Banishing the Beast: The Role of the Wolf in “Dracula’s Guest” and Its Omission from Dracula
by Kaja Franck & Matthew Beresford
[page 14] Bram Stoker’s Dracula’s Guest and Other Weird Stories was published posthumously in April 1914, two years after the author’s death. Its name linked it with the more widely known novel Dracula (1897), leading scholars to argue whether “Dracula’s Guest” was ever intended to sit within its parent text or was simply a stand-alone short story. Analysis of “Dracula’s Guest” has been limited by these arguments, and little has been written about the manner in which the short story affects interpretations of Dracula. Our aim in this article is to suggest that, whether or not the story was intended to form part of the wider novel, it still tells us much about perceptions of the vampire/werewolf relationship and how this is misunderstood with regard to the novel Dracula. The (were)wolf in “Dracula’s Guest” returns in Dracula but has been overlooked; instead Dracula has become the classic blueprint for the vampire. Since its publication, “Dracula’s Guest” has appeared in anthologies for both vampire and werewolf stories as it includes both elements, suggesting a confusion between the two creatures. The story shows Stoker’s interest in lycanthropy as well as vampires, and the influence this had on Count Dracula’s creation.
In the preface to the 1914 edition of “Dracula’s Guest,” Bram Stoker’s widow, Florence, asserted: “It [‘Dracula’s Guest’] was originally excised [from Dracula] owing to the length of the book” (Preface). Leonard Wolf supports this view by subtitling the story in his work The Essential Dracula as “The Deleted Original First Chapter of Dracula” (446), though he has later refuted this claim. David Stuart Davies, in his introduction to “Dracula’s Guest,” mentions the theory that Stoker’s literary executor discovered the manuscript while sorting through Stoker’s papers, and that it was deleted as the first chapter of the novel due to publishing costs, although ultimately, Davies decides that it was “written as a free-standing narrative” (363-364). As Christopher Frayling argues, a contextual analysis of the story proves that “‘Dracula’s Guest’ clearly bears a close relationship with Stoker’s working notes on Dracula, but it was not simply cancelled from the novel” (351).
One of the main issues in attempting to understand “Dracula’s Guest” in the context of Dracula is that, according to Clive Leatherdale, “Jonathan Harker [in ‘Dracula’s Guest’] is unrecognizable from the Harker of the finished novel” (117). The problem lies in moments of discrepancy between the two texts. In “Dracula’s Guest,” the unnamed protagonist cannot speak German: he says, “there was enough of English [page 15] mixed with the German for me to understand the drift of his talk” (422) and “it was difficult to argue with a man when I did not know his language” (422). In Dracula, however, Harker tells us how he “found [his] smattering of German very useful here; indeed, I don’t know how I should be able to get on without it” (9). In fact, Harker can speak the language well enough to feel annoyed when the landlord of the Golden Krone Hotel “pretended that he could not understand my German” (12). In “Dracula’s Guest,” however, the narrator gains the ability to read tomb inscriptions: “I walked around it and read, over the Doric door, in German…” (427) before walking to the rear of the tomb and seeing, in Russian, the phrase “The Dead Travel Fast” (427). Not only can he now understand German, but also Russian. This seems a curious mistake on Stoker’s part, but on consideration of his “Working Notes” for Dracula,1 it is possible to argue that the narrator is indeed Harker.
In the set of papers dated 8 March 1890, there are notes on the early chapters of Dracula which clearly state that the solicitor, at this stage nameless, cannot speak German. The novel originally was to have been set in Styria and not Transylvania; as Frayling has noted, Styria would have been predominantly German-speaking in 1890 when Stoker was writing his notes (304). This would suggest that Stoker’s intention was for the Harker-character to be unable to understand the local people, a salient factor that sets “Dracula’s Guest” apart from Dracula. If Stoker wrote up his ideas into “Dracula’s Guest” several years after his research notes were prepared, this would explain the discrepancy between Harker and the unnamed narrator’s linguistic abilities. The unnamed solicitor in Stoker’s Notes was to become Harker in Dracula and appears to be a precursor to the character in “Dracula’s Guest.” While acknowledging the differences between the two, their stories overlap to such an extent that it seems appropriate to conflate them, and therefore, we will refer to both characters as Harker from this point forward.
