Saturday, 4 June 2016

the un-dead or working-title

A recent entry on the superb Futility Closet informs on the early character-sketch of Count Dracula through Bram Stoker’s preliminary notes outlining the novel. Among the draft attributes that did not make it into the original story but are sometimes woven into later popular mythology—surely a remnant of folklore—are:
the inability to be photographed (shows up as a skeleton) or captured in painting (ends up with the likeness of someone else) and is tripped up whilst crossing thresholds, unable to do this without assistance.  Arithmomania is not among the strengths or weaknesses, but interestingly, Dracula was to have picked his destination, engaging a solicitor through a form of rhapsodomancy, consulting Virgil or various classic poets’ random verses for guidance. Alternately, the Count was to have dabbled in bolomancy—that is, throwing darts at a map. Incidentally, such practise of bibliomancy, usually turning to the Bible, were not condemned by the Church as witchcraft and were perfectly acceptable means of seeking guidance and council, whereas the casting of bones or favomancy (divination through tossed beans) and the like were judged sorcery.