Bram Stoker’s Research For ‘Dracula’ Uncovered By The London Library

The London Library has uncovered 26 books in its collection that are almost certainly the original copies that Bram Stoker used to research and write his infamous Gothic horror novel Dracula, according to the London Library’s website. Using copies of Stoker’s handwritten and typed notes that were discovered in 1913, London Library Development Director Phillip Spedding was able to discover the books within the library’s collection. The notes list a range of sources that Stoker used in his research, with hundreds of references to individual lines and phrases that he found relevant.

Spedding was able to use the notes and trace its references to books at the Library. Upon examination of the texts, detailed markings that closely match the references in the notes emerged. Stoker’s markings include underlinings and crosses on matching paragraphs, page turnings on key pages, and instructions for someone to copy entire paragraphs of the texts into Stoker’s typewritten notes.

The two books most heavily marked by Stoker are the Book of Were-Wolves by Sabine Bearing-Gould and Pseudodoxica Epidemica by Thomas Browne. Additionally, some of the titles reflect Stoker’s research on the geography and history of Transylvania, including A.F. Crosse’s Round About The Carpathians and Charles Boner’s Transylvania.

The library’s claims are supported by the fact that Stoker held a seven-year membership at the library at almost exactly the same time that he was working on Dracula. Archive Librarian Helen O’Neill found that Stoker joined the library in 1890, which was the year that Stoker visited Whitby and the idea for the novel began to gestate. Stoker’s last year of membership at the library ended in 1897, the year that Dracula was published. Stoker’s library membership was seconded by Henry Hill Caine, who the novel is dedicated to under the nickname “Hommy-Beg.” Caine was a bestselling author at the time and helped Stoker transition to his second career as a novelist after a successful career as the manager of the Lyceum Theatre.

“This is a very exciting discovery,” said Nick Groom, a professor at Exeter University and a leading expert on Gothic literature.

“I have examined the books and their annotations with Philip Spedding and have compared them with Bram Stoker’s own notes. I am in no doubt that Bram Stoker used these very copies for Dracula – a book that took him seven years to write. They demonstrate that The London Library was the crucible of one of the most influential novels in world history.”

Here is the complete list of books from the London Library referenced in Bram Stoker’s notebooks:

  • Nineteenth Century XVIII, Mme Emily de Laszowka Gerard, Kegan Paul, Trench & Co, July 1885
  • The Book of Were-Wolves, Sabine Baring-Gould, Smith, Elder and Co, 186
  • Pseudodoxia Epidemica, Thomas Browne, 1672
  • Magyarland, Nina Elizabeth Mazuchelli, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1881
  • The Golden Chersonese, Isabella Bird, John Murray, 1883
  • Round about the Carpathians, AF Crosse, Blackwoods, 1878
  • On the Track of Crescent, Major EC Johnson, Hurst & Blackett, 1885
  • Transylvania: Its Products and Its People, Charles Boner, Longman, Green, Reader & Dyer, 1865
  • An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, William Wilkinson, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, 1820
  • Curious Myths of the Middle Ages (2 vol), Sabine Baring-Gould, Rivington, 1868
  • Germany Past and Present (2 vol), Sabine Baring-Gould, C Kegan Paul & Co, 1879
  • Legends & Superstitions of the Sea, Bassett
  • The Origin of Primitive Superstitions, Dorman, Lippincott, 1881
  • Credulities Past & Present, W Jones, Chatto & Windus, 1880
  • The Folk-Tales of The Magyars, The Rev W Henry Jones and Lewis L. Kropf, The Folk-Lore Society, 1889
  • Superstition & Force, HC Lea, Lea Brothers & Co, 1892
  • Sea Fables Explained, Henry Lee, William Cloves & Sons, 1883
  • Anecdotes of the Habits and Instincts of Birds, Reptiles and Fishes, Mrs R Lee, Grant & Griffith, 1853
  • The Other World; or, Glimpses of the Supernatural. Being Facts, Records, and Traditions, FG Lee, Henry S King & Co, 1875
  • Letters on the Truths Contained in Popular Superstitions, Herbert Mayo, Blackwood, 1849
  • The Devil: His Origin, Greatness and Decadence, Rev Albert Réville, Williams & Norgate, 1871
  • A Tarantasse Journey through Eastern Russia in the Autumn of 1856, W Spottiswode, Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans & Roberts
  • Miscellany, W Spottiswode
  • Traité des Superstitions qui Regardent les Sacraments (4 vol), Jean-Baptiste Thiers, Louis Chambeau, 1777
  • The Phantom World: or, The Philosophy of Spirits, Apparitions &c. (2 vol), Augustin Calmet, Richard Bentley, 1850
  • The Land Beyond the Forest (2 vol), E Gerard, William Blackwood & Sons, 1888

The following titles were not directly referenced in Stoker’s notes but also contain similar markings and notations to the others:

  • On the Truths Contained in Popular Superstitions with an Account of Mesmerism, H Mayo, William Blackwood & Sons, 1851
  • La Magie et L’Astrologie dans L’Antiquité at au Moyen Age, Didier et Cie, 1860
  • Anecdotes of the Habits and Instincts of Animals, Mrs R Lee, Grant & Griffith, 1852
  • Narratives of Sorcery and Magic(2 vol), Thomas Wright, Richard Bentley, 1851
  • Things not Generally Known. Popular Errors Explained, John Timbs, Kent & Co, 1858
  • Roumania Past and Present, James Samuelson, Longmans, Green & Co, 1882
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