The New Annotated “Dracula”

You might recall me mentioning the quite lovely New Annotated Sherlock Holmes a while ago[1]. When I read those books, I was impressed with both the content and the presentation. Having had enormous fun by working from the premise that Sherlock Holmes was a real person, and that the stories are disguised accounts of real events[2], editor Leslie S Klinger decided that he’d like another project. And so he turned his attention to that other key figure of the late 19th Century: Count Dracula.

The book is produced to the same beautiful standard as the Holmes volumes – no slipcase this time, but it’s big, on good quality paper with clear print and numerous illustrations.

Klinger analyses the numerous documents (diaries, letters, newspaper reports…) that make up Bram Stoker’s novel, and attempts to make sense of them – what has been disguised, what has been omitted and why. He compares the published novel to the manuscript, Stoker’s notes and the little-known 1901 abridged edition.

And having done his research (based, of course, on the assumption that the novel is a disguised account of real events[3]), he draws some alarming conclusions. Dracula (not his real name, of course) not only was real, but was not destroyed as the novel claimed.

Quite apart from the notes throughout the text – all nicely laid out to keep page-flipping to a minimum – there are essays on the dating of the events, Dracula’s appearances in print and on screen, and more.

If you’ve ever read and enjoyed the original book, you may well enjoy this. If you only know the Count (not his real title, of course) through movies, this might be the ideal opportunity to learn a lot more about him.

Seriously good stuff, strongly recommended.

[1] Oh. It seems it was nearly four years ago, so you’ll be forgiven if you don’t remember
[2] It made the notes and supporting material a lot more interesting and fun
[3] When interviewed in Fortean Times why he did this, he replied “because it’s fun”. Good answer.