The man. The myth. The legend. Dracula is no doubt a Halloween icon, but how much do you really know about the vampire and Stoker’s novel? Let’s look at seven things you really must know for the spooky season!
Vampires are a very popular image within pop culture and literature, but how much do we really know about them? Whether in movies, TV shows, or books, the image of vampires continues to evolve since Bram Stoker published Dracula in 1897. Is Dracula the first vampire? Why the name “Dracula”? How many Dracula‘s are there? Let’s find out! It’s time for another Bookstr history lesson where we dive into all things Dracula.
1. There are over 62 adaptations!
It isn’t hard to believe that Dracula is one of the most adapted pieces of literature to date. So far, the novel has been adapted over 62 times. That’s a lot of different Draculas! A few well-known names who took on the role of Dracula include Gary Oldman, Bela Lugosi, Claes Bang, Christopher Lee, Gerard Butler, Adam Sandler, and countless others. Looking to watch a Dracula adaptation? Try one from the list below!
- Dracula (1931)
- Dracula (1958)
- Hotel Transylvania (2012)
- Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula (1992)
2. Dracula actually wasn’t the first vampire in literature…
This is pretty well-known now thanks to recent scholarship, but it wasn’t always! Many believe Dracula is the first vampire to appear in literature given Stoker is accredited with creating many of the vampiric traits we see in pop culture today. However, a few vampire stories predate Stoker’s by quite some time.
One of these is the 1819 short story The Vampyre by John William Polidori. There is also the 1845 novel Varney the Vampire by James Malcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett Prest. Another depiction appears in a novella by Sheridan Le Fanu. Carmilla predates Stoker’s Dracula by 26 years and features a queer female vampire! Carmilla is in quite a few adaptations of her own since her rising popularity in pop culture. Haven’t read this vampiric tale yet? Grab the novella here!
3. Bram Stoker chose “Dracula” because he thought it meant “devil” in Romanian.
Apparently, Bram Stoker found the name “Dracula” in the Whitby public library while on vacation there. Whitby is in Yorkshire, northern England. According to Britannica,
“This name was derived from the Latin draco, meaning “dragon,” the basis for the elder Vlad’s epithet. In modern Romanian, drac has evolved to mean “devil.” Stoker is thought to have picked the name Dracula after reading a book that revealed to him this modern translation.”Britannica
4. Scholars say Dracula is possibly based on these two historical figures:
Stoker kept very extensive notes in his writing of Dracula, and while it doesn’t mention these two historical figures as a possible inspiration, many argue it could be true.
Elizabeth Báthory was a Hungarian noblewoman and alleged serial killer accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls and women. Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula is known for brutally torturing his foes. He is estimated to be responsible for over 80,000 deaths in his lifetime.
5. The book originally cost 6 shillings!
Archibald Constable and Company published Dracula in 1897. You could get a copy of the first edition for 6 shillings. Nowadays, if you try to buy a first edition copy of Stoker’s Dracula, it costs $5,000 or more. If it’s a signed copy, it costs tens of thousands of dollars. Also, for the first thousand sales of Stoker’s novel, he received no royalties! A first-edition copy is held by The British Library if you ever want to get your eyes on it.
6. Dracula has never gone out of print.
Since its publication in 1897, Stoker’s novel continues to stay in print. It isn’t uncommon for works to go out of print. This means the publisher no longer sells or makes the book. It is very common for works to go out of print at different times, but new editions of Stoker’s Dracula are continuously being published and in constant circulation.
7. Dracula started the garlic, no-reflection, sunlight, and crucifix sensitivities for all other vampires.
If you’re a vampire, you can blame your garlic sensitivity, no mirror reflection, sunlight sensitivity, and crucifix dislike on Dracula. These notable vampiric traits from Stoker’s novel have stood the test of time and are integrated into many of the vampiric figures we see in books and pop culture today.
Celebrate spooky season some more with Bookstr by adding these true crime recs to your TBR!