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May 4, 2009 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Real time Dracula "Experience Bram Stoker's Dracula in a new way -- in real time. Dracula is an epistolary novel (a novel written as a series of letters or diary entries,)" Whitney Sorrow is posting each entry in real time starting on May 3rd the date of the first diary entry. [via]
posted by Mitheral (27 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This is cool.

They did this with the Lewis and Clark journals a few years ago, for the 200th anniversary.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:41 AM on May 4, 2009

Notes for modern equivalents for cities so far:

Bistritz - Bistrita
Klausenburg - Cluj-Napoca
posted by kldickson at 10:43 AM on May 4, 2009

"Real time" readings have been done before, with Samuel Richardson's Clarissa, for instance, but I've not seen it done as a blog-type-thing. Very cool, and a great adaptation of modern tech to not-modern lit.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:46 AM on May 4, 2009

Neat. I wonder if anyone ever tried to figure out if there is a specific year this was supposed to take place and if the days of the week match up. I guess you'd have to read the novel and see if they mention a specific day of the week or a historical event and go from there. I did a calendar exercise for The Sun Also Rises and that opened a HUGE can of worms I can go on about but won't here.
posted by marxchivist at 11:03 AM on May 4, 2009

Somebody else has been doing this for a while. Pepys' Diary is the ultimate version of this sort of blog-as-electronic-edition, I think; cf. Curiosities of Literature (now complete) and Edward Lear's Diaries.
posted by thomas j wise at 11:09 AM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by Pendragon at 11:15 AM on May 4, 2009

I saw someone do this with Dracula exactly the same way three or four years back. I think it was on LiveJournal, though I'm not sure. I lost track of it fairly early on.
posted by Caduceus at 11:16 AM on May 4, 2009

Orwell's diaries in real-time. (Mitheral, interpret this as "Cool, thanks! Here's something else like this," not "Yawn, it's been done before, you rube.")

A terrific New Yorker essay recently got me excited to re-read Dracula, but then the idea slipped from my mind. This seems like a great opportunity to do it.
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:19 AM on May 4, 2009

This is a terrific idea and a great excuse for me to re-read the book at an even pace. Thanks for the post!
posted by slimepuppy at 11:24 AM on May 4, 2009

Just think how well respected Bram Stoker would be now if he'd have printed the word Dracula in red every time and made some of the text go sideways!
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on May 4, 2009 [3 favorites]

Very cool!
posted by strixus at 11:57 AM on May 4, 2009

I've got a bad feeling about this Dracula fellow.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:17 PM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thoreau's journals in real time.
posted by willmize at 12:24 PM on May 4, 2009

this is really pretty great.
posted by shmegegge at 12:30 PM on May 4, 2009

Just think how well respected Bram Stoker would be now if he'd have printed the word Dracula in red every time and made some of the text go sideways!

Or had Mina go on to fight martians and get freaky with Allan Quartermain.
posted by cog_nate at 12:33 PM on May 4, 2009

(Snark aside, this is really neat. Thanks for posting it.)
posted by cog_nate at 12:37 PM on May 4, 2009

You know what Dracula really needs? Zombies! Oh.... that doesn't quite work, does it...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:37 PM on May 4, 2009

Cog_Nate - you should see what Kim Newman did with Seven Stars.
posted by Artw at 12:43 PM on May 4, 2009

I confess, I've never read Dracula before, and Jonathan Harker is cracking me up. I only wish the novel were going to continue in this vein (The count offered me a sip of arterial blood, which I found coppery and warm, yet peculiarly satisfying. [Mem., secure ongoing supply from Mina.).
posted by mayhap at 2:18 PM on May 4, 2009

Also, pretend those parentheses are nested properly.
posted by mayhap at 2:19 PM on May 4, 2009

Great find! The annotated Dracula came out a few months back, and it is a fantastic read for anyone who even remotely enjoyed the book. Leslie Klinger was the editor, and she employed the 'gentle fiction' of pretending that the events actually happened and scouring the clues (or misdirections!) left by Harker et al. to help figure out the timeline and location.
posted by amicamentis at 2:31 PM on May 4, 2009

This may be even more effective as a 'ring' of blogs, as there are several different characters that keep diaries/write letters. A massive literary undertaking would be to create blogs for the major players (Dracula, Jonathan, Van Helsing, Lucy, and so on) and update them as the events occurred in the book.

For example, as Jonathan is writing his diary entry for May 4, the same date on Mina's would have her missing her beloved, Van Helsing tending some tulips or whatever, Dracula hanging out with his three sexy ladies....
posted by amicamentis at 2:39 PM on May 4, 2009

I will not be satisfied until both Dracula and Mina are on Twitter. Oh, too late.
Actually, given that neither of them seem to be doing anything at all, I remain unsatisfied.
posted by ooga_booga at 3:46 PM on May 4, 2009

I did a calendar exercise for The Sun Also Rises and that opened a HUGE can of worms I can go on about but won't here.

