By January 4, 2011 1 Comments Read More →

Literary Spin-offs: Dracula

dracula-coverDracula, Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, has spawned a plethora of movie adaptations, homages, rip-offs, and spin-offs. Its literary progeny are fewer, but there are some interesting literary spin-offs.

First and most obvious is Dracula: the Un-Dead (2009), a dracula-the-un-dead-cover1direct sequel written by Dacre Stoker, Bram’s great-grandnephew, and Dracula scholar Ian Holt. It’s an imaginative and frequently terrifying novel. The authors expand on Bram Stoker’s original story and characters, and introduce some compelling new ones.  I especially like their clever — and well presented — solution to the Jack the Ripper mystery, too.

dracula-tape-coverFred Saberhagen, the noted science fiction author, wrote a series of novels about Dracula, beginning with the intriguing The Dracula Tape (1975), which is essentially a retelling of Stoker’s story from Dracula’s point of view. Its sequel, The Holmes-Dracula File (1978), teams the vampire with the world’s greatest consulting detective; in 1990’s A Matter of Taste he’s living in modern-day Chicago.

the-historian-coverElizabeth Kostova’s 2005 debut novel, The Historian, is a beautifully written exploration of Dracula’s history and the mythology surrounding him. Like Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt, and also Fred Saberhagen (and, considerably more obliquely, Bram himself), Kostova draws a literary and geneological connection between the Count and Vlad Tepes, the 15th-century Romanian prince who was otherwise known as Vlad the Impaler, or Vlad Dracul.

in-search-of-dracula-coverAnd we mustn’t forget In Search of Dracula (1972), by Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu. The book was, I think, the first major work of scholarship that explored the historical roots of Stoker’s fictional vampire, and the book that catapulted Vlad Tepes, Dracula’s real-life ancestor, into popular culture. I read it years ago, and again more recently, and as a work of historial and literary scholarship it’s quite impressive: simply written, solidly documented, and — if you’re a Dracula fan — hugely exciting.



About the Author:

David Pitt lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In addition to reviewing for Booklist, he writes a monthly column about paperback fiction and nonfiction for the Winnipeg Free Press. He has contributed to The Booklist Reader since 2010.

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