A Spooky Classic in Your Inbox, in Real Time!
May 3, 2022 7:43 AM   Subscribe

It's May 3rd, the date of Johnathan Harker's first diary entry, which means Dracula Daily starts today! Sign up and every day somebody writes a letter or a diary entry, through the ending on November 7, you'll get that day's segment of the classic epistolary novel in your email.
posted by Pope Guilty (51 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is awesome. I have signed up.

I found Dracula-the-book to be unexpectedly good and exciting when I read it. I'd heard unenthusiastic feedback but for me the pacing held up and it was a solid entry into the early adventure story.
posted by mark k at 7:55 AM on May 3 [5 favorites]


What an awesome idea! I've always struggled with reading Frankenstein and I can't get through Radcliffe or some of the other early horror books, but Dracula holds up. I'd even say the book is scarier and more suspenseful than some of the movies made out of it. Not sure if I'll sign up for this since I just reread the book a few months ago, but I love that this is out there.
posted by Mchelly at 8:33 AM on May 3 [2 favorites]


O, this sounds fun. A relative signed up for a similar thing but with George Orwell‘s diary entries. That seemed less entertaining.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:46 AM on May 3


Ha! I saw this on mastodon I think and signed up. Got the first one today, really look forward to following along.

i’ve been told to read dracula for ages now so really appreciate a scheduled reading session in my inbox
posted by bxvr at 8:54 AM on May 3 [2 favorites]


I signed up for this a couple of weeks ago via the RSS feed and had a pleasant surprise this morning!
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 9:05 AM on May 3 [1 favorite]


I found Dracula-the-book to be unexpectedly good and exciting when I read it. I'd heard unenthusiastic feedback but for me the pacing held up and it was a solid entry into the early adventure story.

Same here. I didn't read it until sometime in the last decade, even though I'm a big vampire fan, but it turns out it's a really great book full of lively writing.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:09 AM on May 3 [3 favorites]


Dracula's writing does hold up better than you'd think. For reasons of personal heritage (I have ancestors who immigrated to the US from what is now NE Slovakia in the decade after Dracula was published) the xenophobic representation of central Europeans (to a large degree Slovaks, but also Stoker's "Cszeks" and "Szgany") as a collective rabble of smelly, diseased, ignorant, violent, superstitious minions of an invading alien power is hard not to notice.
posted by Earthtopus at 9:18 AM on May 3 [4 favorites]


Yes the writing in Dracula is quite good but fair warning if you’ve never read it before: many of details and characterizations —and, arguably, the central theme of the story— are nakedly xenophobic and/or racist.

I understand that a lot of the “pulp” novels of the time were like this, so not surprising but still obnoxious.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:19 AM on May 3 [2 favorites]


Pro tip: if you really want to give yourself a treat and get the most out of Stoker’s classic, dive into one of the Annotated Dracula editions if you can. I’m still partial to the (sadly long OOP) Wolf, myself, but the Klinger is also quite good and readily available.
posted by non canadian guy at 10:32 AM on May 3 [3 favorites]




It is a wild novel. I teach it whenever possible.
posted by doctornemo at 10:38 AM on May 3


Pro tip: if you really want to give yourself a treat and get the most out of Stoker’s classic, dive into one of the Annotated Dracula editions if you can. I’m still partial to the (sadly long OOP) Wolf, myself, but the Klinger is also quite good and readily available.

I have the Klinger and it's lovely.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:38 AM on May 3 [2 favorites]


This is so cool. I signed up!

I tried to read Don Quixote an emailed chapter a day once, and did not keep up. At the time I was less reliable at checking email daily though, so I might not immediately fall behind this time around.
posted by the primroses were over at 10:39 AM on May 3


But I must harrumph. I'm glad to see this project, yet I and a colleague have run the Draculablog since 2005. We publish the full text, each chunk on its calendar date. I was inspired by the Pepys diary blog.
posted by doctornemo at 10:39 AM on May 3 [11 favorites]


There's a FanFare thread for the book with relatively few posts. I wonder if people who are signing up for mailing list might want to have an ongoing discussion as the episodes roll out?
posted by jacquilynne at 10:49 AM on May 3 [4 favorites]


Signed up, and was immediately confronted with a "tweet" button, along with a smaller link below which read "Maybe later".

