Dracula by Bram Stoker

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Gerald

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2011
1,349
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The Netherlands
#41
Great book. A lot of folks probably never read it because of the movies. Was there ever any explanation given in the book as to why Dracula wanted to move from Transylvania to England? That always struck me as odd and risky from the old Count's perspective absent a good reason.
Didn't he admire the British culture in general? If there's a reason mentioned, it's probably in the talks he has with Harker early in the book. I'd have to look at that again to know if such a thing was mentioned.

EDIT: according to this it isn't specifically mentioned, but London at the time was pretty much seen as the capitol of the world (by the writer at least):

What were Dracula’s true motives in going to England? - Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange

As mentioned in the first fragment, there are millions of victims for him there. It was probably hard for him by this time to find enough in his homeland.
 
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Gerald

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Sep 8, 2011
1,349
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The Netherlands
#42
You could also assume Dracula would go more unnoticed in London. In his homecountry the peasants and townfolk all seem to know about him and where he lives - as evidenced by the innkeeper. Superstition and fear keeps them away from the castle, but at a certain point they may have had enough of the killings and take up the pitchforks to confront him.
As you see in the Coppola film he walks rather carefree and casually through the streets of London, very at ease. (He even tips his hat to everybody so unworried is he.) With all the crime of a big city his victims will not be noticed so much.

Actually isn't that first chapter one of the best chapters ever in a horrornovel on folklore and superstition?
 
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Dynamo

Well-Known Member
May 12, 2017
90
287
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Denton, TX
#43
Didn't he admire the British culture in general? If there's a reason mentioned, it's probably in the talks he has with Harker early in the book. I'd have to look at that again to know if such a thing was mentioned.

EDIT: according to this it isn't specifically mentioned, but London at the time was pretty much seen as the capitol of the world (by the writer at least):

What were Dracula’s true motives in going to England? - Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange

As mentioned in the first fragment, there are millions of victims for him there. It was probably hard for him by this time to find enough in his homeland.
Yeah, I can't remember if it's mentioned in the book but in the film he seems interested in modern society and technology.

I'm guessing immorality could get boring, even more so if you're just locked away in a castle out in the boondocks. After a few hundred years I might decide to relocate and expand. And as has been said, London (especially at the time) would be like a buffet for a vampire.
 

Gerald

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Sep 8, 2011
1,349
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The Netherlands
#45
I looked back in the book and it says Dracula has a collection of British books in his library, it is through the books that he learned to love Britain - he says he can't wait to walk the streets of London. It's somewhat contradictory though that he bought the books when he had already decided to go there. I heard once though, from some horror-expert (can't remember who, but someone like Christopher Frayling perhaps) that there are many inconsistencies in the novel, because Stoker didn't write it in one go - he started, put it down for a while, continued, put it down again etc.
It is also very important to Dracula to get the exact pronunciation of English right, so the British won't see him as a stranger. This is very different in the films, starting with Lugosi, where Dracula often has a strong Eastern-European accent.
 

RichardX

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2006
1,658
4,019
#48
Dracula would have been living in Translyvania for centuries at that point. If there was any real risk from the locals, I assume they would have long since acted upon it before his decision to move to England. In vampire-world it could be assumed that he would have a mafia-like system/understanding for his own protection among the locals. He would also have strong historical ties to that region. The move to England doesn't quite add up as part of the plot. The real reason is likely more pragmatic in that Stoker would have been more comfortable writing and his readers more interested in reading a story set in an area that they were familiar with. In the movies, or at least maybe the Coppola version, they sometimes try to make Mina a ringer for the Count's dead wife but of course he would not known that until he encounters Harker after his decision has been made to move.
 

kingricefan

All-being, keeper of Space, Time & Dimension.
Jul 11, 2006
28,328
115,351
Spokane, WA
#49
Harker was not the first solicitor to go to Dracula's castle. Renfield was the first one and what he saw there drove him insane, which is why he's at the asylum. I believe Dracula wanted to move to England because the feeding ground would be plentiful. Maybe he was just tired of living in the same house for centuries. I'm sure it needed updating. Heck, he was tired of the local cuisine.....;-D
 

RichardX

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2006
1,658
4,019
#50
Harker was not the first solicitor to go to Dracula's castle. Renfield was the first one and what he saw there drove him insane, which is why he's at the asylum. I believe Dracula wanted to move to England because the feeding ground would be plentiful. Maybe he was just tired of living in the same house for centuries. I'm sure it needed updating. Heck, he was tired of the local cuisine.....;-D
I thought Renfield was just a patient at the asylum with no prior connection to Dracula but I haven't read the book in a while. The point would still stand, however, that Dracula would have no prior knowledge of Mina until he mets Harker and he only does that after deciding to make the move. So it's hard to square how she could have been the motivation. I think the Mina angle is only raised in the movie as a sort of coincidence of events/fate and not in the book. But sometimes it is hard to keep it all straight.
 

staropeace

Richard Bachman's love child
Nov 28, 2006
15,095
47,956
Alberta,Canada
#51
Harker was not the first solicitor to go to Dracula's castle. Renfield was the first one and what he saw there drove him insane, which is why he's at the asylum. I believe Dracula wanted to move to England because the feeding ground would be plentiful. Maybe he was just tired of living in the same house for centuries. I'm sure it needed updating. Heck, he was tired of the local cuisine.....;-D
I do not think Renfield was at Dracula's castle, Dan.
 

kingricefan

All-being, keeper of Space, Time & Dimension.
Jul 11, 2006
28,328
115,351
Spokane, WA
#53
Harker was not the first solicitor to go to Dracula's castle. Renfield was the first one and what he saw there drove him insane, which is why he's at the asylum. I believe Dracula wanted to move to England because the feeding ground would be plentiful. Maybe he was just tired of living in the same house for centuries. I'm sure it needed updating. Heck, he was tired of the local cuisine.....;-D
I thought Renfield was just a patient at the asylum with no prior connection to Dracula but I haven't read the book in a while. The point would still stand, however, that Dracula would have no prior knowledge of Mina until he mets Harker and he only does that after deciding to make the move. So it's hard to square how she could have been the motivation. I think the Mina angle is only raised in the movie as a sort of coincidence of events/fate and not in the book. But sometimes it is hard to keep it all straight.
I do not think Renfield was at Dracula's castle, Dan.
Ooops!! My mistake! You guys are correct- Renfield was never at the castle. Then what's the name of the solicitor who was there before Harker?
 

