Anyone who’s popped onto
Google today probably saw that it was Bram Stocker’s birthday. If the Irish
writer had lived as long as his vamps, he’d be 165 years old today. As a fellow writer
of vampire stories and a lover of all that is Irish, I couldn’t let the
opportunity pass to pay a little homage to the author of Dracula with a few
interesting facts about vampires, the novel, and the man himself.
- Stoker hails from Dublin
and attended Trinity College there. He was a believer in Home Rule, but wanted
Ireland to remain part of Great Britain. (We can forgive him some of his
philosophies on his birthday, right?)
- He wrote a dozen novels
and many more short stories, although he wasn’t terribly famous for his writing
until Dracula started being made into movies after his death. Stoker instead
worked for years in theater; too bad he never thought to put on a production of
his own novel!
- The working title for the
novel, Stoker’s fifth, was The Un-Dead. It was changed to Dracula just prior to publication. I guess he
originally liked the whole ‘un’ thing, too.
- One literary scholar,
Talia Schaffer suggests Dracula was really an allegory about society’s
disapproval of homosexuality in response to friend and fellow writer, Oscar
Wilde’s jail sentence for sodomy. So, either Stoker was a pioneer in the GLBT
literature field or Schaffer’s been hitting the Jameson’s a little too hard.
- Perhaps, though, we can
credit him with popularizing the urban fantasy genre, since Dracula was one of
the first Gothic novels to be set in contemporary times.
- Stoker did a lot of
research on the geology and folklore of Eastern Europe, where most tales of
vampires originate. I bet he didn’t own the Idiot’s Guide, though.
- Although he used some of
the Slavic superstitions to develop Dracula’s characteristics, he also created
some mythology of his own. Some interesting details about Stokers’ Dracula are
that he can go out in daylight, although his powers are somewhat diminished, he
can influence the weather, and he can scale down the side of buildings like a
lizard. I’m not exactly sure why he needs the last trait, since he was seen
doing this at his own home. Too cool for stairs?
- Dracula wasn’t a fan of
crosses or garlic, however, he’s not killed by either, but by being stabbed and
then decapitated–Game of Thrones style. (I’ll hear no complaints about my lack
of spoiler alerts; if you haven’t read the Dracula or seen Game of Thrones yet, you probably won’t.)
Sources for these
Wikipedia – No, I don’t let
my students use it, but it’s a “do as I say, not as I do” world.
The Complete Idiot’s
Guide to Vampires by Jay
Stevenson, Ph.D. – Yes, it exists. Yes, I own it and have read a majority of
it. In my defense, it was a gift from my mother who thought it’d be funny and
informative. It’s both.
My weekly NaNoWriMo (Nap No, Write Mo’) update:
Friday – I wrote a
glossary for the Alex Crocker Seer series books to go on my website (I’ll post
it this weekend.) 975 words
Saturday and Sunday – I
worked on my newest project for the series, working title Unbridled. It’s a novella length compilation of connected
short stories about the various couples in the series. It’s mostly romance and
full of scenes bound to make certain family members squeamish and certain
friends very happy. In other words, it’s lots of fun to write! 27 hand written
pages, at a minimum of 300 words per page = 8,100 words
Monday and Tuesday –
Election flash fiction, It’s Not As Simple as
Red or Blue 1370 words
Wednesday – I failed and
fell asleep by 7pm after a late night Tuesday watching the election.
Thursday – This blog. 667
For a whopping one-week
total of *drum roll* 11,112 words this week. That’s about 500 words under what
a true NaNoWriMo authors sets out write each week, but I’m still feeling pretty
damn pleased with myself. I wanted to “show up” and I did, six out of seven
days. I hope others who pledged to take a little time for their passion had as
much success and as much fun as I did. On to week two!