Stoker’s Notes also reference an early plotline in which Harker was initially going to travel to Munich, where he would visit the “Dead House” and have his first glimpse of the Count, before becoming involved in an “adventure snowstorm and wolf”–this is clear evidence that what later became “Dracula’s Guest” was initially intended to be part of Dracula (Frayling 300). Again, these notes are dated 8 March 1890, which shows that Stoker had planned this part right from the outset, although it was not included in the final version. Further detailed notes, dated 14 March 1890, give us more information on the Munich incidents and document how Harker’s character would encounter “<wolves> blue flame” (Eighteen-Bisang and Miller 29). These elements are found at the end of Chapter One of Dracula, suggesting the “Dracula’s Guest” episode was not omitted in the final stages of editing as Florence Stoker claimed. Rather, the removal of “Dracula’s Guest” involved more editing on the [page 16] part of Stoker in which aspects such as the wolves and blue light were moved from Munich into Transylvania, which then became the opening setting for the novel. It has also been noted by Leatherdale that Harker’s tale at Castle Dracula is given in the form of a journal whereas “Dracula’s Guest” is “a first-person account that contains much short, sharp dialogue” (116-117). While it would not be impossible to edit one style into the other, it certainly would have taken further revision, undermining Florence Stoker’s explanation of how “Dracula’s Guest” came to be.
Notes dated 29 February 1892, almost two years after the earliest plans were written, contain a more detailed outline of what would become the early chapters of Dracula. In these, Harker is still to have the Munich episode, which was to form Chapter Two of the finished novel (Frayling 311). A later, although undated, set of notes outlines the following: “Harker–Munich–Wolf” followed by “Harker–Munich–Dead House” (Frayling 311). Stoker’s original intention was to have Harker visit Munich and meet Dracula prior to his arrival at Castle Dracula. However, there is confusion between whether this would be in the form of a wolf or in a more vampiric manner in the Dead House. From this, we can accept that the basis of what we know as “Dracula’s Guest” started out as part of Dracula and was not initially intended to be a separate short story. However, Stoker’s final outline of the plot of Dracula does not fit with the version of events presented in “Dracula’s Guest.” Harker was to arrive in Munich at 8.35pm on 26 April - this date corresponds with 1893, the year in which Stoker originally intended the novel to be set. He was then to have the incident with the snowstorm and wolf on the 27 April and go to the opera on the 30 April, before visiting the Dead House on 1 May. Thus, on Walpurgisnacht he would have been at the opera, and not in the graveyard being attacked by the wolf, as happens in “Dracula’s Guest.” He then leaves Munich on the 8.35pm train on 1 May, heading for Vienna. This is where Dracula starts–“Jonathan Harker’s Diary, 3rd May: ‘Left Munich at 8.35pm on 1st May’” (9).
This line is all that is left of the concept that Stoker based his novel on for two years of his research. If “Dracula’s Guest” was an omitted chapter, what happened to the Dead House or the visit to the opera, and why did he alter the sequence of events? It seems more likely that he changed his mind about that part of the novel, yet was intrigued enough to resurrect the scene between Harker and the wolf for “Dracula’s Guest.” The question we must now ask is to what extent the published version of this story relates to Stoker’s original concept. Regardless of the truth behind the writing and publication of “Dracula’s Guest,” the use of the name Dracula makes it impossible for the reader to read this short story without drawing connections to Dracula. Indeed, as Kate Hebblethwaite points out in her introduction to Dracula’s Guest and Other Weird Stories, the time frame of both the novel and the short story fit [page 17] together (xxxvi). This undermines the final structure for Dracula shown in Stoker’s notes but suggests that he wanted there to be an overt connection between the two texts. The debates regarding the validity of “Dracula’s Guest” ignore this relationship and overlook the insight it gives into the central themes of Dracula and the character of Count Dracula. If we examine the character of Dracula more closely in both texts, we can see that several of the elements that relate to the werewolf of “Dracula’s Guest” are in the novel but presented as vampiric qualities instead.
