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Elizabeth

What gives with Quincey Morris? A Texan who shoots a bat at close range and misses!!!

Baby Jinx

"It is that we become as him, that we henceforward become foul things of the night like him, without heart or conscience, preying on the bodies and the souls of those we love best."

When vampire wanabees proclaim how much they would like to become vampires, I suspect that they are thinking how it wouldn't be so bad to gain longevity in exchange for having to suck blood from someone they hardly know. But when it is looked at in the way that van Helsing describes "...preying on the bodies and the souls of those we love best...", I wonder if the vampabees feel the same when they imagine themselves sucking that blood from the necks of their children, their mothers, their sisters and brothers, their best friends and damning their souls, too, to an existence of eternal unrest?

THAT is the vampire of Stoker's novel, not the glittery, superpowered playboys of Ricean creation.

Baby Jinx

"I took his right hand, and Lord Godalming his left, Jonathan held my right with his left and stretched across to Mr.Morris. So as we all took hands our solemn compact was made."

I can't help but think of the sealing of the fellowship in _The Lord of the Rings_ and of the quest on which both groups are about to set foot.

Baby Jinx

"[The vampire]...flourish in Germany all over, in France, in India, even in the Chersonese..."

According to my dictionary, "the Chersonese" refers to any of a number of peninsulas, e.g., Jutland, Malay, Crimea, or Gallipoli. Any idea to which Stoker is referring?

Baby Jinx

"He can transform himself to wolf, as we gather from the ship arrival in Whitby, when he tear open the dog..."

It may have already been said, but when Dracula first landed at Whitby, a large mastiff [dogs bred for their huge jaws] was found dead with its throat torn away and its belly slit open. Apparently, it had been fighting with Dracula.

Baby Jinx

"...he can only change himself at noon or at exact sunrise or sunset..."

This may stem from the belief (in Gypsy lore, IIRC) that at certain moments of the day or year (e.g., noon, midnight, equinox, new year's), when the world changes from one day or time to another, these moments are suspensions in time and create portholes through which spirits can move between both worlds and wield their powers.

Baby Jinx

"He must, indeed, have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk, over the great river on the very frontier of Turkey-land."

Just how much did Stoker know about the voivode from whom he took the name "Dracula" for his vampire?

Baby Jinx

"What gives with Quincey Morris? A Texan who shoots a bat at close range and misses!!"

Elementary, my dear Elizabeth. Had Quincey killed the bat, the story would have ended right there, assuming, of course, that Stoker meant for the bat to be Dracula. Another possibility is that the hotshot Texan DID hit the bat but, it being Dracula, the bullet did not hurt him.

Baby Jinx

Sorry about the number of comments, but this is one of my favorite passages.

Elizabeth

One of my favorites too!

Re Chersonese, he's referring to Malay peninsula. His notes contain references to a book entitled "The Golden Chersonese" bi Isabella Bird (has a section about vampires).

Elizabeth

How much did Stoker know about the historical figure (the voivode Dracula) from whom he borrowed the name? This is one of my primary areas of research. It irks me no end to hear the incessant repetition of the Big Fallacy in Dracula studies: that Vlad the Impaler (the name by which the "voivode Dracula" was and is best known) was the inspiration for Stoker's novel, or that Stoker based his Count on him. Nonsense! Rubbish!

What we KNOW that Stoker knew is precisely what is in the novel (identical to what appears in his Notes): that there was a Wallachian voivode named Dracula who fought against the Turks in the 15th century, had momentary success against them, and was succeeded by an unworthy brother. Stoker liked the name because his source stated in a footnote that the word Dracula meant "devil."

That's it. There is not the slightest bit of evidence that Stoker knew that the voivode's name was Vlad, that he was infamous for impaling, what he looked like, the legends that grew up around him, etc ad nauseam. Some scholars have even invented "evidence" to "prove" their flimsy theories (eg that Vlad once dipped bread in the blood of his victims and slurped it down, technically making him a vampire and thus appealing to Stoker). The mind boggles!

I could go on and on - but I won't. If you want to read more, go to www.blooferland.com/drc follow the link for "Bram Stoker and Dracula: Miscellaneous Articles" and read my "Filing for Divorce." If still not convinced, buy my book Dracula: Sense & Nonsense.

In case you haven't noticed - I have strong views on this topic! :)

Baby Jinx

"...that Vlad the Impaler...was the inspiration for Stoker's novel, or that Stoker based his Count on him."

It certainly does give a very different interpretation and feel to the novel to think that Stoker based his vampire on Vlad Tepes as opposed to thinking that Stoker dreamed up his vampire story and found a nice name as he was nearing the end. To some, that difference might be a small thing, but it's the difference between Stoker being an historical fiction writer versus a writer who created a fictional character all on his own. Plus, to think that the vampire Dracula originated in Stoker's mind, not from an historical model, makes Dracula even more horrific!

