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text 2014-11-01 20:22
Reading in Progress: Dracula, Footnote Quotes, and Photographic Skeletons
Dracula - Bram Stoker

Yesterday I added this link mid-post - I'll add it again because I explored it a bit more and had fun with it: The Dracula Project. It's the book text with clickable footnotes, including bibliographical references. The notes so far have been in some of the same parts as this Norton edition, but different commentary.


Which reminds me - I saw Sabine Baring-Gould cited there and this seems as good a place as any to pass on his 1865 book: The Book of Were-Wolves, being an account of a terrible superstition (Internet Archive link). I keep meaning to get around to reading it.


Anyway, I have a feeling I'm going to keep popping back in here and posting quotes from the Norton edition footnotes, because they are somewhat fun.


p. 29, Jonathan Harker has documented the house/property in London that's been bought for Dracula:


"...I could not enter it, as I had not the key of the door leading to it from the house, but I have taken with my Kodak (2) views of it from various points."


Pause here a moment to realize that those of you reading this are still within the generation that will remember (perhaps only as something vaguely mentioned) that Kodak once meant film (analog) camera.


Footnote (2) - which made me think "wow, now that would be great in a film!" - bolding is mine:

"This early camera is one of the many modern gadgets in the novel. Stoker's working notes contain a reference to Dracula registering as a skeleton on photographic film, an effect omitted in the finished novel."

Actually that could be great - or really, really cheesy, now that I think of it and the possibility of bad special effects.


p 31, footnote about the scene where Dracula breaks Harker's shaving mirror (he doesn't taste Harker's blood from the razor cut btw), calling it "a foul bauble of man's vanity." The footnote (7) was interesting:

"Dracula does not sup; he does not smoke; he finds mirrors vain baubles. Altogether he is a Puritanical presence, though he is often written of - and filmed - as a sybaritic liberator. His dark clothes, his obsessive memories, and rage against human gratification are reminiscent of Henry Irving's famous Hamlet, first staged at the Lyceum in 1874."


I've always found it weird that the default vampire has become one that is safe and wants sex  - instead of killing. Because you'd think there'd be a lot more of them that would pretend to be a lover just long enough to get close to that TSTL heroine and then have a nice meal. I know there are still some vampires like that in both horror and supernatural romance books - it's just odd to me that there aren't more. These things survive on blood after all, and into self-preservation, not love. It's not like real world predators have all disappeared, or that it's no longer a scary monster in theory.


Henry Irving, who Stoker once worked for as a personal assistant, is thought to be the man Stoker had in mind when he described Dracula. Apparently Stoker felt a play of the book would be a great starring role for Irving.


Random vaguely related links!


8 Things You Didn't Know About Halloween - PBS NewsHour

Even PBS is getting on the "people will click numbered lists!" train. From point number three:

"Vampires in contemporary pop culture are often demonic aristocrats or people plagued by a virus. But in the 1600 and 1700s, it was believed that people became vampires because they had been criminals in life or had done sinful things, said Titus Hjelm, lecturer at University College London."

Because I always google academics in lists like this - because they may have written a book I might want - I found Hjelm's page at the college. And had to smile because he has a widow's peak, which seemed appropriate.


The rest of the list is also interesting - and I'll repost their link in number 7 about the War of the World's panic from an article posted last year:


The Myth of the War of the World's Panic - Slate Magazine


I have a moment of missing teaching every year because I'd always play parts of the 1938 radio broadcast and discuss this bit. It's always been assumed that the scale of the panic was exaggerated - because it made a good story. People did panic, it just wasn't a vast, "call the national guard" scale of problem.

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review 2013-11-08 02:39
Individual Ratings for The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories 2
The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories 2 - Guy de Maupassant,E. Nesbit,M.R. James,Nathaniel Hawthorne,Robert Arthur,Washington Irving,Robert W. Chambers,Ralph Adams Cram,Ambrose Bierce,Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu,E.F. Benson,A.M. Burrage,Richard Dalby,Bernard Capes,Basil Copper,Derek Stanford,Lewis Sp

As I was not yet writing reviews when I read this book, I don't have reviews for each of the short stories included in this anthology. So here are my ratings; if I ever reread the book, I intend to add reviews.

