Dracula’s Guest by Bram Stoker – Lockdown with a Vampire
Dracula’s Guest is today’s story for our Lockdown with a Vampire challenge, a collaboration with Bloody Reader.
Written by Bram Stoker, it was initially planned as a part of Dracula but the author decided to take it out of the novel. Destined to remain unpublished, it was later published by his wife in 1914, after the author’s death.
Dracula’s Guest is a chapter that was cut out of the legendary novel by Bram Stoker, Dracula. It was written at the same time as the wider work but was left out of the final version published in 1897. The story talks about an Englishman who’s visiting Monaco before leaving for Transylvania. It is set on Walpurgis Night, when the young man ventures in the direction of a cursed and abandoned village.
Dacula’s Guest, as we already mentioned, was clearly created as an incipit for the more well-known novel. Stoker is definitely the lynchpin for the whole of vampire-related literature. He gathers previous experiences in the field and established new standards for these creatures. In this brief article, however, we don’t get to the point where we can see the vampire himself.
The protagonist of the story (who is never mentioned by name but it would be safe to assume it’s Jonathan Harker himself) is still travelling, the destination being the very Count’s castle. However, he deviates from his route precisely during Walpurgis Night, heading for the road even though the night’s just about to fall. Not even his driver’s pleas will succeed in making him change his mind.
The vampire’s shadow
Even though we don’t exactly see Dracula in action, and so we can’t analyse his character specifically, the effect of the vampire is still alive and present not only on the inhabitants of the village but on their traditions as well.
The story is mainly about a particular legend around a village that has long been abandoned after many of its inhabitants died and then came back, as if alive again and with their mouths covered in blood. In addition, the driver too seems to have a genuine fear about spending the night in the open, especially on Walpurgis Night when it is said that the dead walk amongst the living.
The feminine also has a certain relevance in the story in the shape of the woman that the protagonist sees at the abandoned cemetery’s chapel. And the wolf too. Those who are already familiar with Stoker’s character will also know how these animals are linked to the Count. Another element, then, that can’t be overlooked.
There’s certainly a lot more to say about the character of Dracula, but we must set it aside for an eventual review of the full novel. We can mention, however, that Stoker took a lot of inspiration not only from local legends but also from predecessors like Polidori and Le Fanu.
With Carmilla, in particular, we can point out a parallelism about the documentary nature of the works. The narrators of the stories are a part of and live the events and document what happened to themselves as if trying to give the events veracity.
Furthermore, in all three works, and therefore in The Vampire too, it is obvious how legends about monsters are something that gets spread and passed down by folks. The aristocracy, or the upper classes in general, are usually reluctant to rely on popular belief and very often ignore it entirely. At least until they have to come face to face with it.
Folks know. They take myths into account and fear them because they know how disastrous the consequences can be.
We end our opinion piece on this story with this thought. We invite you all to leave your views on the subject in the comment area below. We’ll be with you tomorrow again with a new story. Let us know if you’re coming along on this adventure with us and see you soon!