I can think of no more appropriate web site for a dark pattern.
posted by phooky at 11:03 AM on May 3 [3 favorites]


Nobody Really Sure What Cowboy Character Is Doing in ‘Dracula’

"Cowboy" was the only type of American available to Irishmen in the 1890s. And, arguably, is still the only kind of American available.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:56 AM on May 3 [4 favorites]


This is great. I have signed up with my work email, which I check more reliably than I do my home email and it's going to make a nice break in my day.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:26 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


> "Cowboy" was the only type of American available to Irishmen in the 1890s. And, arguably, is still the only kind of American available.

*tips hat* at your service
posted by 7segment at 12:46 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


Nobody Really Sure What Cowboy Character Is Doing in ‘Dracula’

I remember finding it super weird that nobody in the book can shut up about how totally awesome the American character is (and by extension, how seriously amazing America is.) You, uh, don't see that much these days.
posted by echo target at 12:50 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


You, uh, don't see that much these days.

It's also pretty odd in its original context (or, as I say to students, "hang on, we're about to be insulted again"). There are contemporary writers who represent American characters as the embodiment of the Next Big Historical Thing, but most are nowhere near this effusive.

Incidentally, Stoker was a huge fan of Walt Whitman.
posted by thomas j wise at 1:08 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


My favourite thing about Dracula is just how BADASS Mina Harker is. I mean, at one point she casually mentions that she’s memorised an entire set of train timetables because she thought it might come in useful. (Clearly she memorised the timetables because she is just so much smarter than everyone else and she is SO BORED that she’s casting around for things to use her terrific intellect on).

Also, there’s a great bit later on the novel where the plot basically goes like this:
MALE CHARACTERS: We will come up with a plan to defeat Dracula, but we cannot tell Mina about it for her own safety
THE PLAN TO DEFEAT DRACULA: *goes wrong*
MALE CHARACTERS: New strategy - we must tell Mina everything.

In conclusion, Mina Harker, a woman who needed her own spinoff.
posted by damsel with a dulcimer at 1:40 PM on May 3 [6 favorites]


In conclusion, Mina Harker, a woman who needed her own spinoff.

She got one! Alas, it was written by Alan Moore.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:04 PM on May 3 [3 favorites]


Tangential to the precise topic (I am a huge Dracula nerd and signed up for this the moment I first read about it - it was so exciting to get the first entry in my inbox today!):

damsel with a dulcimer, if you like badass Mina Harker, allow me to recommend the Mercury Theater adaptation, with Agnes Moorehead as Mina. It cuts a lot of stuff, of course, since it's only 60 minutes, and it changes a few other things but the absolute best change is that, in this version...

Mina is the one who actually kills Dracula at the climactic moment.

It's the only adaptation I've heard/seen/read where that happens* and I legit punched the air in glee the first time I listened to it.



*If there are others that I've missed, please tell me immediately.
posted by darchildre at 2:04 PM on May 3


I'm Re-reading the beginning right now. Stoker really does start in with the Slovak stuff right away.

Also it's always entertaining to re-remember that Dracula canonically has a thick, long, white mustache, stubby fingers, and hairs growing out of his palms.
posted by Earthtopus at 2:21 PM on May 3 [3 favorites]


I may have to sign up, as many times as I’ve read Dracula, I never noticed it starts on my birthday!
posted by dbmcd at 3:24 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


darchildre, that's kinda what happens in Nosferatu, which is kinda Dracula. (There's a story here.)
posted by doctornemo at 4:19 PM on May 3 [2 favorites]


One of my favorite things was a supplement that Pelgrane Press put together for their tabletop RPG "Night's Black Agents", which is basically a spies-vs-vampires thing. The supplement provides material for running a campaign where Dracula is the Big Bad, and includes a book called "Dracula Unredacted". It posits that the original novel "Dracula" was a leak of documentary evidence related to an effort by the British crown to recruit Dracula into their intelligence apparatus. It includes the entirey of the original book, plus another 300 or so pages of "previously expurgated" material related to the plot of the game. It's cool as fuck!
posted by Ipsifendus at 4:23 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