★★★☆☆ Who or What Was It? by Kingsley Amis
★★★★☆ The Believers by Robert Arthur
★★☆☆☆ A Happy Release by Sabine Baring-Gould
★★★☆☆ One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Nugent Barker
★★☆☆☆ The Man Who Went Too Far by E.F. Benson
★★★☆☆ The Secret of Macarger's Gulch by Ambrose Bierce
★★★☆☆ The God with Four Arms by H.T.W. Bousfield
★★★★☆ The Shadowy Escort by A.M. Burrage
★★★☆☆ The Widow's Clock by Bernard Capes
★★★☆☆ A Pleasant Evening by Robert W. Chambers
★★★★☆ The Elemental by R. Chetwynd-Hayes
★★★☆☆ Something to Reflect Upon by Clare Colvin
★★★☆☆ The Second Passenger by Basil Copper
★★★☆☆ No.252 Rue M. Le Prince by Ralph A. Cram
★★★★☆ St. Bartholomew's Day by Edmund Crispin
★☆☆☆☆ The Ghost in Master B.'s Room by Charles Dickens
★★★★☆ The Brown Hand by Arthur Conan Doyle
★★★★☆ Yak Mool San by H.B. Drake
★★☆☆☆ The Spirit of Christmas by Vivian Edwards
★★★☆☆ Uncle Christian's Inheritance by Erckmann-Chatrian
★★★☆☆ The Black Widow by John S. Glasby
★★☆☆☆ Across the Moors by William Fryer Harvey
★★☆☆☆ The Gray Champion by Nathaniel Hawthorne
★★☆☆☆ Governor Manco and the Soldier by Washington Irving
★★☆☆☆ Rats by M.R. James
★★★☆☆ Mädelein by Roger Johnson
★★★★☆ And Turns No More His Head by A.F. Kidd
★★★★☆ By Word of Mouth by Rudyard Kipling
★★★★☆ The Curse of the Stillborn by Margery Lawrence
★★★☆☆ Dance! Dance! The Shaking of the Sheets by Alan W. Lear
★★★☆☆ The Fortunes of Sir Robert Ardagh by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
★★★★☆ Haunted Air by L.A. Lewis
★★★☆☆ The Coxswain of the Lifeboat by R.H. Malden
★★★☆☆ On the River by Guy de Maupassant
★★★☆☆ Things by J.C. Moore
★☆☆☆☆ The Ebony Frame by Edith Nesbit
★★★☆☆ The Downs by Amyas Northcote
★★★☆☆ The Pot of Tulips by Fitz-James O'Brien
★★★☆☆ The Burned House by Vincent O'Sullivan
★★☆☆☆ The Unfinished Masterpiece by C.D. Pamely
★☆☆☆☆ The Witches' Sabbath by James Platt
★★☆☆☆ Metzengerstein by Edgar Allan Poe
★★☆☆☆ The Story of Saddler's Croft by K. and H. Prichard
★☆☆☆☆ The Face by Lennox Robinson
★☆☆☆☆ A Fisher of Men by David G. Rowlands
★★☆☆☆ A Mysterious Portrait by Mark Rutherford
★★★☆☆ Ward 8 by Pamela Sewell
★★★☆☆ The Coat by A.E.D. Smith
★★☆☆☆ A Voice in Feathers by Lewis Spence
★☆☆☆☆ A Dream of Porcelain by Derek Stanford
★★☆☆☆ No.11 Welham Square by Herbert Stephen
★★☆☆☆ The Bishop's Ghost and the Printer's Baby by Frank R. Stockton
★★☆☆☆ The Secret of the Growing Gold by Bram Stoker
★★☆☆☆ The Ash Track by Mark Valentine
★☆☆☆☆ In a Nursing Home by E.H. Visiak
★☆☆☆☆ The Stranger of the Night by Edgar Wallace
★☆☆☆☆ The Triumph of the Night by Edith Wharton
★★★☆☆ The Hall Bedroom by Mary E. Wilkins
★★☆☆☆ The Ghost at the "Blue Dragon" by William J. Wintle,

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review 2013-09-26 00:00
Curious Myths of the Middle Ages: The Sangreal, Pope Joan, The Wandering Jew, and Others - Sabine Baring-Gould Hesper says this one is better than his Book of Werewolves. It does sound kinda fun.
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photo 2013-07-22 01:57
from the first edition of A Book of Ghosts 1904 by Sabine Baring-Gould illustration by D. Murray Smith

Free downloads:

Margery of Quether (1891) and A Book of Ghosts (1904) by Sabine Baring-Gould, same author of the non-fiction 1865 A Book of Werewolves.


