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Old 09-17-2019, 03:37 PM
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What was Dracula's end game in moving to London?


I'm slogging my way through Dracula, about halfway done, and something's bugging me. I know enough just from popular culture that Dracula's heading to London, but why? It seems to me he's safe enough back home. Everyone's scared of him, the gypsy band is helping him out, but in London, he loses all of that. Sure, no one believes in vampires so there's easier kills, but enough people start dying off with holes in their necks and a lot of people are going to start realizing 2+2=4, and there's a lot of population around to hunt you down. Does the book go into why Dracula moved to England, or is that just something that happened for the story? It's not making a lot of sense for me.
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Old 09-17-2019, 03:43 PM
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To get away from the smell of garlic?
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Old 09-17-2019, 03:46 PM
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Wasn’t it to court Mina Harker, the reincarnation of his suicidal lady?
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Old 09-17-2019, 03:46 PM
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A while since I read the book, but I think Dracula is asked that at one point and explains, in essence, that he's ambitious to spread his power, which is easier in a major power-center like London.

BTW, I don't think vampirism is contagious in the original East Euro legends. There are several ways to become a vampire, but being bitten by one is not one of them. Also, in most such legends, a vampire is as mindless as a Romero slow-zombie.

Also, a silver weapon being required to kill a werewolf is a Hollywood invention. In the original legends, a werewolf can be killed by anything that will kill a man or a wolf. And werewolves are werewolves by choice, casting a spell to turn their shape, rather than being cursed with the condition.
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Old 09-17-2019, 03:47 PM
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To get away from the smell of garlic?
Not much used in British cookery. But in the book, and I think in the legends, you repel vampires with garlic flowers, not bulbs.
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Old 09-17-2019, 03:48 PM
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Wasn’t it to court Mina Harker, the reincarnation of his suicidal lady?
I don't think that's in the book. Not in the movies, either, prior to Bram Stoker's Dracula.
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Old 09-17-2019, 04:00 PM
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Wasn’t it to court Mina Harker, the reincarnation of his suicidal lady?
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I don't think that's in the book. Not in the movies, either, prior to Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Not in the book. It first entered the movies in the 1973 TV movie starring Jack Palance. Some people speculate that the trope was inspired by the Boris Karloff version of The Mummy.
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Old 09-17-2019, 04:05 PM
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Dracula never gives his motive in the text. The closest we have are Harker's recounting of their dinner conversations.

As near as I can figure, Fred Saberhagen had it right - Dracula wanted to join then Nineteenth Century. He'd been couped up in his castle in Transylvania for four hundred years, and figured the rest of the world had finally caught up with him.
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Old 09-17-2019, 04:07 PM
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Dracula never gives his motive in the text. The closest we have are Harker's recounting of their dinner conversations.

As near as I can figure, Fred Saberhagen had it right - Dracula wanted to join then Nineteenth Century. He'd been couped up in his castle in Transylvania for four hundred years, and figured the rest of the world had finally caught up with him.
"A scientific and industrial revolution! At long last, the world is ready for vampires!"
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Old 09-17-2019, 04:23 PM
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Fresh Snacks.


It's not clear why he didn't just go to somewhere on the Continent, like France, or (like Count Orlok) Germany. That would've eliminated all the subterfuge in crossing water.

Maybe he had a hankering for British Blood Pudding.
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Old 09-17-2019, 04:25 PM
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Not in the book. It first entered the movies in the 1973 TV movie starring Jack Palance. Some people speculate that the trope was inspired by the Boris Karloff version of The Mummy.
Yep -- I'm one of the speculators.

Read all about it here -- Dracula's Re-incarnated Wife

https://srichardwilkcom.wordpress.co...carnated-wife/
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Old 09-17-2019, 04:25 PM
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Dracula never gives his motive in the text. The closest we have are Harker's recounting of their dinner conversations.
On reflection, I think that part about wanting to spread his power was from the Dracula stage play, on which the Universal film was (loosely) based.
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Old 09-17-2019, 04:53 PM
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Dracula never gives his motive in the text. The closest we have are Harker's recounting of their dinner conversations.

As near as I can figure, Fred Saberhagen had it right - Dracula wanted to join then Nineteenth Century. He'd been couped up in his castle in Transylvania for four hundred years, and figured the rest of the world had finally caught up with him.
I'm where Van Helsing just revealed his theory that it must be Lucy that's killing the children. Guess I haven't hit My Dinner with The Undead yet.
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Old 09-17-2019, 05:10 PM
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I don't know if Bram Stoker was an Irish patriot, or an Empire loyalist, but he was making a comfortable living in London, and writing for a London-centric audience. People who live in financial centers often think that their city is the center of the universe, and cannot imagine anyone wanting to live anywhere else.

