I’m a huge fan of Bram Stoker’s classic horror novel Dracula, which serves as a defining story in all vampire literature. But while I admit the book is dry and heavy at times, and finding time to sit down and read these days is damn near impossible. Luckily, there’s a new service called Dracula Daily that sends you sections of Dracula on the dates they take place, so you can read Dracula in “real time” throughout the year.
How does this work? Well, Dracula is an epistolary novel, meaning it is made up of letters and diary entries that tell the story. Since most of them are dated, it is possible to “follow” Dracula by reading the events on the dates they occurred. The story actually begins today, May 3, with unwitting mortal Jonathan Harker rolling in Eastern Europe.
We reached out to Matt Kirklandthe guy behind Dracula Daily, to find out how he came up with this wacky but pretty awesome idea…
What inspired the creation of Dracula Daily?
I reread Dracula and recapping it as I went to pick up my daughter, who was about 8 years old at the time. Every other day she would ask, ‘What’s going on in Dracula?’ and I related the events that I read. I told him about the format, and we realized that if I slowed down a bit, we could almost read it in “real time”. Then I realized what a great fit this would be for an email newsletter. We could email events “as they happen” to characters.
Is it a broader concept for epistolary novels, or is it a love of Dracula?
First, Dracula Is so awesome. It’s obviously The Classic Vampire Story, and it has all the building blocks of the stories we love. But it’s also such a riot to read this with the ironic distance we have. Like, the people in this story don’t know what a vampire is! It takes them a long time to piece together the clues! The characters can sometimes seem super naive, but of course they live in a world before Dracula was written.
And while I love Dracula, I also like to think about how new media can bring older written works to life. For example, a long time ago I “reblogged” the essays by samuel johnsonon the dates they were written.
What is your favorite scene in Dracula? For example, what date are you looking forward to?
One of my favorite moments (spoiler warning!) is when Lucy becomes undead and a local paper reports that a spectral woman in white has kidnapped unsupervised children. I think the sudden threat to the children feels like a very dark turn, and it’s a minor plot point that often gets overlooked.
Do you see this format as a possible future for classic novels – like email?
I think he has a lot of potential. A lot of classic 19th century novels were published as newspaper serials, with weekly or monthly installments. But these are often quite long sections, not sure if they work for email or not!
Slow readers and slaves can subscribe to Dracula Daily through its website.