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Comments

Ronit

Stoker didn't have much of a ear for the way women actually talked or wrote letters, did he? These last two letters seem so much more contrived than Jonathan's writing.

Elizabeth Miller

Re the P.S. (this is a secret). How shocked (or flattered, in her flighty way?) Lucy would be if she knew her private correspondence was being posted on the World Wide Web! :) :)
Some day, someone should rewrite "Dracula" using today's technology (e-mails, faxes, text messaging, websites, ftp, etc).

Elizabeth Miller

This is nit-picky, I know. But I have the advantage of access to Stoker's Notes for Dracula which include a calendar of events that he drew up (by date and day of the week) along with his sketchy outline of the plot.

This letter (Lucy to Mina) could not have been written on May 9. Note that though it is undated it mentions that it was written on a Wednesday. I checked Stoker's calendar and May 9 was on a Tuesday. In his edition of the novel (Dracula Unearthed) Leatherdale notes that this letter would have been written on either May 10 or May 17. But again, Stoker's Calendar supplies the answer: for Wednesday May 17, Stoker has scrawled "Lucy's letter to Mina."

Jay Oatway

This is for Ms. Elizabeth Miller, who I can see is one of the greatest experts on Dracula this blog could hope to have participating: please stop nit-picking about the dates.

You say, "Some day, someone should rewrite "Dracula" using today's technology (e-mails, faxes, text messaging, websites, ftp, etc)." Well, this is the day, except that the technology is under your nose--it's the blog.

This is the most ingenious adaptation of a book in a long time: late 19th century journals and letters meets early 21st century journals and comments.

The best part of this project is the open comments. And, Ms. Miller, I mean in no way to discourage you from making your much valued and insightful contributions. But, please, just let the story publish in its blog form in the way that blogs always publish (i.e. with little regard for anything resembling timeliness). There's no point to your criticism.

We should all rejoice that this story is being blogged so close to the dates in the book.

Marty Busse

Professor Miller,

I for one, am enojying your comments and wish you would continue making them.

Elizabeth Miller

Oops - sorry! I thought this was an open discussion. Guess not. :(

Benjamin

I found this blog through http://mvaldemar.blogspot.com and am really looking forward to following the novel and comments. Great idea and I'm glad you're blogging it.
I also pimped it on my site:
http://carnacki.blogspot.com/2005/05/dracula-blog.html

Guinn Berger

This really is an excellent way to re-read Dracula, almost like hearing it read aloud, by virtue of being able to read the comments posted after the excerpt.

By the way, Elizabeth Miller didn't write anything obnoxious or out of line, but Jay Oatway and Marty Busse certainly did. Their comments to her were snide, immature, and completely uncalled for. If the two of them have nothing better than that to say, I for one would be glad of their silence.

Baby Jinx

Elizabeth Miller wrote "This letter (Lucy to Mina) could not have been written on May 9..."

Actually, it was Mina's letter to Lucy that was dated May 9, another thing I find to be highly unlikely when you consider that Mina tells Lucy she has "just had a few hurried lines from Jonathan from Transylvania."

According to Jonathan's diary, he was in Munich on May 1, Vienna on May 2, reached Bistritz on May 3, and the Castle on May 5. If he posted a letter to Mina from Transylvania, he must have done so on May 3rd or 4th, meaning that the letter got all the way to England in less than a week, an event I find hard to believe given Jonathan's other comments about the backwardness of the area where trains and carriages are always running behind.

Heck, it takes nearly a week nowadays for a letter to fly from my fingers in the US to a friend in London, and we have the advantage of supersonic jets.

I suppose we could explain that little discrepancy away by saying that Jonathan sent his letter by wire (as is done later in the story when the men communicate with Van Helsing). Or we might hypothesize that Mina didn't discriminate between places like Munich and Vienna and blanketed them all under "Transylvania."

Bryan

I can easily see another technologically-updated Dracula version, a la Saberhagen's Dracula Tapes. Now we can add mobile phones and social software. Harker shows Dracula his Flickr account images of Carfax - Seward podcasts - Renfeld must be blogging - will van Helsing set up his planning wiki in time?

On another point, this *is* an open discussion, and I'm very glad for the feedback. Elizabeth Miller is the world's expert on this novel, and I appreciate her contributions, without which this blog, and the field of Dracula studies, would be lessened.

Elizabeth Miller

Nit-pick alert!!!

BJ: No, I was referring to the Lucy-Mina letter. In the text it is undated (just "Wednesday"). It was posted on the blog on May 9, along with the Mina-Lucy letter - which is what prompted my note. Hardly an earthshaking point. :) But one of the fascinating things about "Dracula" is the text: its gaps, its inconsistencies, its richness.

