Dracula (novel)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
German first edition, Max Altmann, Leipzig 1908

Dracula is a novel by Irish writer Bram Stoker published in 1897 . The central figure, Count Dracula , is probably the most famous vampire in literary history.


Stoker's handwritten notes with the characters in the novel
Dust jacket of the first English edition from 1897

The London lawyer Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania at the request of Count Dracula , as he had previously bought a house in London and now wants his lawyer to clarify the purchase and the upcoming crossing. On the way there, Harker notices some strange things for him. A resident hands Harker a rosary to protect him. In Bistritz he takes a stagecoach and at the Borgo Pass (Tihuța Pass) he is picked up by a coachman and accompanied to the Count's residence. The first few days are quiet, but Harker is asked not to enter some rooms and promises to adhere to them. He notices that the count has no reflection in the mirror and that he looks greedy at the sight of blood as he cuts himself while shaving. Soon the count becomes uncanny to the young Englishman, his outward appearance alone is strange: long, very white, pointed teeth and noticeably red lips.

Harker is not allowed to leave the castle and in the night he witnesses Dracula climbing down a wall as if he were a lizard. He is also warned not to sleep in any room other than his own. One day he enters a new room, falls asleep and is discovered by three very pretty young women who, like the Count, have unusually red lips and pointed, shining teeth. Harker pretends to be asleep and is almost bitten by one of the women, but Dracula suddenly appears and stops the woman. The count shows that he wants the young Harker to himself and throws the women a sack with a whimpering child trapped in it, which they pounce on when hungry.

Since that experience, Harker has been scared to death, he expects his imminent death. The count twice forced him to send letters with harmless content to his fiancée and his employer. The Count offers Harker the opportunity to escape with apparent friendliness, but Harker does not dare to pass the wolves ruled by the Count, who have previously torn a woman to pieces. Harker discovers a crypt in the castle, in which Dracula lies during the day in a box filled with earth, which is brought to England along with 49 other boxes on the ship Demeter . The young man finally manages to escape from the castle.

A good month later, the ship entered the harbor in the town of Whitby ( Yorkshire ) in a severe storm . The crew seems to have disappeared except for the dead captain who is tied to the helm, and at the moment the Demeter lands in the harbor a large black dog jumps ashore and disappears. From the captain's logbook one learns that there was apparently “something” or “a strange man” on board and the crew disappeared, sailor by sailor, until only the captain remained.

Wilhelmina "Mina" Murray, Jonathan Harker's fiancé, went to see her friend Lucy Westenra (in some translations also Westenraa, e.g. at Willms) in Whitby. Strange things are happening here. Lucy falls ill with severe somnambulism and one day Mina notices two punctiform marks on her friend's neck. Since Lucy's fiancé Arthur Holmwood has little time to look after his bride due to a serious illness of his father Lord Godalming, and because Lucy’s mother is also seriously ill, he asks his friend, the psychiatrist Dr. John Seward, who also solicited Lucy's favor to take care of her.

Seward is the head of an institution next to Carfax Abbey, Dracula's future home. Also in his care is a man named Renfield, who is a zoophagus and eats flies, spiders and sparrows. Seward has no advice about Lucy's illness and notifies his former teacher, the Dutch scholar Professor Abraham van Helsing. He knows immediately that he is dealing with a vampire - which he initially hides - and causes Holmwood to give his fiancée a blood donation because of her severe blood loss.

However, Lucy is haunted again in the following nights, also because her ignorant mother removed the garlic flowers that were hung up to protect her daughter. After meeting the vampire in the shape of a wolf one night, Lucy dies, although Dr. Seward, Prof. van Helsing and the American Quincey P. Morris, another admirer of Lucy, had donated blood for them. Lucy becomes the undead and chooses children to be victims.

Jonathan Harker has since returned: he spent three months in a hospital in Budapest and married Mina, who visited him there. Meanwhile, Arthur's father has died, and Harker's superior Hawkins also dies shortly after Jonathan's return. Informed by Harker's diary, van Helsing is determined to hunt and kill the vampire with the others. First of all, the group must free Lucy from the curse and prevent her from doing their nocturnal mischief. To do this, her fiancé hits her heart with a wooden stake. Her head is also severed and her mouth is filled with garlic.

