The Un-Dead (partially found original Dracula manuscript; 1897)

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Draculamanuscript.jpg

Screenshot of the cover of the original manuscript.

Status: Partially Found

The Un-Dead is the partially found manuscript of Dracula by Bram Stoker, which is missing its first 102 pages. Over the decades, small parts and hints of the contents of the missing pages have been uncovered.

Background

Dracula is a paranormal gothic horror novel by Abraham “Bram” Stoker published in 1897. The novel is an epistolary about the titular vampire Count Dracula and his plan to move from Transylvania to England. Before Bram Stoker encountered the name Dracula during his research, the novel was titled “The Un-Dead".[1]

Original Discovery

The original manuscript for Dracula was discovered in 1980 in a barn in northwestern Pennsylvania. The manuscript differed from the original text in several ways, including a different ending where Dracula’s castle is destroyed after his death in a volcanic eruption. However, 102 pages were missing from the beginning of the manuscript, revealing the beginning of the novel with Jonathan Harker’s train journey originally took place well into the novel. Not only that, but the manuscript contained many crossed-out sentences, most of which presumably referenced events in the missing 102 pages. This raised the question of what the 102 pages were about, what happened to them, and where they ended up. The manuscript is currently owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.[2]

Later Discoveries

Dracula's Guest

The discovery of this partial manuscript brought attention to a collection of short stories by Bram Stoker published posthumously in 1914 entitled “Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories”, including the titular Dracula's Guest story. It is believed by Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew Dacre Stoker that Dracula’s Guest is the first 17 pages of the manuscript and that the main character, an unnamed Englishman, is Jonathan Harker.[3] Several crossed out sentences in the manuscript reference events in Dracula’s Guest, further evidencing that the short story was originally part of the novel.[4]

Powers of Darkness

“Makt Myrkranna” (translated from Icelandic as “Powers of Darkness”) is the Icelandic version of Dracula, published in 1901 and translated by Valdimar Ásmundsson. In 2014 literary scholar Hans Corneel de Roos unearthed the original version of Powers of Darkness as it had been originally serialized in the newspaper Fjallkonan in 1901. He discovered that the text was not an abridged translation of Dracula, but a different story that differed from Dracula extensively. Although many assumed this was an early case of fan fiction, in March of 2017 it’d come to light that it was a translated and shorter version of "Mörkrets Makter', a variant of Dracula first serialized from 1899-1900 by Swedish newspaper Aftonbladets Halfvecko-Upplaga.[5]

The text had many different details with whole new characters, plot elements, sections, events, motivations, and generally a higher focus on eroticism and violence. Due to the foreword, it is also now believed the original version of Dracula was also meant to be presented as real events, but that it was cut out at the behest of the editor due to the Jack the Ripper murders shortly before the release of the book. This would certainly fit the novel’s journal-like presentation.[6]

References