Page 226. " the coils of Medusa’s snakes "
Medusa, by Carvaggio, 16th century
Public DomainMedusa, by Carvaggio, 16th century - Credit: wikimedia commons

 Medusa is a monstrous gorgon from Greek mythology whose fearsome gaze could turn a man to stone. She is described and represented in art as a woman, sometimes winged, with snakes in place of hair. She was killed by the hero Perseus, who used a polished shield to watch her without being turned to stone.


Medusa on a Red-Figure Hydria
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMedusa on a Red-Figure Hydria - Credit: Dorieo/Wikimedia Commons
Page 226. " the passion masks of the Greeks and Japanese "
Greek Tragedy and Comedy Masks. Roman Mosaic, 2nd century AD
Creative Commons AttributionGreek Tragedy and Comedy Masks. Roman Mosaic, 2nd century AD - Credit: antmoose/Wikimedia Commons

Ancient Greek and Japanese theatre masks are often grotesque in appearance, with wide, leering or horrified mouths. In theatre, the over-exaggerated facial features allow the characters and their emotions to be seen and understood by audiences in large theatres, as well as helping to distinguish between different characters. They could also add to a sense of comedy and tragedy. In festivals and ritual, the mask can represent a particular hero, god, spirit or legendary animal, and evoke or convey different atmospheres and emotions. Masks could also be used as votive offerings, left at a particular god’s shrine or temple.

Images and further information on Japanese masks

More about ancient Greek theatre

Page 228. " trembling like an aspen "
by hector
Populus Tremula
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePopulus Tremula - Credit: Hugo.arg

Aspens are deciduous trees of the poplar genus, found in the cooler regions of the northern hemisphere.  They can grow up to 30 metres tall.  The constant quivering of the leaves of the Eurasian Populus tremula has led it to be called Old Wives' Tongues, and has encouraged healers to prescribe the leaves as a treatment for fever.  The North American Populus tremuloides is known as the Quaking Aspen.

Interestingly, given this passing reference in Dracula, aspens are said to ward off evil spirits, and aspen wood was a favourite choice for those making stakes to kill vampires.  This may be related to the belief that Jesus's cross was made of aspen, or to the Slavic legend that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from an aspen tree (which, it is said, is why the aspen has been trembling with horror ever since).  These stories might be more credible if aspens were indigenous to the Middle East.

Legends of Aspen

Page 229. " all that die from the preying of the Un-Dead become themselves Un-Dead "
Weird Tales Vampire
Public DomainWeird Tales Vampire - Credit: wikimedia commons

According to Van Helsing, having one’s blood sucked by a vampire is enough to turn that person into a vampire when they die. This certainly seems to have been the case with Lucy; if true, all Lucy’s child victims will also one day become monsters. This is the traditional and folkloric view of the spread of vampirism: a form of supernatural disease.


However, if this were the case, then the vampire’s regular meals would soon have uncontrolled and devastating consequences. In 2006, a physics professor from the University of Central Florida argued that it is mathematically impossible for vampires to exist. Even if a vampire only needs to feed once a month (and Dracula certainly seems to crave blood more often), then if the first vampire appeared on January 1st 1600, it would only take two and a half years for the entire human population to be turned.


Apart from suggesting that physics professors have a little too much time on their hands, this argument also poses a huge problem for vampire fiction. The professor in question, however, has clearly not read much vampire literature, as there are two main ways in which this particular problem is resolved. One is the solution offered in Dracula, that killing a vampire will immediately remove the curse from all the people it has bitten: “but if she die in truth, then all cease; the tiny wounds of the throats disappear, and they go back to their plays” (p229). So killing Lucy saves the children, and killing Dracula saves anyone he might have fed upon. Presumably, had Lucy not already been dealt with, then killing Dracula would destroy Lucy and so also free the children. A neat solution; as long as there are a few vampire hunters around, the world will not be overrun with monsters.

Vampire children?
Creative Commons AttributionVampire children? - Credit: Shawn Allen at Flickr


Most other vampire fiction, however, takes a different route. In many, a vampire must share blood with his victim (i.e. he drinks a little of yours, you drink some of his) in order to make the change. This gives the vampire the choice of whether or not his dinner will become one of the Undead. This method is found in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Southern Vampires series (Sookie Stackhouse books/True Blood), and many more. Dracula performs a similar rite with one of his victims later on in Stoker's novel, in order to create a psychic link between them. In the Twilight series, it is the venom of a vampire's bite that creates new vampires. However, if the victim is drained before the venom can take effect, then the death is a normal one. Since most vampires drain all of their victims' blood, new vampires are rarely created.

