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10 Writing Techniques from Bram Stoker’s Dracula

by Bram Stoker

❶The New Annotated Dracula. A lightning bolt then strikes the tomb, destroying it and incinerating the undead screaming countess.

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Bram Stoker
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A small section was removed from a draft of the final chapter, in which Dracula's castle falls apart as he dies, hiding the fact that vampires were ever there.

As we looked there came a terrible convulsion of the earth so that we seemed to rock to and fro and fell to our knees. At the same moment with a roar which seemed to shake the very heavens the whole castle and the rock and even the hill on which it stood seemed to rise into the air and scatter in fragments while a mighty cloud of black and yellow smoke volume on volume in rolling grandeur was shot upwards with inconceivable rapidity.

Then there was a stillness in nature as the echoes of that thunderous report seemed to come as with the hollow boom of a thunder-clap — the long reverberating roll which seems as though the floors of heaven shook.

Then down in a mighty ruin falling whence they rose came the fragments that had been tossed skywards in the cataclysm. From where we stood it seemed as though the one fierce volcano burst had satisfied the need of nature and that the castle and the structure of the hill had sunk again into the void.

We were so appalled with the suddenness and the grandeur that we forgot to think of ourselves. Between and , Stoker was a business manager for the Lyceum Theatre in London, where he supplemented his income by writing a large number of sensational novels, his most successful being the vampire tale Dracula published on 26 May Throughout the s and s, authors such as H.

Wells wrote many tales in which fantastic creatures threatened the British Empire. Invasion literature was at a peak, and Stoker's formula was very familiar by to readers of fantastic adventure stories, of an invasion of England by continental European influences. Victorian readers enjoyed Dracula as a good adventure story like many others, but it did not reach its legendary status until later in the 20th century when film versions began to appear.

Before writing Dracula , Stoker spent seven years researching European folklore and stories of vampires, being most influenced by Emily Gerard 's essay "Transylvania Superstitions" which includes content about a vampire myth. Later he also claimed that he had a nightmare, caused by eating too much crab meat, about a "vampire king" rising from his grave. Although a widely known vampire novel, Dracula was not the first.

John Polidori created the image of a vampire portrayed as an aristocratic man, like the character of Dracula, in his tale " The Vampyre " The Lyceum Theatre where Stoker worked between and was headed by actor-manager Henry Irving , who was Stoker's real-life inspiration for Dracula's mannerisms and who Stoker hoped would play Dracula in a stage version.

The Dead Un-Dead was one of Stoker's original titles for Dracula , and the manuscript was entitled simply The Un-Dead up until a few weeks before publication. Stoker's notes for Dracula show that the name of the count was originally "Count Wampyr", but Stoker became intrigued by the name "Dracula" while doing research, after reading William Wilkinson 's book An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia with Political Observations Relative to Them London , [20] which he found in the Whitby Library and consulted a number of times during visits to Whitby in the s.

In the present day however, dracul means "the devil". Costing six shillings, the novel was bound yellow cloth and titled in red letters. Dracula was not an immediate bestseller when it was first published, although reviewers were unstinting in their praise.

According to literary historians Nina Auerbach and David J. Skal in the Norton Critical Edition, the novel has become more significant for modern readers than it was for Victorian readers, most of whom enjoyed it just as a good adventure story.

It reached its broad and iconic status only later in the 20th century when the movie versions appeared. It did not make much money for Stoker. Murnau's unauthorized adaptation of the story was released in theatres in in the form of Nosferatu. Stoker's widow took affront and, during the legal battle that followed, the novel's popularity started to grow. Nosferatu was followed by a highly successful stage adaptation, touring the UK for three years before arriving in the US where Stoker's creation caught Hollywood's attention and, after the American movie version was released, the book has never been out of print.

However, some Victorian fans were ahead of the time, describing it as "the sensation of the season" and "the most blood-curdling novel of the paralysed century". I think it is the very best story of diablerie which I have read for many years. Similarly good reviews appeared when the book was published in the U.

In the last several decades, literary and cultural scholars have offered diverse analyses of Stoker's novel and the character of Count Dracula. Bentley reads Dracula as an embodiment of the Freudian id. Senf reads the novel as a response to the powerful New Woman, [42] while Christopher Craft sees Dracula as embodying latent homosexuality and sees the text as an example of a 'characteristic, if hyperbolic instance of Victorian anxiety over the potential fluidity of gender roles'.