Then the group begins a search for the vampire through London, as the earth-filled boxes have been distributed to different parts of the city. Meanwhile, Mina stays in Seward's sanatorium, where she is haunted by Dracula. He holds a kind of "blood wedding" with Mina by forcing her to drink his blood. He also kills Renfield after he has given him entry to the asylum, but wanted to prevent Dracula from making Mina the undead.

The vampire can initially be put to flight by the men and begins his return journey to Transylvania. Van Helsing places a host on Mina's forehead, which leaves a brand. Mina can empathize with the Count through her blood connection and, under hypnosis, shares his feelings with the others , from which they try to infer his whereabouts. They suspect that he wants to go to Varna ( Bulgaria ) and take the train there.

Since the count learns of her whereabouts through his connection with Mina, he instead steers the ship to Galatz , which the group is informed of by a telegram from Lloyd's Register of Shipping . Based on logical conclusions, Mina works out that the count is now going up the Sereth and the Bistritza on a ship to get to his castle. The group splits to intercept Dracula. You can place him near his castle just before sunset. After successfully fighting the gypsies who transported the box, Harker beheads the vampire with his kukri . His body crumbles and Mina's scar disappears. However, the death of Quincey P. Morris, who was fatally injured by the gypsies, is to be lamented.

Seven years later, Mina had a son from Jonathan, whom the parents named after their friends. One of his middle names, Quincey, should always be a reminder of her friend, who perished in the destruction of Count Dracula.


The novel is a mixture of travel , love , adventure and horror stories and consists formally of a series of diary entries , transcripts of phonograph recordings , letters and newspaper articles. However, in order to allow the protagonists to act uniformly and to avoid misunderstandings between them, the author initiates the characters in each case into the thoughts and notes of the others by letting individual people read the diaries of the others, for example Van Helsing's notes by Jonathan Harker .

The fact that the novel lacks a single authorial (or: "authoritarian") or personal narrator gives the whole thing a documentary and pseudoreal character. In addition, the work can be seen as an early example of multiple internal focussing . The diary character of the novel makes the reader participate in the action immediately, but this is weakened by the fact that the notes of the individual characters largely lack an individual style.


The vampire novel Dracula followed a whole series of stories about vampires that became a popular topos of literature in the Romantic era and later in the 19th century . In addition, he is assigned to the genre of the horror novel because Stoker uses elements such as ancient castles, ancestral curses and supernatural apparitions in his novel.

Stoker was particularly influenced and impressed by the story Carmilla by Irishman Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu . Stoker's novel was also initially set to take place in Styria , and in an introductory chapter he let his protagonist Jonathan Harker discover the vampire's grave. However, Stoker chose Transylvania. The introductory chapter was removed and later published as a short story entitled Dracula's Guest .

Vlad Țepeș, the possible role model for Stoker's fictional character

Stoker moved the location also because he wanted to refer to the historical figure of Vlad Țepeş (Vlad the Impaler , 1431–1476), a Wallachian voivode notorious for his cruelty , whom he reworked into a fictional character.

However, the role model function of Vlad for Stoker's Dracula is sometimes denied. Elizabeth Miller claims that in Stoker's Dracula no biographical details of Vlad appear and that Stoker named "Dracula" solely because of the wrong or at least contained in a source he used (William Wilkinson, An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia ) chose imprecise translation as "devil".

Bram Stoker also wrote The Land beyond the Forest. Facts and Fancies from Transsylvania (Edinburgh and New York 1888) by the Scottish travel writer Emily Gerard used as a source of information. There she describes the legendary figure Nosferatu , whom she translates as undead . She had already reported in a magazine three years earlier about the folk beliefs of the people of Transylvania.

The sentence "The dead ride fast" is striking , which appears in the novel and in Dracula's guest . This sentence originally comes from the ballad Lenore , which cannot rule out an influence of the work on Stoker.

Stoker's client, actor Henry Irving (here in an illustration as Hamlet) is said to have been the godfather of Dracula's appearance.