I think Dune is the book I have read the most times, having read it probably ten times as a teenager. . . but if there is a competitor to that distinction it is most certainly Dracula.
posted by os tuberoes at 4:51 PM on May 3 [2 favorites]


I have some kind of multimedia Dracula on my iPad (way out of date model) that was a Free App ages ago. I've started it more than once, but maybe I'm never in the right setting or mood. This email thing will be fun, though.
posted by hippybear at 4:57 PM on May 3


The supplement provides material for running a campaign where Dracula is the Big Bad

The Dracula Dossier:
Dracula is not a novel. It’s the censored version of Bram Stoker’s after-action report of the failed British Intelligence attempt to recruit a vampire in 1894. Kenneth Hite and Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan have restored the deleted sections, inserting annotations and clues left by three generations of MI6 analysts.
posted by zamboni at 5:38 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


Can’t forget the Anno Dracula series, which posits that Dracula was a heretical alternate history in which Dracula was defeated. Tons of fun.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:31 PM on May 3 [4 favorites]


You may be interested in Count Dracula, starring Louis Jourdan as the Count. It's the most faithful adaptation of Stoker's novel, including the cowboy.
posted by SPrintF at 6:35 PM on May 3 [3 favorites]


Orson Welles Dracula from 1938 (~1h) [Archive.org]

2006 Studio Cast of Dracula [musical] by Wildhorn and Blank & Hampton [Ed. note: this includes a song called "Please Don't Make Me Love You" which I have not heard yet but am already in love with just from the title alone.]

LibraVox AudioBook, full cast full reading [Archive.org]

There is a whole lot of Dracula stuff on Archive.org, some of it to borrow, some of it just samples, much of it to have and to hold.

Of particular interest is the Dracula stage play, which is a real work of stagecraft if executed correctly. You don't need a big budget to get the effects right, you just need creativity and a willingness to work hard to achieve the illusions. I've done it at a community theater to great effect.

It's also really possible to entirely screw all this up. But so goes theater.

Sadly this script is not on Archive.org. It might be around someplace, but maybe it's still under copyright.
posted by hippybear at 6:52 PM on May 3 [4 favorites]


I love this idea! Subscribed. I would love to read more books this way. Clarissa would work in this mode… but would take 10 years to finish. 😆
posted by johnxlibris at 7:13 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


I've long wondered how to do a suitable modern mass-media presentation of Stand On Zanzibar, but that project is something I have never pursued beyond reading the novel yet again and making mental notes. It could be done, but could it be done well and captivatingly? I have no idea.
posted by hippybear at 7:15 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


doctornemo, that's true. Although, to my mind, there's a big difference between
passively and accidentally exposing Orlok to sunlight like Ellen in Nosferatu and actively stabbing him like Mina in the Mercury Theater production. It's the Mina character getting to actively and physically take action that I enjoy. Mina's the most badass character on the side of good in the novel - she should get to do some active stabbing.

There was an excellent production of Dracula at the ACT Theater in Seattle that I got to see a few years ago, which also did a thing that I think might be unique in adaptations. Most of them cut down a few of Lucy's suitors for space (Quincey Morris, as noted above, is almost always the first to go, which always makes me very sad). This script cut Quincey, Arthur, and Van Helsing, and let Mina take over the Vampire Research Expert role.

The play also used an extremely creepy puppet to be Dracula in the Transylvania sections, which was amazing.
posted by darchildre at 7:59 PM on May 3 [2 favorites]


Dracula canonically has a thick, long, white mustache, stubby fingers, and hairs growing out of his palms
All of these are also true of the red panda, which is also solitary, remote-mountain dwelling, and spends most of its time asleep, so I'm going to have trouble now not picturing Count Dracula as an extremely cute small bamboo-eating tree-climbing mammal
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 12:19 AM on May 4 [13 favorites]


I just read today's and I'm delighted. I've never read Dracula and due to an aversion to horror or anything scary, I don't really know the story (I mean, I know the idea of Dracula, but I don't know the plot of this book.) Having it parceled out to me like this is really fun; I find I'm reading it more slowly and carefully than my typical fare, because hey, this is all I get today. It makes it a little more precious, so I'm not going through it at my typical breakneck speed.

