Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dracula´s Guest. By Bram Stoker

First edition of Dracula´s Guest.

In the spirit of Halloween, I was tempted to read Dracula´s Guest, by Bram Stoker, a book of short stories I´ve found by chance at project This is the last Bram Stoker´s published book and this is what his wife, Florence, said at the preface:
¨A few months before the lamented death of my husband—I might say even as the shadow of death was over him—he planned three series of short stories for publication, and the present volume is one of them. To his original list of stories in this book, I have added an hitherto unpublished episode from Dracula. It was originally excised owing to the length of the book, and may prove of interest to the many readers of what is considered my husband's most remarkable work. The other stories have already been published in English and American periodicals. Had my husband lived longer, he might have seen fit to revise this work, which is mainly from the earlier years of his strenuous life. But, as fate has entrusted to me the issuing of it, I consider it fitting and proper to let it go forth practically as it was left by him.¨

Bram Stoker. Google images

It is believed that Dracula´s Guest (first story in the book) was the first chapter in the classic Dracula, but attorney and editor Leslie S. Klinger says:
And so what may we make of ["Dracula's Guest"]? Without the name "Dracula" appearing in the title and [Dracula's] message [sent to the narrator], there would be very little to connect this traveler's tale with [the novel Dracula]. The style is completely different; the narrator shares few characteristics with Jonathan Harker; and the action somehow fails to connect the story set forth in [Dracula]. However, there are numerous references in the [Dracula] Manuscript to some version of the tale eventually published as "Dracula's Guest." Most likely, a different draft — one that identified the narrator as Harker — was included in ... an early version of [the Dracula manuscript]. It may be that Stoker's publisher requested that the book be shortened, or the publisher (or Stoker) may have felt that the "stylistic" aspects of the narrative were more important than its veracity. For whatever reason, the material was excised, and only later did Stoker return to the material and work it into its published form.
I agree with this statement, Dracula´s Guest has a different style and is absolutely disconnected from the classic, though the theme of the wolves is repeated (but much better) in the last part of Dracula (1897), when the gypsies are carrying him through the mountains.
My recommendation is another story, The Squaw, that is much more interesting. It´s about a visit to the Castle of Nuremberg, the tower of torments, and thanks to this story I´ve learnt what an iron maiden is, apart from the famous rock band.
Read the book at Project

UPDATED POST July 18th 2013

To add the post an interesting note, related to vampires, I´m sharing an excerpt and photo from an article by Heather Pringle, for the National Geographic.
This is about findings of suspected vampires´ tombs.

Polish archaeologists believe this skeleton with the head between the legs was found in a 'vampire' grave. Photograph by Andrzej Grygiel, European Pressphoto Agency

When archaeologists opened an ancient grave at a highway construction site near Gliwice, Poland, they came across a scene from a horror movie: a suspected vampire burial.
Interred in the ground were skeletal remains of humans whose severed heads rested upon their legs—an ancient Slavic burial practice for disposing of suspected vampires, in hopes that decapitated individuals wouldn't be able to rise from their tombs.
But the recent Polish discovery isn't the first time that archaeologists have stumbled upon graves of those thought to be undead. Here's what science has to tell us about a few of history's famous revenant suspects.

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