When it comes to the appearance of his literary figure, Stoker et al. a. on the features of Shakespeare actor Henry Irving , of whom he was the agent. Why he gave Dracula's adversary, van Helsing, of all things, his own first name ( Abraham ) would be " interesting to question from a psychoanalytic point of view" ( Prüßmann ). The author even worked the Hungarian orientalist Armin Vambery , with whom Stoker was known and from whom he came across the character of Vlad Țepeș, as van Helsing's liaison in the novel.

At present, the novel today was Romanian Transylvania (in German and Transylvania ), part of the Kingdom of Hungary and the Austro-Hungarian -Monarchie Austria-Hungary . However, Stoker was never in the "exotic" places of his novel in his entire life. He therefore did extensive research and scoured libraries and archives, especially those of the British Museum . Military maps, vampire tales (avoid sun and garlic, long teeth, drink blood) and reports from English travelers served as documents. His research was so precise that even the train schedules mentioned in the novel matched reality. He took these and other data from a travel guide popular at the time, the Baedeker for Austria-Hungary , the 24th edition of which appeared in 1895. Despite all the meticulousness, Stoker made massive mistakes in terms of geography and history. So he turned Dracula into a Szekler , although the historical prince was a voivode of the Principality of Wallachia and would have been more in the southern than the northern Carpathians. He also portrayed the Transylvanian landscape as darker than it really is.

The Austrian documentary Die Vampirprinzessin (The Vampire Princess) puts forward the theory that Eleonore von Schwarzenberg , a noblewoman from the Bohemian Lobkowitz family , is said to have served as inspiration for Stoker's novel, since the people saw her as a vampire.

A possible source of inspiration for Stoker could also have been the noble Elisabeth Báthory , known as the "Blood Countess" , but this is controversial (see legends about Elisabeth Báthory ).

German editions

Advertisement for the first German Dracula edition from 1908

The following list refers to the year in which the German translation was first published (if it can be determined). Most of these transmissions have since seen numerous editions from multiple publishers. The most complete translations are those by Stasi Kull (pseudonym of HC Artmann ), Karl Bruno Leder and Bernhard Willms .


On May 26, 1897, the book was published in London by "Archibald Constable and Company".

Constable & Robinson published a reprint of the novel in 2012, including a facsimile of Stoker's original contract with “Archibald Constable and Company”.

In 2012 Audible published an audiobook version in which the various roles were read by different speakers ( Tim Curry , Alan Cumming , Simon Vance , Katherine Kellgren , Susan Duerden and others). This audio book was honored at the 2013 Audie Awards in the Distinguished Achievement in Production category.

Stage versions

Even while the novel was being written, Stoker wanted his subject matter to be dramatized. Dracula actually saw the light of day for the first time in the form of a staged reading on May 18, 1897, which Stoker held at the Lyceum Theater , where he himself worked as a stage manager. One of the reasons for this one-off performance was, as was customary at the time, to secure the rights to dramatize. Stoker wrote his own five-act reading version, including a prologue, with assigned roles, which was performed by fifteen members of the Lyceum ensemble under the title Dracula, or The Un-Dead . The Dracula was given by an actor named Mr. Jones, probably referring to Thomas Arthur Jones (1871-1954), who thus became the first Dracula actor at all.

As a result, Stoker always hoped to be able to perform Dracula in a full production in the Lyceum and to win the theater director himself, his employer (and probably also his secret role model for the Dracula figure) Henry Irving, for the lead role. But Irving was the material too trivial (he called it "hideous" - English: "dreadful"), and he refused to take on the title role. So Stoker had to give up this wish first. It was not until years later that Dracula was finally adapted for the stage and performed.

Hamilton Deane , a childhood friend of Stoker, wrote the play Dracula: The Vampire Play in 3 Acts , which premiered in Derby in 1925. It was finally edited for the US market by John L. Balderston and premiered two years later in New York City with the later screen Dracula Bela Lugosi in the lead role. In later productions u. a. Frank Langella , Ferdy Mayne and Jeremy Brett play the role of the Countess Vampire on stage.

First performance of the musical on October 13, 2001 at the La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego (USA) - "Dracula (Frank Wildhorn)". The German-language premiere took place on April 23, 2005 in the St. Gallen Theater ( Switzerland ).