I'm also newly sober as of last week (keep your fingers crossed for me) and I like the idea of having this delivered for the next six months and coinciding with that. "I used Dracula to stay sober" is not something I had on my bingo card for 2022, but hey. Whatever works.
posted by punchtothehead at 6:38 AM on May 4 [14 favorites]


I added a couple of comments based on the first couple of entries over on the FanFare thread.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:12 AM on May 4


All of these are also true of the red panda

Turning Dead
posted by zamboni at 10:33 AM on May 4 [5 favorites]


Loved this tumblr summary of the first couple days:
Jonathan Harker, a man who only yesterday was physically and mentally obliterated by paprika, is largely unphased by the locals being very clearly disapproving of his decision to visit his cool new friend, DRACULA.
posted by yasaman at 3:19 PM on May 4 [7 favorites]


"I have some kind of multimedia Dracula on my iPad" - there was a CD-ROM in the late 1990s. Someone have me a copy around 2005. Naturally it didn't work on any hardware I could find.
posted by doctornemo at 5:26 PM on May 4


Actually, the Dracula Daily tag on tumblr is full of hilarity, A+++ recommend.
posted by yasaman at 6:45 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Most of my Discord group chat has signed onto this whole-heartedly, which is great, because -- despite my interest in actually reading Dracula -- I think I would've eventually fallen off the carriage trying to read the book alone, and in longer sessions. Group chat + Tumblr is going to make this incredibly funny and a good read.
posted by lesser weasel at 8:33 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Dracula was the first "grown up" book I ever read, as my mother was a big vampire fan (particularly Anne Rice; this was the mid-90s). I’ve read it a few times but this is a fantastic way to revisit. If I had the bread, I’d splurge on ultimate edition of this Kickstarter: Seward’s phonograph entries are pressed on vinyl, the letters are presented as individual facsimiles, etc.
posted by kaisemic at 7:19 AM on May 5 [3 favorites]


Interesting detail from today's installment that I always forget about the novel: Dracula has a long white mustache.
posted by hippybear at 3:39 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


Oh my god, I noticed this post but was like “eh I already read it, seems cool though” and then yesterday, out of nowhere, my entire tumblr dashboard was full of people talking about getting emails from their very good friend Jonathon Harker and his weird business trip, and I wound up scrolling through the tag for over an hour just watching all these new Dracula readers discovering how WEIRD this book is, along with people who’ve already read it being SO EXCITED that everyone else is going to slowly discover even more bonkers shit.

The general vibe over there, as several people remarked, is like a bunch of nerdy middle schoolers talking about the latest assigned chapter for some actually-good English class book at the school lunch table. So far, it looks like everyone who hasn’t read it before is playing along and not reading ahead, even though it would be trivially easy.

So now I’m subscribed, and I look forward eagerly to watching tumblr eventually meet my main man Quincy Morris.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:38 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


Anyways, if you like most people are mystified by tumblr, here’s a link to the Dracula Daily tag, I highly recommend a scroll
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:42 AM on May 7


Oops and now I see that someone else already linked it, but seriously, so fun!

It really is remarkable how much shit from the book doesn’t show up in basically any adaptation and has made no cultural impact on our ideas of what vampires are like. As a person who loved vampire shit before I ever read it, that was maybe my favorite aspect of it - discovering all these bizarre canonical vampire traits that nobody ever uses.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:52 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


The guy who does Angry Video Game Nerd also does stuff about (mostly horror) movies and did a video where he examined Which Dracula Film is Most Faithful to the Book? based on several points of comparison. Surprisingly, though appropriately given the title, it's Bram Stoker's Dracula.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:20 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


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