Arata interprets the events of the novel as anxiety over colonialism and racial mixing , [44] and Talia Schaffer construes the novel as an indictment of Oscar Wilde. Bruno Starrs understands the novel to be a pro- Catholic pamphlet promoting proselytization. Dracula is a work of fiction, but it does contain some historical references; although it is a matter of conjecture and debate as to how much historical connection was deliberate on Stoker's part.

During his main reign — , "Vlad the Impaler" is said to have killed from 40, to , European civilians political rivals, criminals, and anyone that he considered "useless to humanity" , mainly by impaling.

The sources depicting these events are records by Saxon settlers in neighbouring Transylvania who had frequent clashes with Vlad III. Vlad III is revered as a folk hero by Romanians for driving off the invading Ottoman Turks , of whom his impaled victims are said to have included as many as , Historically, the name "Dracula" is derived from a Chivalric order called the Order of the Dragon , founded by Sigismund of Luxembourg then king of Hungary to uphold Christianity and defend the Empire against the Ottoman Turks.

Vlad II Dracul , father of Vlad III, was admitted to the order around , after which Vlad II wore the emblem of the order and later, as ruler of Wallachia, his coinage bore the dragon symbol, from which the name "Dracula" is derived since "dracul" in Romanian means "the dragon".

The name "Dracula" became popular in Romania after publication of Stoker's book. Contrary to popular belief, the name Dracula does not translate to "son of the devil" in Romanian , which would be " pui de drac ". Stoker came across the name Dracula in his reading on Romanian history , and chose this to replace the name Count Wampyr originally intended for his villain.

Who was it but one of my own race who as Voivode crossed the Danube and beat the Turk on his own ground? This was a Dracula indeed! Woe was it that his own unworthy brother, when he had fallen, sold his people to the Turk and brought the shame of slavery on them!

Was it not this Dracula, indeed, who inspired that other of his race who in a later age again and again brought his forces over the great river into Turkey-land; who, when he was beaten back, came again, and again, though he had to come alone from the bloody field where his troops were being slaughtered, since he knew that he alone could ultimately triumph!

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. Many of Stoker's biographers and literary critics have found strong similarities to the earlier Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu 's classic of the vampire genre Carmilla.

The Irish legend of Abhartach has also been suggested as a source. Particularly themes of being buried while alive. In , McNally additionally suggested that Stoker was influenced by the history of Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory , who allegedly tortured and killed between 36 and young women. Haining and Tremaine maintain that, during this visit, Stoker was especially impressed by Slains Castle's interior and the surrounding landscape. Miller and Leatherdale question the stringency of this connection.

Many of the scenes in Whitby and London are based on real places that Stoker frequently visited, although he distorts the geography for the sake of the story in some cases. One scholar has suggested that Stoker chose Whitby as the site of Dracula's first appearance in England because of the Synod of Whitby , given the novel's preoccupation with timekeeping and calendar disputes.

The short story "Dracula's Guest" was posthumously published in , two years after Stoker's death. It was, according to most contemporary critics, the deleted first or second chapter from the original manuscript [66] and the one which gave the volume its name, [6]: It is Walpurgis Night and the young Englishman foolishly leaves his hotel, in spite of the coachman's warnings, and wanders through a dense forest alone.

Along the way, he feels that he is being watched by a tall and thin stranger possibly Count Dracula. The short story climaxes in an old graveyard where the Englishman, caught in a blizzard, takes refuge in the marble tomb of "Countess Dolingen of Gratz". Within the tomb, he sees the Countess—apparently asleep and healthy—but before he can investigate further, a mysterious force throws him clear of the tomb.

A lightning bolt then strikes the tomb, destroying it and incinerating the undead screaming countess. The Englishman then loses consciousness. He awakens to find a "gigantic" wolf lying on his chest and licking at his throat; however, the wolf merely keeps him warm and protects him until help arrives.

When the Englishman is finally taken back to his hotel, a telegram awaits him from his expectant host Dracula, with a warning about "dangers from snow and wolves and night".