See more illustrations from A Book of Ghosts at the link, plus the links to downloads.




This image from the first edition of A Book of Ghosts 1904 by Sabine Baring-Gould, illustration by D. Murray Smith.

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review 2012-10-26 00:00
Review: Yorkshire Oddities by Sabine Baring-Gould
Yorkshire Oddities - Sabine Baring-Gould
Read from August 24 to October 26, 2012 — I own a copy


I was sure I found this over at Google Books, but now I can't seem to find the link - so here it is at Internet Archive:






The book consists of all sorts of stories about people who were considered oddities (eccentrics) - the man who pretended to be a prophet but who wasn't, the man who was disappointed in love and spent 40+ years in bed, the man who trained a bull to accept a rider and rode it in fox hunts, etc. All of the tales have the "collected in the neighborhood" folklore feel, yet here and there they are less folklore and more really good storytelling. For example at the end of The White House:

p. 204 "...On this hill a gibbet had been erected, and there the three bodies were hung, with their faces towards the dismal flat and the gurgling stream where the murdered man had been drowned. There they hung, blown about by the autumn storms, screeched over by the ravens and magpies, baked by the summer sun, their bare scalps capped with cakes of snow in the cold winter, til they dropped upon the ground, and then the bones were buried and the gallows cut down."

And that's the part of the story that's come after the ghost. If you can't imagine those caps of snow, well, then your imagine isn't running amuck like mine is.


Having said that there are some that really drag on slowly with the amount of details, so don't expect this to be a book full of exciting stories. Some are only mildly interesting. But it's almost better that way, when you've been lulled into a false sense of security by the other more quiet tales of people and suddenly there you are - bodies hunt on the gibbet. (That's not where they were hung by the way - leaving a body up to rot was a very old concept of law enforcement - 'here rot those who did evil, thus you should listen to their lesson.')


I enjoyed this one particular footnote, and wished that Baring-Gould had added more such notes, as I like this sort of information. Plus it also gives you an idea of the kind of research he was doing:


p. 274, footnote: "Greenwood is probably the most prevalent name in the neighborhood. Out of 755 entries in a public register in the neighborhood, the name Greenwood occurs 48 times, Helliwell 34, Sutcliffe 33, Cockcroft 18, Smith 18, Akroyd 15, Crabtree 15, Mitchell 14, Stanisfield 13, Uttley 13,....


We may here remark on the prevalence of patronymic names, which sometimes are really useful, however inelegant, in a district where the same names recur so frequently. Thus "John o' Abbie's" and "Joan o' Jim's" were the ordinary names of two individuals who were each legally designated John Stansfield. By how many useful variations is the name John Sutcliffe represented! To strangers this practice is the more puzzling from the frequent use of abbreviations, such as Eam, Than, Lol, Abbie, Jooas, Kit (or Katie), Joan, Tim, and Tum; For Edmund, Nathaniel, Lawrence, Abraham, Joseph, Catherine, John, Timothy, Thomas. There was formerly a "Jimmie o' Jamie, o' James, o' the Jumps." "George o' my Gronny's" and "Will o' Nobody's" are bold specimens of what may be done by the principle in question carried out with a little licence. Not unfrequently, also, people are named for their residences, as "John up th' steps," and "Old Ann o' th' Hinging Royd." Bye-names also become sometimes attached as if they were real family surnames. If it were not personal, many singular instances might be given. Persons are frequently unable, without some consideration, to recognize the legal names of their neighbors. Upon the hillside at Jumps, near Todmorden, I once asked a little girl who was her father. "Will o' th' Jumps," she replied. "And who's Will o' th' Jumps?" I again inquired. "He's Ailse o' th' Jumps, fellie," replied the girl; and I doubt whether she had any idea whatever of her legal surname.


This note came after a point in the chapter (The One Pound Note) where I'd had to turn back and reread to make sure that the Joan in the text - who kept being referred to as "he" - was indeed spelled Joan. (There are multiple John's in the story.) After reading the footnote it made a lot more sense. The footnote was probably placed where it was because that was the part of the story where legal names came in.

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