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Elizabeth Miller

When I used to teach this novel, the students were always surprised at the description of Count Dracula. Doesn't look much like Bela Lugosi, does he? :) Or Lee, or Langella, or Oldman ... Scholars have come up with various speculations as to the physical model: Henry Irving is a popular choice (though again the resemblance is not striking) as are the villains and vampires of earlier Gothic fiction. Of one thing I am certain: it is not based on a portrait of Vlad the Impaler.


Hamlet, Shylock, Iago, and...Dracula? Having The Vampire look like Henry Irving is an interesting idea.


I could look all this up, but, for the benefit of people even more ignorant than me, I'll ask anyway: Didn't I read that Stoker was affiliated with a theater company? And that Dracula was based on his mentor/boss at the theater company? Was that Henry Irving?

Was this particular theater later associated with the playwright John Balderston, who adopted both Dracula and Frankenstein for the stage?

I'm always acutely aware of the possibility that I'm confused.


Elizabeth Miller

Re Stoker, the theatre and Irving

Yes, Stoker was manager of the Lyceum Theatre, owned by Sir Henry Irving, the greatest Shakespearean actor of the 19th century. A case can be made that Irving's roles as villains (especially Mephistopheles) helped Stoker shape his conception of Dracula. Some argue (though I don't happen to agree with them) that Stoker based Dracula on Irving as employer (something like Polidori did with Byron 80 years earlier).

The Lyceum Theatre was destroyed by fire in 1901 (1902?) and the company folded in 1905. So that was too early for any Balderston connection. However, Stoker's widow Florence (Stoker died in 1912) did have contacts with Hamilton Deane who wrote the first Dracula stage play, later adapted for Broadway with Balderston and later further adapted for the 1931 movie (Bela Lugosi).

Elizabeth Miller

There is an interesting inconsistency in this entry. Dracula says, I bid you welcome, Mr Harker." But Drac has no way of knowing that it is Harker who has come. He was expecting Hawkins and does not discover about the switch until he reads the letter Harker brings with him. Now I suppose one culd argue that Dracula can penetrate Harker's mind and catch the switch. But I suspect the explanation is more mundane. In his early conception for Chapter 1, there was to be an exchange of letters between Hawkins and Dracula, in one of which Hawkins explains the substitution. Stoker cut this out but forgot to remove the residue in Chapter 2.

This sort of thing happens elsewhere in the novel. We must keep in mind that Stoker wrote _Dracula_ over a period of six years while working at a full-time job and writing other stories/books. He obviously needed a good editor (Mina, maybe??)

Baby Jinx

Re: D not knowing it is Harker instead of Hawkins

One might also argue that Harker's journal entry of 3 May ["Count Dracula had directed me to go to the Golden Krone Hotel..."] suggests that there was some previous communication between Harker and Dracula. Otherwise, Harker might have written, "Mr Hawkins directed me..."

Elizabeth Miller

That doesn't necessarily mean that he corresponded with Harker personally - just to Hawkins. The Notes do not indicate any correspondence between Drac and Hawkins.
Hawkins had intended to make the trip himself but became ill and sent Harker in his place. He gives Harker a letter for Dracula explaining why he made the change. Would he do that if Dracula already knew Harker was coming?

These loose ends are such fun! :)

Baby Jinx

This is really stretching it but, if a letter could get from Transylvania to England in less than a week (see my comment following 9 May) and if Jonathan has been traveling since sometime in March, Hawkins would have had ample time after Jonathan left to contact Dracula about the switch. Dracula may have been leaving little notes along the way for Jonathan. Who knows?

Of course, the most probable answer is, as you suggest, that this is simply another blooper on Stoker's part.

Elizabeth Miller

Hey - that's one of those things I love about this novel. You can stretch, bend, fill in gaps, etc. - and who's to say you're wrong. There's no other book quite like it. It's nit-picker's heaven! :)

If anyone does not believe me, get a copy of Clive Leatherdale'a annotated edition entitled _Dracula Unearthed_. There are 3500 annotations!

Baby Jinx

Another question about letters to/from Dracula...who would pick them up? Surely there is no postbox for Castle Dracula in the Borgo Pass (or is there?), and what mail carrier would want to go there anyway? Okay, okay, Dracula could fly or drive into town at night to post his letters or he could get one of his gypsies to do it. Or maybe the diligence from Bistritz to Bukovina had the chore of carrying D's mail. Still, the question of mail delivery to and from Castle Dracula presents some interesting questions.

Marty Busse

Baby Jinks,

Mail delivery was, until well into the 20th century, quite a chancy thing, and still is in large parts of the world.

People used to depend on friends, travelers and hired couriers to deliver letters before the rise of national postal systems and the international coordinating system.

At the time of Dracula, you could depend on a letter getting to Budapest or Bucharest, at least, and possibly to Clausenberg (Cluj, nowadays): Romania was a member of the Universal Postal Union from 1875. Presumably Dracula, as you surmise, employs couriers (probably his gypsies) to deliver letters, and has them picked up from the post office in Budapest, Bucharest or Clausenberg.

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David Ash

I suspect Elizabeth's more mundane explanation for Dracula's unexpected knowledge of Harker's name is correct. However, another simple explanation could be that Harker's luggage is labeled with his name (like with Remus Lupin in Prisoner of Azkaban), and Dracula just read the label (after all, Dracula had access to the luggage in his other role of coach driver). At the very least Dracula would know--with no explanation being needed--that the lawyer is not Hawkins, since Hawkins is and would be expected to be an older man, whereas Harker is quite young. Alerted to the change, Dracula might have taken an opportunity to steal a glance at something--if not the luggage, then something else--with Harker's name on it.

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