I personally would like to read The Sun Also Rises as a drinking game. Every time a character drinks, you drink! Probably want to have a medic on hand in the event of alcohol poisoning.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 5:12 PM on May 4, 2009

Cog_Nate - you should see what Kim Newman did with Seven Stars.

Curiosity piqued. I've got a pretty big reading backlog right now, but I'll definitely check that out when I get a chance.
posted by cog_nate at 6:16 AM on May 5, 2009

I ran an experiment on my blog for a while until I lost interest, making Microsoft Word AutoSummaries of classic novels. Dracula turned out kind of cool. Outlinking to my own blog might be kind of cheeseball, so apologies for length:

Cheats: AutoSummarize recognizes “headers,” so I had to remove all the “Jonathan Harker’s Journal” and “Letter from Mina Murray to Lucy Westerna” type headings. Which really drove home how avant-garde Stoker was — most of the novel actually takes place as correspondence. I’m not sure HOW novel this was at the time, but people still think books written in unconventional narrative are wacky, so I can’t imagine this was anything other than wildly outré back when Dracula was written. And the types of correspondence! Letters, diaries, phonograph diaries (!!!), memorandums, journals, newspaper articles, telegrams. I also removed some signatures from the final autosummarize to get rid of the “Lucy, Lucy, Lucy, Lucy” repeat artificially created by the signing of all these fake documents.

Sleep is huge in Dracula, both as a metaphor for death and as a perilous state to be avoided. Something that wasn’t clear to me until I did this.

By Bram Stoker and Microsoft, Inc.
472 Words

Sleep well tonight. “God’s seat!”

If it does I am lost. Great God! Well! If I could only get into his room! Goodbye, Mina, if I fail. Wait!
How well the man reasoned. Work! Work!

Men all worn out. Poor dear old man!

I should be quite happy if I only knew if Jonathan… Lucy is sleeping soundly. Poor dear, sweet lady!

Oh, if men only knew!

If need be, tonight shall be sleepless.

Happy thought! I wonder if I could sleep in mother’s room tonight.

“Wire me if necessary.”

Van Helsing and I were shown up to Lucy’s room. “Good boy!” said Van Helsing. “Well?” said Van Helsing.

If only Arthur knew! Thank God! Oh, Dr. Van Helsing!

I quite love that dear Dr. Van Helsing. “God! God!”

This time I watched whilst Van Helsing recruited himself and rested.

Goodbye, dear Arthur, if I should not survive this night. Well thought of! I cried, Lucy dear, as Jonathan and the old man clasped hands. Poor fellow! God! “No, poor dear. Jonathan sleeping. “My God, if this be so! If only I knew! If only I knew!”

Poor Lucy! Poor old fellow!

Friend John, forgive me if I pain. Poor dear!

Poor, poor, dear Jonathan!

“Good God, Professor!” If it be true! Van Helsing went about his work systematically. I waited a considerable time for Van Helsing to begin, but he stood as if wrapped in thought.

Friend John, If it be so, farewell.

If ever a face meant death, if looks could kill, we saw it at that moment.

Poor dear Lucy was right about him. God forgive me if I do wrong! Poor old fellow! “Little girl!” If the latter, we must trace…”

Van Helsing smiled in turn. “Well?”

“Poor dear fellow! Poor, poor devil!”

Van Helsing stood up instinctively.

Dr. Van Helsing, you love Mina, I know. Van Helsing said gravely, “Go on, friend Arthur. God! God!”

“We shall break in if need be.”

“Not if they knew the man was properly employed.”

Then Van Helsing turned and said gravely. Poor, poor dear Madam Mina. Thank God! Mina is sleeping, and sleeping without dreams.

Present: Professor Van Helsing, Lord Godalming, Dr. Seward, Mr. Quincey Morris, Jonathan Harker, Mina Harker.

Van Helsing continued.

You can ask Dr. Van Helsing if I am not right. Quincey is all man. “What is that time?” Thank God! Thank God! Van Helsing shook his head, “I fear not. For so if time be long you may be delayed. Your man thought see nothing. Speak, without fear!”

Man! Courage, Mina! Later.–Dr. Van Helsing has returned. Dr. Van Helsing is sleeping.

At dawn Van Helsing hypnotized me. Madam Mina still sleep and sleep.

If I write no more Goodby Mina!
posted by Shepherd at 10:35 AM on May 5, 2009

cog_nate - You should see what Ken Russell did to Lair of the White Worm!
posted by Artw at 10:51 AM on May 5, 2009

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