Rejoice, fellow nerds of the Doctor Who and Sherlock fandoms, the writing team of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are at it again! Their new project? A television series based around the 1897 novel by Bram Stoker, Dracula. The two men are known for their tight lips when it comes to their creative endeavors. Little by little, though, they’ve been revealing more information about this adaptation.
The exciting news is that the two men have finally put their heads together, and announced yesterday that they will begin their writing process will begin sometime “next month.” They have also revealed that within these next few weeks, they plan on fully committing to “getting stuck” into their writing process. Though Moffat has since left as showrunner and head writer for Doctor Who, this news is a bit upsetting to us Sherlock fans who might not see a new season crop up for quite some time.
It has also been announced that Mark Gatiss would love nothing more than to play the unfortunate inmate at a “lunatic asylum,” R M Renfield. Renfield’s character is notorious for eating live creatures in an effort to adopt their life force. Dracula soon takes him under his wing as a loyal servant, though we can only imagine this arrangement ending in disaster. No news on who the two have their eyes on for the title character yet, however.
The Icelandic version of Bram Stoker’s famed novel Dracula was published only a couple of years after the original English version, however it was not until 2014 that it was discovered that it was not, in fact, the same book.
Makt Myrkranna, directly translating to Powers of Darkness, was translated very soon after the original English version was published in 1897. However, over 100 years later, it was discovered that Valdimar Ásmundsson’s ‘translation’ was rather different from Stoker’s.
Dutch author and historian Hans Corneel de Roos, who himself translated the text back into English, wrote for Lithub that “literary researcher Richard Dalby reported on the 1901 Icelandic edition and on its preface, apparently written specifically for it by Stoker himself.” This sparked interest in Powers of Darkness. While Dracula scholars had known about the Icelandic version since 1986, no one had translated it back into English, and, though Dalby’s report sparked interest, it was still assumed the text was merely an abridged version of Stoker’s original.
As de Roos worked on the translation, patterns emerged: many of the characters had different names, the text was shorter and had a different structure, and it was markedly sexier than the English version, he writes.
De Roos notes that actually, Powers of Darkness is better than the original.
Although Dracula received positive reviews in most newspapers of the day…the original novel can be tedious and meandering….Powers of Darkness, by contrast, is written in a concise, punchy style; each scene adds to the progress of the plot.
It seems insane that these drastic changes lay undiscovered in the Icelandic version until so recently, but upon publication of the English translation of Makt Myrkranna, a Swedish scholar revealed that there was actually an 1899 Swedish version of Makt Myrkranna, which had been serialized in the Swedish newspapers Dagen and Aftonbladet. However, as with the Icelandic version, no English speaking Dracula scholars had paid any attention to it, and therefore their extreme similarities were overlooked. Scholar Rickard Berghorn realized that this older Swedish version had an identical title Mörkrets Makter, and on further inspection, it was discovered that the Swedish text contained scenes that weren’t in Dracula or Makt Myrkranna. This is a lot for a Tuesday and is making my brain hurt.
Today a solar eclipse will pass over the continental United States for the first time since 1918. Anybody lucky enough to see the total solar eclipse will be in for a literal once in a lifetime experience. It will be tempting to look directly at the eclipse, but scientists warn that this could seriously damage people’s eyes.
Not everybody deserves to hear this warning, though. Here are some characters who actually should look directly at the eclipse.
For those unfortunate people who have yet to read Charles Portis’s classic True Grit, Tom Chaney is the central villain. He shot Mattie Ross’s father dead, which sends the precocious young lady on an adventure to avenge her dad.
Portis manages to make Chaney a near-sympathetic character, but he still killed Mattie’s dad and Mattie is awesome. Best of all, Chaney would actually be directly under the total solar eclipse’s path. If you happen to run into Chaney today, make sure he doesn’t know about those eclipse glasses.
Transylvania may be far from the United States, but Count Dracula could be on vacation in New Orleans or something. If so, maybe you can forget to mention that you’re not supposed to look directly at the sun. You can find a way to artfully omit that information, right?
Magic mirror on the wall…don’t even bother. If the Queen looks at the solar eclipse, she’ll damage her sight so much she might not even be able to see. If she can’t see, then any concept of who’s the fairest of them all will surely fly out the window. In fact, if the Queen looks at the solar eclipse the central conflict in “Snow White” would be resolved.