In October 2017 the opera Dracula by the composer Victoria Borisova-Ollas was premiered at the Royal Opera in Stockholm .

Since 2019, Christoph Tiemann and the Theater ex libris have been bringing the novel to the stage as a live radio play at changing locations with accompanying slide shows and live music.


The English composer Philip Feeney composed the ballet Dracula for the Northern Ballet Theater in 1997 to mark the novel's 100th anniversary .

In 1999 Philip Glass composed new music for Tod Browning's film adaptation from 1931. The first recording of the new score was performed by the renowned Kronos Quartet .

In 2008 the Nuremberg Gothic Jazz Orchestra published the radio play concert "Der Graf". Taking into account the historical figure Vlad III. Drăculea's adaptation of the novel was combined with a nine-part musical program setting of the characters, places and affects of the novel. The cycle was composed by the Nuremberg musician Andreas Wiersich.


Dracula is a regularly appearing super villain character in the Marvel Comics universe . (See also characters from the Marvel Universe and Tomb of Dracula ).

The Austrian author Reinhard Wegerth allowed Dracula to continue his mischief as Count Schleckerl in Vienna during the interwar period (illustrator: Herbert Pasteiner).

In Dracula's Footsteps is a three-part comic series, written by Yves Huppen , that deals with the origins of the myth.

Film adaptations (selection)

There are many films that use the motif of the vampire (see: List of Vampire Films ), in several hundred of them the character of Dracula appears (an overview: see category: Dracula film ). According to the Guinness Book of Records , Dracula is the literary character most often portrayed in film. The representations by Max Schreck ( 1922 ), Bela Lugosi ( 1931 ), Christopher Lee ( 1958 ), Frank Langella (| 1979 ), Klaus Kinski ( 1979 ) and Gary Oldman ( 1992 ) achieved a certain degree of popularity . The films listed below refer explicitly to the novel, even if they remain true to the original to varying degrees. The novel has also served as a template for series since the 2010s.

year title Original title Director Title role
1921 Dracula's Death
(Hungarian silent film, lost)
Dracula halála Károly Lajthay Paul Askonas
1922 Nosferatu - A Symphony of Horror
(free adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel)
Nosferatu - A symphony of horror Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Max Schreck
1931 Dracula
(mostly based on Hamilton Deane's play)
Dracula Death Browning Bela Lugosi
1931 Drácula
(Spanish parallel production of the Browning film)
Drácula George Melford , Enrique Tovar Ávalos Carlos Villarías
1953 Dracula in Istanbul
(Turkish adaptation)
Dracula Istanbul'da Mehmet Mutar Atif Kaptan
1956 Dracula
(TV movie)
Dracula Lamont Johnson John Carradine
1958 Dracula Dracula Terence Fisher Christopher Lee
1968 Dracula
(TV movie)
Dracula Patrick Dromgoole Denholm Elliott
1970 At night when Dracula wakes up El Conde Drácula Jess Franco Christopher Lee
1970 ( no German title )
(Czech TV adaptation of the novel)
Hrabě Dracula Anna Procházková Ilya Racek
1970 Jonathan Jonathan Hans W. Geißendörfer Paul Albert Krumm
1973 Dracula
(TV movie)
Dracula Jack Nixon-Browne Norman Welsh
1973 Count Dracula
(TV adaptation)
Dan Curtis' Dracula Dan Curtis Jack Palance
1977 Count Dracula
(TV movie)
Count Dracula Philip Saville Louis Jourdan
1979 Nosferatu - Phantom of the Night
( remake of Murnaus Nosferatu )
Nosferatu - Phantom of the Night Werner Herzog Klaus Kinski
1979 Dracula '79
(remake of the Browning adaptation)
Dracula John Badham Frank Langella
1980 ( no German title )
(TV adaptation of Deane's play)
Passion of Dracula Bob Hall Christopher Bernau
1992 Bram Stoker's Dracula Dracula Francis Ford Coppola Gary Oldman
1995 Dracula - Dead But Happy
( parody of Brownings and Coppola's adaptations)
Dracula: Dead and Loving it Mel Brooks Leslie Nielsen
2000 Shadow of the Vampire
(homage to and satire about Murnau's Nosferatu )
Shadow of the Vampire E. Elias Merhige Willem Dafoe
2002 Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary
(combination of silent film and ballet)
Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary Guy Maddin Wei-Qiang Zhang
2002 Dracula
(TV movie)
Il Bacio di Dracula Roger Young Patrick Bergin
2006 Dracula
(TV movie)
Dracula Bill Eagles Marc Warren
2008 Bram Stoker's Dracula's Guest
(based on the introductory chapter Dracula's Guest, which was published later )
Dracula 'Guest Michael Feifer Andrew Bryniarski
2012 Dario Argentos Dracula Dracula 3D Dario Argento Thomas Kretschmann
2013 Dracula
(TV series)
Dracula Steve Shill ,
Andy Goddard ,
Nick Murphy ,
Brian Kelly ,
Tim Fywell
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
2020 Dracula
Dracula Jonny Campbell ,
Paul McGuigan ,
Damon Thomas
Claes Bang