In the first chapter of Dracula, Harker overhears the local people outside the hotel speaking of “satan,” “hell” and “witches,” as well as uttering the words “vrolok” and “vlkoslak” (14-15). These words he translates as meaning vampire or werewolf: here the creature appears interchangeable, as is the case from many folkloric beliefs. For example, in Romania the term varcolac is sometimes used to describe a dead vampire but at other times a wolf-like being that eats the moon (Beresford, From Demons to Dracula 57), and in Greece a vrykolakas is widely suggested to be a vampire yet appears to have originally been closer to what we would deem a werewolf (Beresford, The White Devil 118-119). Stoker’s source for this idea is Sabine Baring-Gould’s work The Book of Werewolves (1865), in which he informs us that “among the Bulgarians and Slovakians the were-wolf is called the vrkolak” (114) and “the Serbs connect the vampire and were-wolf together, and call them by the name vlkoslak” (115). Evidence of Stoker’s extensive research on these creatures is evident in “Dracula’s Guest” when Harker has the coach stop at the crossroads where a suicide has been buried and the horses become frightened (422). Common practice from the Anglo-Saxon period onward was to bury suicides at a crossroads as it was believed that suicides were destined to become vampires and return to haunt the living (Beresford, From Demons to Dracula 11). Further folkloric evidence is apparent in the story about the men who had died and been buried, yet their graves were opened to find they were “rosy with life, and their mouths red with blood” (452). This is a clear reference to folkloric “vampire” cases such as those of Peter Plogojowicz (1725) and Arnold Paole (1727) and is a very different image when compared to the Byronic vampire in Dracula.2
Before Harker sets off on his coach journey in the novel, bound for Castle Dracula, the landlady tells him “‘It is the eve of St. George’s Day. Do you not know that to-night, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will have full sway?’” (13), referencing the local folklore that Stoker had researched. This disturbs Harker so much that he ponders his own death: “Whether it is the old lady’s fear, I do not know, but I am not feeling nearly as easy in my mind as usual. If this book should ever reach Mina before I do, let it bring my goodbye” (14). It is the strangeness, the “unreality” of what he is hearing that unsettles Harker. In [page 18] “Dracula’s Guest,” Harker and the coachman hear a sound “between a yelp and a bark” (422) which “sounds like a wolf…yet there are no wolves here now” (422). The coachman tells Harker that “with the snow the wolves have been here not so long” (422). This foreshadows the arrival of the wolf and the snow with a sense of the uncanny, a term that Harker uses to describe the situation: “there was something so weird and uncanny about the whole thing” (427). Again, in Dracula he says “this was all so strange and uncanny that a dreadful fear came upon me, and I was afraid to speak” (24). Harker’s fear increases when, in “Dracula’s Guest,” the lightning hits the tomb of the Countess Dolingen, the vampiress–“there came another blinding flash, which seemed to strike the iron stake that surmounted the tomb” (428). Then “the dead woman rose for a moment of agony, while she was lapped in the flame” (428).
