In the January 2011 (issue 77) Scary Monsters Magazine, Bob Statzer reviews the scholarly debate on the short story Dracula’s Guest. The novel, Dracula, was created between 1890 and 1897 with revisions going to the last months before publication. The classic novel was originally known as The Un-Dead, and published as Dracula. The original notes for the novel eventually came to rest in Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Museum in 1973. Then, without much warning, an original 541 page manuscript surfaced in the 1980′s, originally owned by Stoker’s friend Thomas Donaldson. From this information more can be deduced.
Mrs. Stoker first published the short story, Dracula’s Guest, in 1914 within a collection of other stories. In an 1892 Stoker outline, Jonathan Harker was supposed to be attacked in Munich in late April. This section was dropped, but elements from this story line remained in other chapters until the final edits. Ostensibly, Bram Stoker was using the 30th April – the eve of St. Walpurgis (Walpurgisnacht) as the background for these early concepts. From Stoker’s Dracula’s Guest: “Walpurgis Night was when, according to the belief of millions of people, the devil was abroad – when the graves were opened and the dead come forth and walked. When all evil things of earth and air and water held revel.”
There are also three chapters deleted from the “final” cut of Dracula, and of those it appears a few parts went into creating Dracula’s Guest. If you have ever read the book, it is a powerful narrative, but it can’t stand the strain of too close attention. To the scholar, it often asks more questions than it answers. Now we can understand why. As an editor, Stoker was a “cut and paste” man. If he wrote it, and didn’t like it, he might as easily make it into a short story, or tack it into some other novel down the way. He often physically clipped parts of his manuscript, and pasted them elsewhere.
Statzer tells us that the first chapter of the book we now have was originally chapter 4 and page 103 of the original manuscript! To make things odder, the 1912 revision excised chapter 16 of the 1903 version. Dracula has been through a lot – as character, and as a book!
Statzer does not mention Lovecraft’s claim about Miniter. Lovecraft reports that Edith Miniter claimed to have been offered the job of revising Dracula by an agent of Stoker’s back in the 1890′s, but refused, finding the manuscript unmanageable. Based on the historicity of the manuscript, it appears Lovecraft was right again. Stoker managed on his own, and we now have Dracula.