Why does Dracula move to London? Because he can!




My apologies for not giving you proper credit, Cal. I knew I had gotten the idea from you, but could not remember exactly where I had read the details.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:15 PM
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I don't know if Bram Stoker was an Irish patriot, or an Empire loyalist, but he was making a comfortable living in London, and writing for a London-centric audience. People who live in financial centers often think that their city is the center of the universe, and cannot imagine anyone wanting to live anywhere else.

Why does Dracula move to London? Because he can!
I can certainly understand it being written for those reasons, but I had been hoping for something deeper.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:52 PM
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No, I agree with the others...he wanted to spread his power, infect the greater populace with vampirism, and London was the Big Apple of the day. Dracula was the mysterious, tentacled East, and the late Victorian was scared shitless of those guys. They gots WHITE WOMEN to protect, too!

See also du Maurier’s contemporaneous Trilby, with the Eastern European (and Jewish) Other, Svengali, sinking his figurative fangs into a flower of British womanhood. And, of course, the later books featuring the insidious Devil Doctor, Fu Manchu.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:56 PM
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Also, Mina Harker played second banana to Lucy Westernra, who succumbed to the Count’s bite first, and DID become a vampire. Or “boofer lady,” which confused the crap out of me at first reading (age...12?). I eventually figured out it was the childish pronunciation of “beautiful lady,” which Lucy certainly was. (She specialized in biting little kids. Ew.)
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:57 PM
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Also also, you’re “slogging?” Dracula is one of the greatest thrillers ever written! I’ve bounded through it at least a half-dozen times.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:01 PM
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Also also, you’re “slogging?” Dracula is one of the greatest thrillers ever written! I’ve bounded through it at least a half-dozen times.
Frankenstein, on the other hand...
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:03 PM
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A while since I read the book, but I think Dracula is asked that at one point and explains, in essence, that he's ambitious to spread his power, which is easier in a major power-center like London.

BTW, I don't think vampirism is contagious in the original East Euro legends. There are several ways to become a vampire, but being bitten by one is not one of them. Also, in most such legends, a vampire is as mindless as a Romero slow-zombie.

Also, a silver weapon being required to kill a werewolf is a Hollywood invention. In the original legends, a werewolf can be killed by anything that will kill a man or a wolf. And werewolves are werewolves by choice, casting a spell to turn their shape, rather than being cursed with the condition.
Skipper - "That's Hollywood for you. Anyone knows that wolfsbane is only used against werewolves."
Mary Ann - "It was a very good picture."
Skipper - "Well, maybe so, but a mistake like that makes the whole picture unbelievable."
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:27 PM
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Frankenstein, on the other hand...
Yeah, as a thriller or horror novel, Frankenstein sucks ass. That’s the difference between 1818 and 1897, I guess.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:49 PM
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Yeah, as a thriller or horror novel, Frankenstein sucks ass. That’s the difference between 1818 and 1897, I guess.
Frankenstein is widely considered the first horror novel. You would expect writers would get better at it over time, having previous writers to learn from.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:54 PM
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Also also, you’re “slogging?” Dracula is one of the greatest thrillers ever written! I’ve bounded through it at least a half-dozen times.
Yeah, “Dracula” stands up as a hell of good thriller.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:56 PM
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Yeah, “Dracula” stands up as a hell of good thriller.
Partly because Stoker wasn't afraid to sex it up.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:00 PM
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Speaking of sexing it up, here’s the great Kate Beaton’s comix take on Dracula.

Best line: “I would like to go to university.”

http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=285
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:21 PM
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Also also, you’re “slogging?” Dracula is one of the greatest thrillers ever written! I’ve bounded through it at least a half-dozen times.
I am not a fan of the writing style. If your story is letters back and forth detailing full conversations and actions, just write the damn conversations and actions. I keep thinking, "man, this is a really wordy letter." I'm pushing myself through it.

Still, it is better than Frankenstein.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:43 PM
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Yeah, I understand. My son couldn’t make it halfway through The War of the Worlds because he couldn’t take Wells’s 1897 prose.

I majored in European late Romantic Decadant literature, so this sort of shit is just my cup of tea. For me, epistolary novels rock. But it’s not for everyone.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:44 PM
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I am not a fan of the writing style. If your story is letters back and forth detailing full conversations and actions, just write the damn conversations and actions. I keep thinking, "man, this is a really wordy letter." I'm pushing myself through it.
The epistolary novel was by that time a long-established tradition, going back to the 18th Century.

Or earlier.

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It made the girls whistle!