Dacre Stoker and J. Barker will write a prequel to Dracula titled Dracul. An interpretation of the missing pages of the original novel, it was pieced together from Bram Stoker's editorial notes, artifacts, and journals. The story of Dracula has been the basis for numerous films and plays. Stoker himself wrote the first theatrical adaptation, which was presented at the Lyceum Theatre on 18 May under the title Dracula, or The Undead shortly before the novel's publication and performed only once, in order to establish his own copyright for such adaptations.

This adaption was first published only a century later in October Murnau 's unauthorised film adaptation Nosferatu was released in , and the popularity of the novel increased considerably, owing to an attempt by Stoker's widow to have the film removed from public circulation.

Galeen transplanted the action of the story from s England to s Germany and reworked several characters, dropping some such as Lucy and all three of her suitors , and renaming others Dracula became Orlok , Jonathan Harker became Thomas Hutter, Mina became Ellen, and so on. This attempt failed to avoid a court case, however; Florence Stoker sued Prana Film, and all copies of the film were ordered to be destroyed.

However, the company was bankrupt, and Stoker only recovered her legal fees in damages. Some copies survived and found their way into theatres. Eventually, Florence Stoker gave up the fight against public displays of the film. Florence Stoker licensed the story to playwright Hamilton Deane , whose stage play adaptation toured England for several years before settling down in London.

Balderston to revise Deane's script in advance of its American premiere. Balderston significantly compressed the story, most notably consolidating or removing several characters. The Deane play and its Balderston revisions introduced an expanded role and history for Renfield, who now replaced Jonathan Harker as Dracula's solicitor in the first part of the story; combined Mina Harker and Lucy Westenra into a single character named Lucy ; and omitted both Arthur Holmwood and Quincey Morris entirely.

Seward reprised for the English-language version of the Universal Studios film production. It was an international hit for Hammer Film, and Lee fixed the image of the fanged vampire in popular culture.

Christopher Lee also took on the role of Dracula in Count Dracula , a Spanish-Italian-German coproduction notable for its adherence to the plot of the original novel. Playing the part of Renfield in that version was Klaus Kinski , who later played Dracula himself in 's Nosferatu the Vampyre. The character of Count Dracula has remained popular over the years, and many films have used the character as a villain, while others have named him in their titles, including Dracula's Daughter and The Brides of Dracula.

As of , an estimated films feature Dracula in a major role, a number second only to Sherlock Holmes films. A large number of these appearances are not adaptations of Stoker's novel, but merely feature the character in an unrelated story.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the novel. For the eponymous character, see Count Dracula. For other uses, see Dracula disambiguation. Dracula in popular culture. Retrieved 8 October Chapter 6, Mina Murray's Journal, 26 July. Holmwood, he is the Hon.

The Essential Dracula , Chapter 13, Note Retrieved November 18, Retrieved 4 June Retrieved 13 September Retrieved 8 October — via Google Books. Cain 4 April Romania - My Old Haunts. The Metamorphosis of a Fiend. Interview with the Vampire Queen: Elizabeth Miller - PBS". The Bride of Corinth [From my grave to wander].

Retrieved 8 October — via Project Gutenberg. Florescu and Raymond T. McNally and Radu R. Pudlevitcz 1 November Retrieved 29 November Universal Pictures , 70 Cal. A Life of Bram Stoker" Retrieved 26 November A Yearly Journal of Folklore Studies. University of New England Retrieved 17 May On "Nosferatu " ". The Monster in the Bedroom: A Wilde Desire Took Me: Legacy of the Romanian 'Dracula professor ' ".

Vlad the Impaler Dracula. Tourism, Identity and the State in Romania". Retrieved 10 January The ship is driven ashore at Whitby, Yorkshire during a violent storm.

She eventually accepts Arthur Holmwood. The two young women witness the aftermath of the storm, and Lucy begins to sleepwalk, finally making a mid-night encounter with Dracula, who leaves his signature fang marks in her neck. He is principally occupied with Renfield, a zoophagic patient who is violent and keeps trying to escape. Word arrives in England that Harker is in a church hospice in Europe, recovering from a nervous collapse.

