On this day Dracula, one of the most famous horror novels in history, was published. The author was the Irish writer Bram Stoker, who spent the previous seven years studying European stories about vampires, especially those from Transylvania (a province in present-day Romania, formerly part of the Hungarian kingdom). It is interesting that Dracula was not the first vampire novel published in English. The novel Carmilla, about a lesbian vampire who stalks a lonely girl, was published 26 years earlier. When Dracula was released on this day, it achieved great popularity, reaching even that of the novels of Edgar Alan Poe, as well as the famous Frankenstein.
There is an interesting story involving Stoker’s manuscript of Dracula. The original manuscript was considered lost for years, until it was found in a barn in Pennsylvania in 1980s. This manuscript of 541 pages was titled THE UN-DEAD on its cover, which means that the title of the novel was changed to Dracula at the last minute before printing. Today, the manuscript is owned by Paul Allen.
The name Dracula is derived from the nickname for the Romanian ruler Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), known for his cruelty. He lived in the 15th century and allegedly had tens of thousands of people impaled. In Bram Stoker’s story, the main opponent of Count Dracula is Professor Abraham Van Helsing, a vampire hunter. More films on the subject of Dracula were made than on any other single horror character. Béla Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Gary Oldman, Rutger Hauer and other actors became famous by playing Dracula.