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Old 09-17-2019, 10:25 PM
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The epistolary novel was by that time a long-established tradition, going back to the 18th Century.
I was wondering if it was connected to the writing style of the period.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:36 PM
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I found Dracula far more tedious to read than Frankenstein.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:37 PM
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so this sort of shit is just my cup of tea. .
Mixed metaphors and all
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:38 PM
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:43 PM
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Yeah, I understand. My son couldn’t make it halfway through The War of the Worlds because he couldn’t take Wells’s 1897 prose.
I got bored as hell with the ever-long break in the action in the dude's basement and his obsession with digging a tunnel to London. I did like the river battle with the gunboat and the tripod.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:53 PM
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And werewolves are werewolves by choice, casting a spell to turn their shape, rather than being cursed with the condition.
Marie de France's Bisclavret (12th century) was cursed, not by choice.
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I don't know if Bram Stoker was an Irish patriot, or an Empire loyalist, but he was making a comfortable living in London, and writing for a London-centric audience.
"Stoker was raised a Protestant in the Church of Ireland. He was a strong supporter of the Liberal Party and took a keen interest in Irish affairs. As a "philosophical home ruler," he supported Home Rule for Ireland brought about by peaceful means. He remained an ardent monarchist who believed that Ireland should remain within the British Empire, an entity that he saw as a force for good. He was an admirer of Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, whom he knew personally, and supported his plans for Ireland."

So hardly radical but not a "sellout." Religion wasn't even as highly predictive of polarization then, many Protestants were supportive of rebellions, though it was a relatively quiet time during his lifetime.
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:45 AM
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Frankenstein is widely considered the first horror novel. You would expect writers would get better at it over time, having previous writers to learn from.
Actually, The Castle of Otranto and The Monk came before Mrs. Shelley's piece of dreck. And some of Ann Radcliffe's novels may qualify. Personally, I read part of one her novels for a college course, and I'll never touch her work again.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:26 AM
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Love... Everlasting.
Actually, as David J. Skal has argued in his many books on The Count, there ain't no love in Dracula -- he's a predator who cares nothing for others. The whole "romantic" vibe that saturates adaptations of his work comes from the adapters and the actors (although the situation undoubtedly inspires it.) But you won't find any love (or a re-incarnated wife) in stoker's original novel.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:25 AM
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I'm probably conflating later works with the original novel, but I remember Dracula having some dialogue along the lines of wanting to move to London because it was the heart of the greatest empire in the world and the heart of global commerce (pun very much intended). The implication at least, if it wasn't outright stated, was that Dracula was tired of preying on cringing peasants in a remote backwater. London offered him a veritable buffet of prey from around the world. And, he was an ambitious medieval warlord. Again, there was an implication, if it was not stated outright, that he had designs on the British throne.

Am I remembering any of that correctly as being in the original novel, or was all of that from later adaptations?
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:34 AM
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I read it about 3 years ago and my impression was that he was looking for a new hunting ground and London was growing with a large transient population of anonymous lower class workers. They'd be easy prey and no one would miss them. This was an alternative to his minions to going further afield for human food among a fearful Transylvanian population.

I'm trying to recall if there was anything explicit in the text or I just made that up though.

Of course, aside from that author being a Brit, that doesn't answer the question of why London? Especially given that crossing the ocean would have been fraught with danger for him.

That's the main thing the struck me as silly about the whole plan, even if you're a vampire, when your ship sinks in 200ft of water and you're nailed in a coffin in the cargo hold you're screwed. Big cities like Paris or Berlin would make way more sense.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:44 AM
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Yeah, I understand. My son couldn’t make it halfway through The War of the Worlds because he couldn’t take Wells’s 1897 prose.

I majored in European late Romantic Decadant literature, so this sort of shit is just my cup of tea. For me, epistolary novels rock. But it’s not for everyone.
Have you read Patrick O'Brian?
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:51 AM
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Refreshing my memory thanks to Project Gutenberg, the most Dracula has to say about his reasons for moving is in conversation with Jonathan Harker, in Chapter Two:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Count Dracula
Through them [English books] I have come to know your great England; and to know her is to love her. I long to go through the crowded streets of your mighty London, to be in the midst of the whirl and rush of humanity, to share its life, its change, its death, and all that makes it what it is.
A few sentences later, he also talks about wanting to learn to speak English perfectly, so that he can blend in once he gets to London, and no one will recognize him as a stranger. The mention of London's "crowded streets" and "sharing its life" does suggest that he is largely interested in a new hunting ground, and he wants to be as inconspicuous there as he possibly can.

