The Authoritative Resource for Information about Bram Stoker’s Life and Work


Dracula Serial

           October 1917

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        November 1917

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        December 1917


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       January 1918

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Click on a date below to see the original Washington Times pages

beginning with September  13 and ending on January 21.        

(One day’s newspaper is missing from the collection. That section of Dracula, is provided, as text.)

    One unsettled question that remains on the table before Dracula historians, involves serialization of Dracula in newspapers and magazines.

    In a foreword to a 1926 Dracula serialization by the magazine, Argosy: The World's Best Short Stories (London), Florence Stoker wrote, "It is now being serialized for the first time,...."   "...I have willingly given my permission to the Editor to publish it in serial form."

    However, in 1899, the U.S. publisher, Doubleday & McClure had advertised that the book had “much success in England, and as a serial in America.” Until now, any conclusive evidence of that serial has eluded scholars and historians.

    The Bram Stoker Estate recently revealed that in January of 1900, an article in the U.S. daily newspaper, the Washington Times, announced Dracula would soon appear as a newspaper serial. Then, beginning in September 1917 & continuing into early 1918, the Washington Times printed the complete serialization of the 1899 Doubleday & McClure edition of Dracula.

    The Washington Times was merged with the Washington Herald in 1939, and the Herald then bought by the Washington Post. This may be how the 1917/1918 serial went unnoticed by modern researchers.

    But, is it possible that in 1926, Florence Stoker was unaware the serial had already been printed in at least two newspapers in the United States?

    The 1900 announcement (or warning) follows, with a link below to the serialization, shown in the context of the daily papers. The pages of the newspaper are fascinating history lessons in themselves.


page 8

A Grewsome Tale

       “Dracula” is a ghost story by Bram Stoker, who has evidently allowed his imagination full play in its wild and weird incidents. The book has met with favor in England, and is now published in book form in America. It will soon appear as a newspaper serial. The wisdom of putting this story into the newspapers may be questioned from a humanitarian point of view, for the ordinary reader will have to take a nerve tonic after its perusal, especially if inclined to timidity, and the newspaper public numbers thousands of nervous and superstitious people, some of whom are imbued with the particular legendary lore from which the conception of “Dracula” originally sprang. The author claims that the idea of the story came to him in a dream, and it is perfectly safe to conclude that the dream was a nightmare.

     The central figure of the tale is a human vampire Count Dracula, a Czech nobleman, who died several hundred years ago, and was a remarkable personality in his time. By the uncanny and grewsome processes attributed to the vampire in the folklore of various nations, he is supposed is have survived until the present day, and the story begins with the entrance of a young English lawyer into his castle. After seeing some blood-chilling sights, the young man escapes and returns to England, to find that the foul fiend has migrated to London, and is there engaged in his grisly pursuits, in connection with Mina Murray, the lawyer’s sweetheart and a friend of hers named Lucy Westenra. Lucy eventually dies through this means, and a new character comes into the story, a German physician and scientist, who speaks broken English, and whose language lends a disagreeable air of realism to the incidents, being filled with pseudo-technical terms and alarmingly scientific phrases. At this point there is a curious mingling of science, folk-lore and superstition, and the reader might imagine himself perusing old Cotton Mather’s “Magnalia.”

      The story is told entirely through the medium of letters and journals, and newspaper clippings another original device which is a stroke of art on the part of the author. All sorts of happenings, apparently unrelated are introduced one after another and woven into the plot, which gradually becomes more and more complicated as the crisis approaches. The story also becomes more and more like a nightmare. Everyone knows the feeling which comes toward the end of such an experience. There is always a certain avenue of escape toward which the sleeper is vainly striving, and one obstacle after another appears in the way, to be hewn down after seemingly superhuman efforts. The most grotesque circumstances appear natural in the atmosphere of horror and apprehension which envelopes the mind. It is said that once upon a time several well-known writers were comparing notes on dreams, and one said that for many years he was troubled by a recurrent dream, which always ended in his awakening, shivering and trembling with terror, in a cold perspiration. When the company begged to know what the vision could have been be somewhat reluctantly told them. He thought that he “was being chased all over creation by a piece of brown paper.”
     Some of the incidents which Mr. Stoker weaves into his tale are not much more imposing than the brown paper which caused the brilliant author so much agony; but while one is reading the book they seem important and necessary rather than absurd, for the whole thing is put together with consummate skill. It may be that in serial form some of this effect will be lost, for the book is one which, to get the full complement of shivers, ought to be read at a sitting, without a chance to emerge into the full light of day. When one final closes the book and shakes off the imagery, the whole thing crumbles into nothing, just as did the body of the vampire when the avengers dissected it with their knives. One wonders if the characters themselves did not feel in after years as if the whole thing had been a miasmatic vision of delirium and the last chapter hints that they did.
     Altogether, Mr. Stoker has written a powerful and unpleasant book, and it emphatically ought to be kept out of the way of the children of the family, and eschewed by timid people with strong imaginations.   (New York: Doubleday & McClure Company, $1.50)

       September 1917


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Page updated  28 May 2011