Interview with the Vampire on Book Drum

Twilight on Book Drum



Page 229. " nosferatu, as they call it in Eastern Europe "
Nosferatu (1922) Poster
Public DomainNosferatu (1922) Poster - Credit: wikimedia commons

‘Nosferatu’ is presented by Stoker as an Eastern European term, and by Emily Gerard in The Land Beyond the Forest (Stoker’s source for the word) as a Romanian word, synonymous with ‘vampire’. However, the word does not seem to correspond with any known word or phrase in the Romanian language. Suggestions include a Greek route to the word (nosophoros meaning ‘disease-bearing’), which is considered unlikely, or that Gerard misheard a similar sounding phrase such as nesuferitul (‘the insufferable one’).   More about the word


F. W. Murnau’s 1922 film Nosferatu is an unauthorized adaptation of Dracula, with names, details and title changed because the studio could not obtain the rights to the book. It is an incredibly creepy version of the story and well worth a watch.



Page 230. " He looked like a figure of Thor as his untrembling arm rose and fell, driving deeper and deeper the mercy-bearing stake, whilst the blood from the pierced heart welled and spurted up around it "
Seductive Female Vampire, by André Koehne.
GNU Free Documentation LicenseSeductive Female Vampire, by André Koehne. - Credit: André Koehne/Wikimedia Commons

Thor was the Norse god of thunder who wielded a powerful hammer.


Students of Dracula may want to take note of the language used to describe Lucy’s death. This scene is often described as having heavy sexual undertones, in a novel where sex, lust, desire and male impotence in the face of Dracula’s supernatural power have all been read as important themes. (See bookmark for page 45, for the erotic language of Jonathan’s encounter with the vampire women in Dracula’s castle.) According to Elaine Showalter, the “sexual implications of this scene are embarrassingly clear.” Whether this is so or not, Arthur certainly does seem to react with extreme rage, revulsion and violence in the face of the “voluptuous mouth – which it made one shudder to see – the whole carnal and unspiritual appearance, seeming like a devilish mockery of Lucy’s sweet purity”.

Page 234. " we took the Underground to Fenchurch Street "
by hector

Fenchurch St Station
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeFenchurch St Station - Credit: Mrsteviec
This is a curious line, as Fenchurch St railway station is not part of London's Underground network.  It is not clear whether this is a mistake on Stoker's part, or a joke, or whether he is deliberately reshaping London to give it a fantastical feel, in the same way that Philip Pullman takes liberties with Oxford in His Dark Materials.

To reach Fenchurch St via the Underground, they would have travelled to Mark Lane tube station on the Circle line, which opened in 1884 and closed in 1967.


Google Map
Page 238. " I put the forked metal to my ears and listened "
by hector

Phonograph recordings could be played back through a horn or through stethoscope-like earphones  – the "forked metal"  – as pictured.

In the drawing, the phonograph is on the left, powered by the treadle below.  The machine on the right is a typewriter, for transcription of the recording.  The drawing is dated 1897, the year of Dracula's publication.

Page 239. " I used manifold "
by hector

Manifold paper is a lightweight, translucent paper used with carbon paper to make multiple copies of a document.  It is also called tissue paper or onionskin paper. 

"Carbonated paper" was invented by Ralph Wedgwood for his "stylographic writer" patented in 1806, but it was only with the advent of the commercial typewriter in the 1870s that it became widely used.

The word manifold means many.  It can also be used as a transitive verb meaning to duplicate.

Page 240. " that way madness lies "
by hector
King Lear and the Fool in the Storm
Public DomainKing Lear and the Fool in the Storm - Credit: William Dyce

A quote from Shakespeare's King Lear, which comes (and this will later be important) in Act 3, Scene 4:



                         In such a night
To shut me out! Pour on; I will endure.
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all,--
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that.

Page 248. " errors of non causae and ignoratio elenchi "
by hector

Fallacia non causae ut causae (fallacy of cause that is not cause) is a Latin phrase coined by Arthur Schopenhauer to describe the case where a conclusion that may be correct is drawn from an invalid argument or false reasons.  He uses it twice in The Art of Being Right (translated into English in 1896, just before the publication of Dracula):

Strategem XIV

This, which is an impudent trick, is played as follows: When your opponent has answered several of your questions without the answers turning out favourable to the conclusion at which you are aiming, advance the desired conclusion, - although it does not in the least follow, - as though it had been proved, and proclaim it in a tone of triumph. If your opponent is shy or stupid, and you yourself possess a great deal of impudence and a good voice, the trick may easily succeed. It is akin to the fallacy non causae ut causae.

Stratagem XX

When you have elicited all your premises, and your opponent has admitted them, you must refrain from asking him for the conclusion, but draw it at once for yourself; nay, even though one or other of the premises should be lacking, you may take it as though it too had been admitted, and draw the conclusion. This trick is an application of the fallacy non causae ut causae.


Ignoratio elenchi is a different kind of logical fallacy, where an argument is presented that is irrelevant to the question.  The argument may be valid, but it can only serve as a distraction to the point at issue.  Some speakers use such arguments deliberately.  The fallacy is said to have been identified by Aristotle.

Page 249. " the vendor of a certain nostrum has vulgarized the truism to the very point of contempt "

Stoker might be referring to the late Victorian ‘Clarke’s World-Famed Blood Mixture’, a commercial ‘cure-all’ medicine that claimed to cleanse the blood of impurities. It used the advertising slogan, ‘For the BLOOD is the LIFE.’