Bram Stoker’s Journal about Dracula Found After A Century. Should it affect how we read Dracula?

October 29th, 2011

 

 

 

The last entry of Stoker’s journal in 1881 hints at a major character he would use in “Dracula.” In the novel, Renfield is an asylum inmate who has delusions that compel him to eat living beings, including flies, to gain their life force. The vampire Count Dracula seizes on Renfield’s weakness and offers him as many creatures as he can eat in exchange for his eternal devotion.

It doesn’t work out well for Renfield in the end.

In his journal, Stoker wrote: “I once knew a boy who put so many flies into a bottle that they had not room to die.”

In another passage, the author seems to be alluding to a vampire’s inability to see his own reflection. “Story of man who reflects everybody’s self who meets him,” he wrote.

Stoker’s interest in spookiness shows up in other journal entries.

“A man builds up his shadow on a wall bit by bit by adding to substance,” he wrote. “Suddenly the shadow becomes alive.” The passage is believed to be a kernel of the “The Shadow Builder,” one of Stoker’s first attempts at a horror mystery.

This is like when J.K. Rowling said Dumbledore was gay after the final book had been written. I don’t like legislative history! Let’s read the book by itself. Though, this is slightly better. Rather than¬†incorporating¬†statements of disparate legislators, this is solely the private thoughts of Stoker. Also, since the journal was private–and he likely never intended it for mass consumption–he wrote it for himself, and not the public. This increases its reliability.