Byran: Thanks for the vote of confidence. Not that I'd allow such a little thing to deter me from posting. Remember - I spent 40 years in the classroom. I've encountered it all! :)

Baby Jinx

Elizabeth,

I get it. You were referring to the blog posting on 9 May of Lucy's undated letter to Mina. I can see how that might have happened, since Lucy's letter follows Mina's May 9th letter in the text. The next entry after Lucy's letter is going to be another letter from Lucy to Mina on 24 May. But we'll have to back up because there's Jonathan's May 12th entry where he is asked by Dracula to write three letters.

It will be interesting to see how all this bouncing around of dates will be handled in the blog. For example, the log of the Demeter spans almost a month (from July 6 to August 4th). Will each log entry be posted on the date of writing or will the entire log be posted on the day of its finding? How do you think the log should be handled?

Elizabeth Miller

Good question. Don't know what Bryan has in mind, but I'd be inclined to favor strict chonology. That's really the point of the exercise, isn't it - to allow us to relive the events in the order in which they actually happened. So the log entries should be recorded on the dates of writing. There'll be quite a bit of hopping back and forth in Chapters 6 and 7, but that's the nature of the beast. It is such a fascinating way to read the book. Thanks again, Bryan!

Baby Jinx

I tend to agree. The purpose of a blog, as I understand it, is to read the story events in real time. Consequently, the Demeter log should probably be spread over a month of posting (hint hint, Bryan).

BTW, does anyone know where the word "blog" comes from?

Ignatz

this is a wonderful web log (hence blog)! please don't stop commenting, ms miller.

Bryan

Indeed, I'm hoping to stick to the close chronology. Note already the overlap of the Mina-Lucy letters with Jonathan's journal.
I'm fascinated by how differently the novel reads in this format. Please, everyone, post about your reactions here! I'm enjoying what looks like a budding global discussion.

"blog" is a contraction of "web blog."

HP

Hmm... and all along I thought "blog" was a portmanteau of "blood" and "fog." ("Mind where you step," he said. "The moors are shrouded in blog.") ;-[)

As far as the reading experience: We're all here pretty much from the beginning, which encourages real-time reading. But later visitors might read the top post, and then work backward from there. Consider a less well known fictional blog like The Outbreak ( http://theoutbreak.blogspot.com/ ). How _do_ you read it? Or don't you?

An alternative blogging scenario for Dracula might be to set up a group blog, of which Jonathan, Lucy, Mina, van Helsing, etc. are all members. Would Lucy post her own letter to Mina on the blog, or would Mina post Lucy's letter after receiving it? Who would post the ship's log, and when?

Guinn Berger

Having just re-read his comment, I'd like to apologize to Marty Busse. What I perceived as sarcasm looks very genuine to me now. Sorry, I over-reacted to the message just prior to yours, and lumped you together with the author of it.

I'm loving this blog and the discussion, though.

Bryan

HP, I love your alternate etymology. I'm blogging it at Infocult right now, in fact.

Thank you, Guinn. Keep on reading!

Writing-desk Raven

Detail is in keeping with modernities of Kodaks and phonographs:
we don't today much have the advantage of supersonic jets.

20:37 11 May, Baby Jinx wrote,
>
Heck, it takes nearly a week nowadays for a letter to fly from my fingers in the US to a friend in London, and we have the advantage of supersonic jets.
>

The time involved today is in handling and routing the volume of mail. Apart from few military flights (and weapons and spacecraft launches), we don't have much supersonic traffic. It's just too expensive, in technology and energy. The Concorde has not been flying for some years now, and it never carried much mail; it was too expensive.
We have "transonic subsonic" in commercial jet aircraft: we have jet airliners. The numerous complexities of higher speeds are just too much. Like the vaunted superiority of Jonathan Harker's modern world, the hubris of modern technology today stands on a veneer--and like Jonathan Harker's--it remains largely more in popular imagination than in reality. Bram Stoker's novel remains more than the writer may have imagined; indeed, there's nearly a genre of such fiction.
-W-d R

[ PS: 'found this serendipitously after other research (thank you Gopi Sundaram) ]

James Knoppow

I wonder where Dracula's clothes go to when he changes into a mist, or a wolf, or a bat?

I wonder if Dracula's heart beats when the sun is down. It doesn't when he's resting in his soil. How does the new blood get pumped around?

Oh, well, I wondered some things about Superman too, in my youth...

brian

creepy.............!!!!!!!!!!!!

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