Dracula's Guest: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories

November 1, 2020
Dracula's Guest: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories

Before Twilight and True Blood, even beforeBuffy and Anne Rice and Bela Lugosi, vampires haunted thenineteenth century, when brilliant writers everywhere indulgedtheir bloodthirsty imaginations, culminating in Bram Stoker'slegendary 1897 novel, Dracula.Michael Sims brings together the very best vampire stories ofthe Victorian era-from England, America, France, Germany,Transylvania, and even Japan-into a unique collection thathighlights their cultural variety. Beginning with the supposedlytrue accounts that captivated Byron and Shelley, the stories rangefrom Edgar Allan Poe's "The Oval Portrait" and Sheridan Le Fanu's"Carmilla" to Guy de Maupassant's "The Horla" and Mary ElizabethBraddon's "Good Lady Ducayne." Sims also includes anineteenth-century travel tour of Transylvanian superstitions, androunds out the collection with Stoker's own "Dracula's Guest"-achapter omitted from his landmark novel.Vampires captivated the Victorians, as Sims reveals in hisinsightful introduction: In 1867, Karl Marx described capitalism as"dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking livinglabor"; while in 1888 a London newspaper invoked vampires in tryingto explain Jack the Ripper's predations. At a time when vampireshave been re-created in a modern context, Dracula's Guestwill remind readers young, old, and in between of why the undeadwon't let go of our imagination. Readers of Dracula'sGuest may also enjoy Michael Sims' most recent collection,The Dead Witness: A Connossieur's Collection of VictorianDetective Stories.