Irish author Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula was published on this date in 1897. Many critics have commented on the best-selling book’s implicit anti-Semitism: Dracula’s`blood-sucking,’ his aversion to the crucifix, his strange “Eastern” accent that switches “v” and “w,” his hoards of gold, his lack of true nationality, his lust for women, his parasitism, all conform to anti-Semitic stereotypes that were peaking at the close of the 19th century, when Eastern European Jewish emigration to Britain was at a height. The 1931 film version starring Bela Lugosi made the anti-Semitism explicit: Dracula wears a Star of David prominently around his neck. Bram Stoker, however, was politically liberal and even joined an artists’ protest against anti-Semitism in 1905. He “did not think of himself as anti-Jewish,” writes Joseph Valente in Dracula’s Crypt, “publicly exhibited no anti-Jewish sentiment whatever, and, with his biblical name [Abraham] and odd surname, was probably taken for Jewish on more than one occasion.” The original 541-page manuscript of Dracula, believed to have been lost, was found in a barn in northwestern Pennsylvania during the early 1980s.
“My revenge has just begun! I spread it over centuries and time is on my side.” —Dracula