RichardX

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2006
1,658
4,019
#55
Didn't Renfield emerge from the hole of the ship that brought Dracula to England in the Lugosi movie? For the longest time, I thought the Renfield and Harker characters were one and the same because of that (unless I'm misremembering the movie). Renfield being the crazy version of Harker. And that would have made some narrative sense to explain Renfield's condition in being driven insane and his lust for blood after coming into contact with Dracula and his "sisters."
 

Gerald

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2011
1,349
3,964
The Netherlands
#57
Actually I found out my edition of Dracula was abridged. Like SK's IT which was also, it doesn't say on the cover.
I have a Dutch translation from 1992, which is a tie-in with the Coppola film (including photos from that), which is about 300 pages, while the original is about 400, so a lot was taken out. You can tell sometimes the dialogue doesn't flow well, but apart from that I couldn't really tell. It seems rather random how they take things away, sometimes even the last sentence of a chapter is shortened/changed, which I would be inclined (just like the first) to leave intact.
Also some things are changed for reasons I don't know, like a reference by Van Helsing to the Conquistadores searching the fountain of youth in the Floridas, where the Floridas is changed to the Antilles.
I don't know the reason why they shortened it; might be to make it faster for modern readers, but it's still done in an archaic language (which is rather fun to read). Probably it's something like the publisher only wanting to spend a certain amount of pages on it for reasons of budget, or expectations of how it would sell. I don't know if a full translation was ever done here, but the name of this tranlator is rather funny in this respect: the last name is De Graaf, which means The Count in Dutch.

I also wonder if William Peter Blatty was familiar with Dracula. The Exorcist was of course based on a true incident, but I don't know if that involved a young priest seeking the help of an older, more experienced one.
The way John (or Jack as his friends call him) Seward seeks the help of his older mentor Van Helsing on the case of Lucy Westenra and the time they spend in her bedroom, reminds a lot of The Exorcist.
 

RichardX

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2006
1,658
4,019
#58
Didn't Renfield emerge from the hole of the ship that brought Dracula to England in the Lugosi movie? For the longest time, I thought the Renfield and Harker characters were one and the same because of that (unless I'm misremembering the movie). Renfield being the crazy version of Harker. And that would have made some narrative sense to explain Renfield's condition in being driven insane and his lust for blood after coming into contact with Dracula and his "sisters."
For what it's worth, I think I've answered my question here. In the book, it is Harker who goes to Dracula's castle as the solicitor. Renfield is just a mental patient in England with no prior connection to Dracula. In the Lugosi film, however, Renfield - rather than Harker is the character that goes to Dracula's castle. Renfield returns on the ship with Dracula albeit in an insane state with a lust for blood where he is placed in the asylum. That creates some confusion about the roles of the two characters between the Lugosi movie and Stoker's book. It still leaves unexplained why Dracula has suddenly decided to move to England after centuries in Transylvania.
 

Dana Jean

Reformed Dirty Pirate Hooker
Moderator
Apr 11, 2006
45,027
183,669
Thornfield
#59
Didn't Renfield emerge from the hole of the ship that brought Dracula to England in the Lugosi movie? For the longest time, I thought the Renfield and Harker characters were one and the same because of that (unless I'm misremembering the movie). Renfield being the crazy version of Harker. And that would have made some narrative sense to explain Renfield's condition in being driven insane and his lust for blood after coming into contact with Dracula and his "sisters."
Picked up on the net.


4 Jonathan Harker's Journal (cont.):

I shuddered as I bent over to touch him, and every sense in me revolted at the contact, but I had to search, or I was lost. The coming night might see my own body a banquet in a similar war to those horrid three. I felt all over the body, but no sign could I find of the key. Then I stopped and looked at the Count. There was a mocking smile on the bloated face which seemed to drive me mad. This was the being I was helping to transfer to London, where, perhaps, for centuries to come he might, amongst its teeming millions, satiate his lust for blood, and create a new and ever-widening circle of semi-demons to batten on the helpless.
 

Dana Jean

Reformed Dirty Pirate Hooker
Moderator
Apr 11, 2006
45,027
183,669
Thornfield
#60
another:

ch. 24 Dr. Seward's Diary:

[van Helsing] “The Count is a criminal and of criminal type. Nordau and Lombroso would so classify him, and qua criminal he is of an imperfectly formed mind. Thus, in a difficulty he has to seek resource in habit. His past is a clue, and the one page of it that we know, and that from his own lips, tells that once before, when in what Mr. Morris would call a ‘tight place,’ he went back to his own country from the land he had tried to invade, and thence, without losing purpose, prepared himself for a new effort. He came again better equipped for his work, and won. So he came to London to invade a new land. He was beaten, and when all hope of success was lost, and his existence in danger, he fled back over the sea to his home. Just as formerly he had fled back over the Danube from Turkey Land.”
 
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