Claudius is one wicked uncle. First, he kills his own brother, and then he marries his brother’s widow. Woof. Once he’s king, his nephew, Hamlet, swears vengeance. If Claudius went blind, then it would definitely make Hamlet’s quest for vengeance easier. Assuming the eclipse happened before the events of the play, then Claudius’s whole dastardly scheme would fall apart.
Anton Chigurh, famously played by Javier Bardem in the 2007 Coen brothers movie, is essentially a force of nature. With his captive bolt gun, Chigurh acts less like a madman and more like a professional big game hunter. Any hunter’s worst nightmare is going blind. Let’s see Chigurh nail those crazy shots without his precious 20/20 vision.
Major character names are always important. Though they need not be meaningful, they should have some cultural connotation and their pronunciation should not distract the overall storyline. While some authors like Ernest Hemingway tend to employ simple names, some others like Charles Dickens take a lot of planning time to come up with names with intrinsic values, such as Philip Pirrip from “Great Expectations”. Before publication, writers often go through drafts in which their main characters may have been called something else entirely. With a little digging, we have rounded up a list of classical literary figures who had almost been given different names.
1. Hermione Granger
Ditch Granger and think Hermione Puckle. Our favorite heroine would have come from the Puckle family if J.K.Rowling didn’t come to her senses. Upon realizing that Puckle just doesn’t “suit her at all”, Rowling renamed her into something with seriousness and a surname that would not make kids laugh when they read the text out loud.
2. Sherlock Holmes
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had named the eccentrically smart detective Sherringford but quickly gave up on the idea and gave the name to his brother instead. As the proposed elder brother of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, Sherringford had the duty to stay at home and manage the estate.
3. Dr. John H. Watson
As Detective Holmes’ close friend and assistant, Dr. Watson had been named Ormond Sacker in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s earlier drafts. Imagine “my dear Sacker” instead of “my dear Watson”, how does that sound to you?
4. Lucy Frost From Villette
The protagonist of Charlotte Bronte’s Villette, Lucy had the surname of “Snowe” before Bronte decidedly provided her with a more frosty name in accordance with her nature.
5. Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind
Before Gone With the Wind have gone through print runs, Margaret Mitchell hastily changed her main female character’s name from Pansy to Scarlett. Whether it is because he felt Scarlett exhibited a more feminine tone or because Pansy could potentially clash with maid Prissy’s name, we are glad she made the alteration.
6. Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens had given a lot of thought into the name of his sickly child from “A Christmas Carol”. After Small Sam, Little Larry and Puny Pete, he finally settled on Tiny Tim.
7. Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
In an earlier version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Peter Pevensie’s siblings were initially called “Ann”, “Martin” and “Rose”.
8. Count Dracula from Dracula
Bram Stoker initially intended the central character of his vampire fantasy to be known as Count Waympr, until he came across a historical documentation of Vlad II of Wallachia or Vlad Dracul during intensive research.
9. Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Truman Capote had named the protagonist in “A Breakfast at Tiffany’s” to be Connie Gustafson instead of Holly Golightly, something much less elegant and lyrical in comparison.
10. Little Orphan Annie
Orphan Annie could have been called Orphan Otto, until cartoonist Harold Gray’s publisher at the newspaper syndicate suggested that the name should match with the character and sound more like a girl.
11. Nancy Drew
Before “Nancy Drew” became the official name for the iconic girl detective, Stella Strong, Diana Drew, Diana Dare, Nan Nelson, Helen Hale, and Nan Drew were all considered.
12. Philip Marlowe
Via The Paris Review
One of the most investigative minds, Philip Marlowe is an unique character under Raymond Chandler’s creation. He was originally named as Mallory because Chandler wanted to pay a tribute to the English author Sir Thomas Malory. However, this idea was left behind after his wife suggested Marlowe.
Halloween is a time for spooky monsters like the well-known Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Headless Horseman. It’s also a time for scary books. After all, every monster we just mentioned shares one thing in common: a literary heritage.
Books are full of creepy ghouls, ghosts, and monsters, so it’s no surprise that a lot of our Halloween horror inspiration comes from the scary stories on our bookshelves. But how well do you know the scariest monsters in all of literature?
Get into the spirit of Halloween with this awesome infographic from the folks at the UK’s Morph Costumes. All of the classic creeps are there, and they’re all helpfully labeled with a “Scream Score,” which is calculated by evaluating their creepy appearance, supernatural powers, and evil intent. Morph Costumes says that Pennywise, from Stephen King’sIt, is the creepiest one of all. Do you agree?