Friday 6 March 2009

Dracula question 1

I am always happy to try to answer questions from people. Today I received two questions concerning Dracula, and thought that the answers might be of both information and entertainment to other readers.

Here is the first question and answer.

In a comment to my post The creation of a modern myth, Orc Bruto writes:

... I am a historian and archeologist in Brazil, and I am finishing my Master Degree with a thesis about the influences of Sabine Baring-Gould's Book of Werewolves in Bram Stoker's Dracula.

I read in McNally & Florescu's In Search of Dracula and Other Vampires that there is a note in Rosenbach Foundation Stoker's Notes that says that Bram Stoker read the Book of Werewolves before writing his book... But I cannot find any source in internet with this passage...

I saw that you got Elizabeth Miller's Stoker's Notes Book. Is there any mention to Baring-Gould Book of Werewolves? Either Miller and the Romanian Dracula researcher Radu Carciumaru said me that McNally is not a very trustful source...

This prompted Leslie S. Klinger, author of The New Annotated Dracula to write:

'Please advise your correspondent that indeed Stoker did consult Baring-Gould's "Book of Werewolves"--it is on the list of reference books included in his notes, held at the Rosenbach Museum. I believe that the complete list is included somewhere in my book, and it is also reproduced in Clive Leatherdale's "Dracula Unearthed."'

In fact, the facsimile edition of Bram Stoker's Notes for Dracula reproduces the list of books that includes not only Baring-Gould's book on werewolves, but also his Curious Myths of the Middle Ages and Germany: Past & Present (p. 172-3).

On pages 128-131 you find the proof that Stoker did read Baring-Gould's book: Stoker's own notes from his reading of The Book of Were-Wolves, where he e.g. notes 'werewolf has broad hands, short fingers & has some hairs in hollow of hand p. 107', and that 'Serbs connect vampire & ww. together & call them same name vlkoslak'.

The editors of the Notes further write:

'The opening of "Dracula's Guest" echoes Sabine Baring-Gould's introduction to The Book of Were-Wolves, which was one of Bram Stoker's earliest and most important sources.' (p. 279-80)

'The Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould's The Book of Were-Wolves contains numerous descriptions which Stoker appropriated for his vampire: canine teeth, pointed nails, hairy palms and the ability to change form.' (p. 284)

The Notes are highly recommended, as are the books mentioned by Klinger. If you require more information, feel free to contact me by e-mail (see my profile).


Orc Bruto said...

Thanks for your help. I will try to find this books. Unhappily its quite hard to find them in Brazil, and buying in internet is very expensive for us...

Anyway, your indications were marvelous! Thanks you a lot!

Anthony Hogg said...

Hi Orc Bruto,

I may be of some assistance.

You can download a copy of Sabine Baring-Gould's The Book of Were-Wolves (1865) via this website.

Note: you might have to create a (free) account on the website, in order to be able to download its content.

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