Elizabeth

"found a nice name as he was nearing the end"

Not quite accurate. He found the name "Dracula" early in the process - in Whitby in the summer of 1890. But he had by this time already decided to write a vampire novel and had selected a name (Count Wampyr).

The decision to use "Dracula" as the title of the novel, however, came very near the end - just before the book went to press.

Baby Jinx

"He found the name "Dracula" early in the process - in Whitby in the summer of 1890."

Hmmm. Then maybe there's some merit to the theory that he "based" his fictional Dracula on the real one.

Elizabeth

Re basing the Count on Vlad:

How could he have based his character on a historical figure about whom he knew hardly anything? Please elaborate.

A much stronger case can be made that he based Count Dracula on the Gothic villain, on earlier literary vampires, even on Henry Irving.

Baby Jinx

"How could he have based his character on a historical figure about whom he knew hardly anything? Please elaborate."

Well, he knew that "there was a Wallachian voivode who fought against the Turks in the 15th century, had momentary success against them, and was succeeded by an unworthy brother," and he knew that the voivode's name was "Dracula" and that it meant "devil." All these things made it into the novel at some point, so it could be argued that Stoker did "base" his character somewhat on that voivode known as Dracula.

But is that enough to say that the voivode Dracula provided the "inspiration" for Stoker's vampire? I don't think so. To provide the inspiration, the character of Vlad Dracula must have been present in Stoker's mind prior to his conception of a vampire from a foreign place coming to play havoc on English society, and that it was Stoker's musings about this historical Dracula that led him to invision his fictional vampire, and I don't think the evidence shows that, does it?

I would be more prepared to argue that Stoker got his idea from earlier literary vampires such as Carmilla or Lord Ruthven. Likewise, Stoker may have borrowed aspects of Henry Irving for his vampire, but I think Stoker would be enraged to hear that Henry Irving "inspired" his creation.

So by "based," I mean that Stoker used what he had learned about the Wallachian voivode Dracula to give a historical presence to the fictional character he was creating, but that is not the same thing as saying that the Wallachian voivode Dracula inspired Stoker to write a story about a vampire, which is what I think certain Dracula scholars would have us believe.

Elizabeth

Re "based". I think what we are dealing here with is a matter of semantics. My dictionary defines the verb "base" as "to form a foundation". To me, to "base" A on B suggests that "B" serves as the foundation of A.

Let's look at it this way. If Stoker had not come across the name "Dracula", the novel would most likely have been much as it is now - with the exclusion of the brief references to the "voivode Dracula who crossed the Danube, fought the Turks", etc. In other words, the foundation (base) would not be significantly affected.


Baby Jinx

Re: "based"

Using your definition of "based," I totally agree. I would argue that it could also be said that the historical attributes given to Stoker's Dracula are "based" on a Wallachian voivode who also went by the name of Dracula, but the argument would be purely one of academic semantics. Besides, we both are "based" in the same argument that Stoker did not fashion his vampire Dracula on the voivode. He merely borrowed a few features, none of which are particularly important to the story...other than the name "Dracula."

Baby Jinx

Is there anything in Stoker's notes to indicate the growth of his thought processes as he was writing _Dracula_, e.g., the dates of when he read such-and-such a book or came up with such-and-such an idea?

Elizabeth

Re Stoker's Notes. While several of the pages are dated (or dates can be determined), many are not. In the case of others, we can apply reasonably accurate dates based on external evidence (eg notes taken while he was on vacation in Whitby during the summer of 1890). In one case, the notes are jotted on a sheet of stationery from a Philadelphia hotel (where, we can trace, he stayed during the winter of 1896).

As important as they are, the Notes pose distinct limitations: several undated sheets make it extremely difficult to establish a clear-cut sequence in the planning stages of the novel; many sheets show no indication as to where they were written; it is impossible to determine when he read many of the individual source-texts that he lists; several sheets contain revisions that were apparently added later; the handwriting is often illegible; the Notes may be incomplete (ie additional pages may have been lost).

But the Notes remain the single most important primary source of information about the writing of "Dracula". Scholars ignore them at their peril.

James Knoppow

Re: But he had by this time already decided to write a vampire novel and had selected a name (Count Wampyr).

I doubt it. Think of the previous English language vampire stories, some of which were very popular. The word 'vampire' wasn't strange to English speaking people, they knew what it meant.

Why would Stoker name his vampire "Vampire?" It would be like writing "Mr. Private Detective was sitting in his office cleaning his nails with a pocket knife when a soft warning knock came on the door. The door opened and Ms.Knockout Babe, Detective's secretary came in."

I suggest that he used Wampyre as a placeholder.

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