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Drafting Dracula

Jim Steinmeyer dissects Dracula in his latest book, Who Was Dracula?: Bram Stoker’s Trail of Blood. From "the attack of the sensual vampire brides; Dracula’s multiple houses in London; the vampire hunters sharing quarters in an insane asylum; the vampire’s dapper daytime outfit, complete with a straw hat; and the part–Wild West, part–Gypsy caravan chase," Stoker's Dracula was more colorful than many later reincarnations of him, Steinmeyer reminds us.


An illusionist and author of books like The Glorious Deception and Hiding the Elephant, Steinmeyer says "Dracula is the vampire in pop culture today. His story has been translated into different characters, but even when different vampire stories are told, like Anne Rice’s vampires, they are deliberately pivoted off of Stoker’s most famous elements. In other words, Bram Stoker wrote the book, and made all the rules."

And what about the name? Bram Stoker decided that the name "Count Wampyr” was out when he heard of the Romanian slayer of enemies, Vlad Tepes, son of the Dragon. The slayer named Spike (Tepes means he who spikes) only provided the name, here are 7 Real-Life Inspirations For Dracula. Joseph Geringer at the crime library has a long article about the real Vlad Tepes.

Slate's The Vault unearthed Bram Stoker's draft for naming Dracula, an outline also including other characters in his book.

"Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula (1897), returned to this page again and again while drafting his novel between 1890–1896. The sheet, labeled “Historiae Personae,” lists the narrative’s major players and shows how Stoker changed his mind about their roles and characterizations as he moved through the writing process," writes The Vault's Rebecca Onion.


Image: Bram Stoker. Dracula: notes and outline, [ca. 1890-ca. 1896], page 1, Cast of characters. “Historiae Personae.” EL3 f.S874d MS, from The Vault, via Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia

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