension. (I'm not saying he didn't have a condescending attitude, just that this does not prove it.)

When New Yorkers say "Of course the next train didn't come for twenty minutes," they're not being condescending, they're irritated at the inevitable shortcomings of the system.

Elizabeth Miller

Maybe it depends on who does the saying! A "local" can get away with it (as your New York example suggests) but if an outsider says the same thing, then it may be viewed by many as condescending.

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