Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker, Walt Whitman discussed on Stuff You Missed in History Class
Me. That was like can piece together all of these letters and maybe this episode is just a staged reading of his strange letter and then we'll do a top and a tail on it but that seemed weird I love this idea I want to read a little bit of one. So you understand how sort of odd they were because he did go on and on about how Amazing Walt Whitman was but then like at one point he includes the following passage. I am six feet, two inches high and twelve stone wait naked and used to be forty one or forty two inches around the chest. I am ugly but strong and determined and have a large bump over my eyebrows. I, have a heavy jaw and a big mouth and thick lips. Sensitive nostrils a snub nose and straight hair. This is odd to include in a letter new my opinion and I here's the thing. I. Don't it's funny to me but I also don't WanNa make fun of it because there is an earnestness to it an openness that is kind of refreshing. It's very stream of consciousness. It's just so arresting intone. To have someone speak of himself this way it it's very. I don't know it's a strange thing and it's it's one of those things that a lot of people use as analysis when they talk about whether or not. They believe that he was possibly a latent homosexual or not. That gets into such a tricky area because I feel like I completely understand the desire for representations in to identify people in the Lgbtq a spectrum throughout history to recognize that they have always been part of the world and and part of the things we talk about and but in the case of Bram Stoker, I always feel a little odd about it only because I feel like he didn't know. What was going on with himself? So it it always feels a little bit. This is not what it is but in my heart, the thing that makes me trepidation about it is it almost feels like when you label a child is like. Gifted or you know what I mean, and then the kid doesn't have any say. But that label gets put on them and becomes part of their identity that they have to live up to or or reckon with in Bram Stoker's case it really does seem like he was not coping with a lot of things going on. Subconscious. So there's also a difference between interpreting someone's written body of work and like having things they wrote about their own internal life, right? There's two different things. Yes and people can definitely read work income to profoundly different conclusions than the author intended then when they wrote something like that. Oh. Yeah. So like that that's one of the ways that it gets tricky when somebody's. When somebody doesn't have a lot of introspection. Left behind ray or read well and I think, and that is to say I I. Absolutely. Don't WANNA sound like I am denouncing anybody who looks at Stoker's work with the critical lands of if this is you know in some ways informed by his sexual orientation being one way or the other, and then kind of looking at the text and what that could mean in that way. Sure. It's just the I always feel a little bit strange when people make declarative statements and go he was this guy he might have been, but even he didn't know. Well it also one of the things that's really important to like. Not Assign people, identities that they they did not have access to in their own lives like that gets really tricky Oh yeah. It comes up on the show all the time. Yeah. Yeah. I don't know why I have like the almost motherly thing with Bram stoker where I'm like, no no, he didn't. He didn't know. He's like this giant man. I'M THE SUBJECT OF DRACULA I HAVE A SIMILAR RESPONSE TO DRACULA. As I do to the work of HP lovecraft. In general well I, enjoy adaptations of the thing quite a lot and much more than I enjoy reading the thing directly and a big reason for that with Dracula specifically is that Bram stoker would do this thing. He would just have these extended passages that were like a common person in quotation marks speaking in some kind of accented dialect he loves. Series much and for me, personally, it is painful to try to read it. Like in some cases, it's barely comprehensible and I remember I read Dracula I'm actually read it in two different classes in college but for sure one class in college and I just remember slogging through these passages that were like sort of how bram stoker thought this like you know uneducated dockworker talked and I was just like I cannot deal with wires. That is one hundred percent valid. A one for one comparison to lovecraft. But just the fact of like enjoying adaptations more than enjoying reading the thing itself is this still true. Now have you read any of the the supplemental work that his I believe it is his great grand nephew Dacre Stoker. Has Written I. Don't think so he has written some stuff in recent years. That's like some sequel action. And some other supplemental stuff. The actual text of Dracula is also a whole other thing that can be discussed in terms of its own history and what got edited out versus got included again versus republished in a slightly different way. There is The original version and I I haven't done a comparative analysis on any of this but I was reading something that talked about how in the original version despite. Stoker having been so meticulous about these timetables, their timelines that don't add up and that may have been an editor kind of being like, no, no no but not, and then in subsequent versions where it was re edited, and perhaps some of the added back in it makes a little more sense on the time line But I like I said I haven't done a comparative on that, but it's an interesting thing to consider as well as that whole madness with the Icelandic. Powers of darkness is a very enjoyable thing and great for this time of year. So yes, sir the other thing I wanted to mention that is interesting about him. That doesn't get talked about a lot and I didn't go very far down this particular rabbit hole is that as he and his siblings aged his mother Charlotte woj ahead of the suffrage movement kind of became a women's rights activists now which is pretty interesting. The kids she had mostly like home-schooled the kids up until they got to a certain point. And was clearly really really interested in in making sure that you know they were not a super wealthy family they got by and they were fine. But even with her daughter, she was like education is more important than dowry like I. Value yes. She's very interesting and I would love for somebody to do a really deep dig in on her and and do like Barry Lengthy annotated biography I don't know that it will ever happen. Maybe it exists and I just never found it possible. That is our Bram stoker discussion for the week and hopefully was fun addition to the October. Laura that we tend to cover. This week, we have an interview that I did with Dr Catherine Sharp Landeck, which was so long in the works..