  • David J. Skal: Hollywood Gothic. The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen. Norton, New York / London 1990, ISBN 0-393-30805-7 .
  • Ken Gelder: Reading the Vampire. Routledge, London 1994, ISBN 0-415-08013-4 .
  • Raymond T. McNally, Radu Florescu: In Search of Dracula. Houghton Mifflin, Boston 1994, ISBN 0-395-65783-0 .
  • William Hughes: Beyond Dracula: Bram Stoker's Fiction and its Cultural Contexts. Macmillan Palgrave, Basingstoke 2000, ISBN 0-312-23136-9 .
  • Claus-Artur Scheier: The logical Count Dracula. Wehrhahn, Hannover 2000, ISBN 3-932324-67-6 .
  • Michaela Schäuble: Revenant, cross-border commuter, doppelganger. Rites-de-Passage in Bram Stoker's Dracula (= EuroMed , Volume 4). Lit, Münster / Hamburg / London 2006, ISBN 3-8258-6976-8 .
  • Robert Eighteen-Bisang, Elizabeth Miller: Bram Stoker's Notes for Dracula: A Facsimile Edition. McFarland, Toronto 2008, ISBN 978-0-7864-3410-7 .
  • Jörg Drews: Dracula . In: Heinz Ludwig Arnold (Hrsg.): Kindlers Literatur Lexikon . 3rd, completely revised edition. 18 volumes, Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2009, ISBN 978-3-476-04000-8 , volume 15, pp. 614-617 ( munzinger.de E-Text).

Web links

Wikisource: Original text of the novel in English  - sources and full texts (English)

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Vampire books on loan from the Graz Museum , Styrian State Library , April 4, 2014
  2. Elizabeth Miller: Dracula: The Shade and the Shadow. A Critical Anthology . Transylvania Press, Westcliff-on-Sea 1998, ISBN 1-874287-10-4 .
  3. Elizabeth Miller: Reflections on Dracula . Transylvania Press, 1997, ISBN 1-55135-004-1 , chap. 1 .
  4. The passages relating to Nosferatu from Mrs. Gerard's 1885 article are reprinted by Leonard Wolf (editor), Dracula. The Connoisseur's Guide, New York 1997, pp. 21-22.
  5. Alex Hinrichsen: Baedeker's travel guides 1828–1945 . Ursula Hinrichsen Verlag, Holzminden 1979, ISBN 3-922293-01-8 , p. 16 .
  6. independent.co.uk , accessed March 28, 2012
  7. 2013 Audie Awards. Retrieved November 2, 2018 .
  8. ^ Staged Reading of Dracula. Retrieved February 7, 2018 .
  9. Dracula. Retrieved February 6, 2018 (Swedish).
  10. Dracula by Bram Stoker. In: Website Christoph Tiemann & das Theater ex libris. Accessed January 2, 2020 .
  11. findarticles.com
  12. glasspages.org ( Memento of the original dated December 23, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.glasspages.org
  13. Report in the official homepage of the Guinness Book of Records , status 2014.
  14. Bram Stoker in the Internet Movie Database (English)