If I’m not the biggest Dracula aficionado in the world, then at least I’m probably the biggest one in my particular post code area. And so it was particularly interesting for me to come across the news that the iconic St. Mary’s Church in Whitby is now under threat.
What I found of most interest are the possibilities that this might have provided for Stoker had it happened before he had written his magnum opus. The every idea that the cliff is collapsing and that bones from the graveyard might now start raining down onto the town below would surely have provided another great horrific scene for the book?
Perhaps the harbour master might have been introduced as another contributor to its epistolary narrative. Imagine a stormy night, with the wind howling and the night sky criss-crossed with lightning. The Russian ship, Demeter, has just run aground, spilling its cargo and revealing that its entire crew is missing. As the townsfolk attempt to rescue survivors and to salvage the flotsam, the call comes from back in the town that the dead are now raining down upon their homes.
Today’s Google ‘doodle’ is an Aubrey Beardsley-styled tribute to Bram Stoker on what would have been his 165th birthday (had he become one of the undead presumably!).
Following the link from the image, I ended up searching for more volumes of Dracula which I don’t need. It’s one of my all-time favourites and responsible more than any other book for my interest in all things horrible. As a result, I have four copies of the novel on my shelves: a cheap pound version that I picked up as a teenager; a limited edition quarter-bound edition; the Norton Critical Edition and Leonard Wolf’s The Annotated Dracula which I managed to hunt down second-hand a few years ago. I even have the e-book version on my Kindle so that I always have the text to hand.
I’ve never done this with any other book, as much as there are others that I have read, re-read and enjoyed over and over again. Today’s little trawl of the interweb revealed a limited edition facsimile version of the original that was produced earlier this year to ‘celebrate’ the centenary of Stoker’s death. I don’t need it, and don’t even have room for it, but I’m still going to order a copy.