Mina travels to see him and they are married. Whilst she is recovering, an escaped wolf from London Zoo attacks the house. Despite further blood transfusions, Lucy dies too. Meanwhile Mina and Jonathan return to Exeter where Mr Hawkins makes them his inheritors, then suddenly dies. When Jonathan visits London for the the funeral he sees Dracula in Piccadilly, looking younger, following which there is an outbreak of attacks on young children in the London area.

They report being abducted by a beautiful lady. On returning in the daylight however, they find her there. He then recruits Arthur Holmwood and Quincy Morris, and the four men confront Lucy in her vampire mode outside the tomb.

Next day they return in the daylight and Arthur drives a stake through her heart, following which Van Helsing cuts off her head. The four men agree that they must locate Dracula and kill him, Van Helsing suggests that they exclude Mina from the group for her own safety. Meanwhile, Mina is visited by Dracula at night. Renfield is savagely attacked and dies, then the four men catch Dracula with Mina, who is now in his thrall. They break into his house at Carfax and two other properties on the Thames, and his house in Picadilly.

They plan to kill him, but when he returns home he once again escapes. The Gang of Four swear to track him down. Van Helsin and Mina are confronted by the three female vampyres, who are driven away with Christian symbols back to the castle, Van Helsin follows and murders them in their coffins. Finally all the characters converge on the Pass where they intercept the cart containing Dracula in his box of earth trying to reach the castle before sunset. They capture the box, open it, and decapitate him.

There have been many film adaptations of the Dracula story — but F. She even went to the extent of buying up and destroying copies of the film.

Murnau was forced to change the names of the characters, and to transpose the location from England to Germany. Some characters are missed out altogether — but the essence of the story remains the same, and the visuals are spectacular, much enhanced by the performance of Max Schreck as Count Orlok. Paul Barber, Vampires, Burial and Death: Folklore and Reality , New Haven: Yale University Press, Rob Lathom, Consuming Youth: Vampires, Cyborgs, and the Culture of Consumption , Chicago: University of Chicago Press, The Novel and the Legend: Desert Island Books, Sally Ledger, The New Woman: Manchester University Press, David Punter, The Literature of Terror: Elaine Showalter, Sexual Anarchy: When Harker arrives at the castle, Dracula makes his meals, waits on him as a servant, makes his bed, keeps him up at night talking, and even wears his clothes.

The three female vampires are blood-providers for Dracula. Harker writes letters asking for help to escape from the castle — but Dracula intercepts the letters, then forces him to write a parallel set of false letters describing his departure from the castle. Dracula has his castle, and establishes a property portfolio in England.

More on literature More on the novella More on literary studies More on short stories. Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Bela Lugosi as Dracula Dracula — critical commentary The novel attracts critical commentary on a number of recognisable themes, some of which overlap with each other. The New Woman Lucy and her friend Mina can be seen as examples of women who are prepared to take their destiny into their own hands. West Vs East Modern studies of the post-colonial world have encouraged a view of the novel as a Victorian allegory of the Christian west fighting against the corrupt forces of the east.

The Rise of Science Dracula is drenched in references to the latest scientific developments and what we would now call new media.

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Dracula is composed as a collection of journal entries, letters, telegrams, and memos. The idea, Stoker tells us in the note at the beginning of the novel, is to present the events .

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10 Writing Techniques from Bram Stoker’s Dracula By: Rachel Scheller | October 22, October conjures up images of crackling fires, shivering leaves, the grinning teeth of a jack-o-lantern and, if you’re a fan of classic horror, that iconic, fanged master of the night, Count Dracula.

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Abraham Bram Stoker was an Irish author, most famous for his novel Dracula. After spending time as a newspaper columnist, Stoker began writing his graphic novel, and incorporated the writing skills he learned. As a vampire, Dracula inverts one of the principal Catholic sacraments: holy Communion. Whereas Catholics believe that they are granted spiritual life by drinking the symbolic blood of Christ, Dracula prolongs and revitalizes .

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Dracula is told from a variety of points of view. Most of the text consists of journal entries that move the narrative forward as they recount events. The entries belong to Jonathan, Mina, Seward, Lucy, and Van Helsing. Before writing Dracula, Stoker spent seven years researching European folklore and stories of vampires, being most influenced by Emily Gerard's essay "Transylvania Superstitions" which includes content about a vampire myth.