There's also some talk about how as a boyar (a nobleman), he is accustomed to being master of others. I don't know if that translates to actual designs on the monarchy or not, but he certainly sees himself as superior to the people he will be preying on.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:00 AM
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Also, Mina Harker played second banana to Lucy Westernra, who succumbed to the Count’s bite first, and DID become a vampire. Or “boofer lady,” which confused the crap out of me at first reading (age...12?). I eventually figured out it was the childish pronunciation of “beautiful lady,” which Lucy certainly was. (She specialized in biting little kids. Ew.)
I'd brag that I understood what "Boofer lady" meant at age 12, but I was also reading Leonard Wolf's Annotated Dracula, so I was sort of cheating.

I also had forgotten that Drac did have a wonderfully melodramatic speech just after escaping from one of his London flats with a handful of gold. IIRC, he summed up his motives basically as: "I'm going to seduce ALL your beautiful, innocent English ladies!"
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:42 AM
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Stoker was an Irish author who lived in London. It’s been many years since I read the book, but presumably it is just easier to write about what you know.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:51 AM
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Have you read Patrick O'Brian?
Nope....not all that into boats. But if I were, shouldn’t I read Horatio Hornblower first?
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Old 09-18-2019, 10:00 AM
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Nope....not all that into boats. But if I were, shouldn’t I read Horatio Hornblower first?
No. O'Brian writes in an old style that I enjoy.
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Old 09-18-2019, 10:12 AM
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No. O'Brian writes in an old style that I enjoy.
What about Frederick Marryat (Peter Simple, 1834)? He’s supposed to the the originator of the modern sea adventure novel, and he was actually LIVING in old style.
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Old 09-18-2019, 10:43 AM
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What about Frederick Marryat (Peter Simple, 1834)? He’s supposed to the the originator of the modern sea adventure novel, and he was actually LIVING in old style.
I read his Midshipman Easy some time ago. I probably would not have finished it had it not been for my interest in the genra.
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Old 09-18-2019, 12:00 PM
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I'm probably conflating later works with the original novel, but I remember Dracula having some dialogue along the lines of wanting to move to London because it was the heart of the greatest empire in the world and the heart of global commerce (pun very much intended). The implication at least, if it wasn't outright stated, was that Dracula was tired of preying on cringing peasants in a remote backwater. London offered him a veritable buffet of prey from around the world. And, he was an ambitious medieval warlord. Again, there was an implication, if it was not stated outright, that he had designs on the British throne.

Am I remembering any of that correctly as being in the original novel, or was all of that from later adaptations?
Bram Stoker no doubt thought London was all that, too, so why not have Dracula move there? It certainly opened up the novel, with more characters to expand it. (that was one of my favorite parts of the novel, the horrifying voyage on that doomed ship. It was at one time supposed to be the basis of a movie starring Viggo Mortensen, but it fell through.)

Sounds like Dracula was tired of his limited human blood diet in Olde Country (black bread and cabbage) and wanted to go to somewhere more cosmopolitan for a buffet - fish and chips (English), pasta (Italian), bread and bagels (Jewish), fried rice (Chinese) lol.

Vlad the Impaler, who Dracula was supposedly based on somewhat, might or might not have had designs on the British throne, but he had many descendents, and his blood flows through the royal family, many royal families, to this day.

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Old 09-18-2019, 12:28 PM
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but he had many descendents, and his blood flows through the royal family, many royal families, to this day.
It's good to be the King.
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:24 PM
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The reason obviously is because Stoker lived in London, but there is a reason given in the story: Dracula had purchased numerous homes in London and sent Transylvanian soil so that he could live in them safely. Why London? A big city's easier to hide in, and London was the biggest city in the world at the time. Dracula has read a lot about London, and says about the books:

"I long to go through the crowded streets of your mighty London, to be in the midst of the whirl and rush of humanity, to share its life, its change, its death and all that make it what it is."

(I got that quote from here.)

So basically he was bored after centuries of living in isolation and wanted to be at the centre of the world.

FWIW, the first place in "London" that we see him in is not actually in London, even though the book calls it London - it's Purfleet, which is in Essex. It borders London now, but at the time of the book's writing it was a mainly rural area - London's boundaries have expanded east since then, but still not as far east as Purfleet. I grew up a couple of miles away from Purfleet and now, weirdly, also live less than a mile from another of his London addresses, Chicksand St, which does exist, despite what the link I gave says. Also Jamaica Lane does sort of exist - there is a Jamaica Rd in Bermondsey and I don't think changing it from road to lane makes it "fictional."

I'm not sure which films make this reasoning clear, but in the book there actually was a reason for Dracula to go to London.

Last edited by SciFiSam; 09-18-2019 at 01:24 PM.
  #50  
Old 09-18-2019, 01:37 PM
MrAtoz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SciFiSam View Post
"I long to go through the crowded streets of your mighty London, to be in the midst of the whirl and rush of humanity, to share its life, its change, its death and all that make it what it is."

(I got that quote from here.)
You could have gotten it from post #40. Just saying.
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