From Hannah: Dracula (1897, Bram Stoker) is a novel about reproduction.
(And not just the reproduction of the heteronormative family/biological reproduction or the reproduction of the nation-state or even those disruptions through the infiltration of and reproduction of the vampire. Although, yes that, and so much more. But I’ll save that for the actual episode.)
At its core, Dracula is also a novel about textual reproduction and this is emphasized again and again through the epistolary form of the novel. Almost the very last lines of the novel demonstrate this in singular detail. Those who survive Dracula’s onslaught (spoiler alert I guess but also it’s a Victorian novel?) look back over the course of their adventures and, “We were struck with the fact, that in all the mass of material of which the record is composed, there is hardly one authentic document; nothing but a mass of typewriting, except the later note-books of Mina and Seward and [Harker] and Van Helsing’s memorandum.”
Throughout the story, the documents that compromise the narrative are being taken from their original form and being transformed into something new, harmonizing journals, letters, notebooks, and even voice recordings. (To get an idea of how disjointed the documents in Dracula are, you can look at an inspired Kickstarter project I absolutely could not afford to help fund but desperately wanted to.)
Perhaps it is fitting, then, that there have been so many reproductions of Dracula, from the Swedish/Icelandic translation/reinterpretation Powers of Darkness to the silent German film Nosferatu (we all know it’s really a Dracula story) to the 1992 film that I hated so much it somehow produced this episode idea.
So we want to do all episode on all the Draculas (no other vampires, just Dracula in his many forms), or — as my co-hosts insist — all the Draculi. I certainly want to do a deep-dive into the original text (if you haven’t read it, you should because it’s what you think and also VERY MUCH not what you think), but I also want to think about how Dracula has been translated and reproduced across time and space … and what hasn’t been reproduced in certain adaptations.
What is so interesting to you about Dracula as a figure? What characters, themes, and spaces do you absolutely associate with him? What are your favorite adaptations? Let us know what you’d like to talk about in the comments, it’s going to be a fun show!
(And if you can get your hands on Powers of Darkness, you should read it, it’s absolutely bizarre and amazing.)