On viewing this, Harker falls into a faint and awakes to find that “there was an icy feeling at the back of my neck and all down my spine…but there was in my breast a sense of warmth which was, by comparison, delicious” (428-429). He then feels a “heavy weight on my chest” (429), reminiscent of some East European folkloric accounts that document the dead returning and pressing down on their victims’ chest or throttling them (Beresford, From Demons to Dracula 109). This is markedly similar to the actions performed by the vampiric incubus/succubus beings documented in the 15th century text Malleus Maleficarum:
For the devil is Succubus to a man, and becomes Incubus to a woman ... it is inferred that the devil can receive and inject semen invisibly, this also is true; but he prefers to perform this visibly as a Succubus and an Incubus, that by such filthiness he may infect body and soul of all humanity. (Pt. 1; Ques. III)
This is followed by Harker feeling a “sort of loathing, like the first stage of sea-sickness…broken by the low panting as of some animal close to me” (429). At this point, perhaps due to our knowledge of Dracula, we expect to encounter a vampire, yet it is a wolf that appears–“some great animal was lying on me and now licking my throat” (429). When the soldier aims to shoot and fires his gun only for his companion to divert the shot, saving Harker, he says that the soldier “had evidently taken my body for that of the wolf” (429). Harker is confused with the wolf, a doubling effect between man and animal (or monster in animal form). Psychoanalytical readings of Dracula have interpreted the Count as the abject form of Harker’s latent homosexuality which must be destroyed to allow Harker to assume the role of husband and father which had begun with his becoming a fully qualified solicitor and fiancé to Mina Murray before his arrival at Dracula’s Castle (Astle 99-100; Schaffer 398-399). In the novel, Dracula surprises Harker as he shaves in a mirror, as Harker is unable to see Dracula in the reflection. Much of the tension early in the novel comes from the irony of Harker’s naivety in recognizing the threat [page 19] posed by Dracula and the contrast between his innocence and the charged language within the novel. However, where Harker sees only himself, the hero, in the mirror in Dracula, the soldiers in “Dracula’s Guest” apparently see only the “monster” in the form of the (were)wolf. “Dracula’s Guest” offers a way of reading Harker as less innocent than he appears by eliding the boundaries between the hero and the villain and suggesting a closer identification between Dracula and Harker.
The confusion regarding the identity of the wolf in “Dracula’s Guest” continues when the soldier says “Well, have you found him [the wolf]?” (430) before stating that it was “a wolf–yet not a wolf … no use trying for him without the sacred bullet” (430). The first comment is an anthropomorphic blurring of the boundary between human and animal. The second comment, with its reference to the sacred bullet, implies that the wolf was a werewolf, which many folkloric accounts claim can only be killed by a silver bullet. This unspoken suggestion of lycanthropy recurs with the comment by one of the soldiers: “It went to its home … There are graves enough there in which it may lie” (431). While the mention of the grave as home suggests vampirism, it also links to William Hertz’ comments on the werewolf in his book Der Werwolf (1862). This type of werewolf “burrows out of the grave at midnight ... so as to lie on those asleep and suck the warm heart’s blood out of them; after he has sated himself he returns to his grave” (qtd. in Frost 14-15), thus relating to Harker’s experience of the wolf lying on his chest. The soldiers’ comments intertwine the figures of the werewolf and the vampire. Like Harker, the reader is given only pieces of information with which to understand what has happened so that we share the unnerving lack of knowledge and context.
We are then told that “the wolf has been lying on him and keeping his blood warm” (430), which echoes Hertz’ account of the werewolf but transforms it from aggressor into protector, confirmed when the officer says “his skin is not pierced” (430). Yet, just a few lines later one of the soldiers cries out “‘Look at his throat ... ’ Instinctively I raised my hand to my throat, and as I touched it I cried out in pain” (431)–clearly, there is now a wound. The whole scene is mixed with opposing elements–the coldness of the snow compared to the sense of warmth in his breast, the vampiric overtones and the appearance of the werewolf, the lack of a wound followed by a wound–all of which heighten the sense of the uncanny within the story. The final moment of uncanniness is in the arrival of the telegram from Dracula, which suggests that he had predicted what was to befall Harker. Harker’s final statement paints Dracula as his rescuer: “From a distant country had come, in the very nick of time, a message that took me out of the danger of the snow-sleep and the jaws of the wolf” (433).
Harker’s ignorance of local folklore and superstition as well as what is [page 20] to befall him at Castle Dracula gives his interpretation textual irony. The reader’s prior knowledge of Dracula informs us that Dracula is a vampire and Harker is heading to a worse fate than that experienced in the graveyard. Given that Dracula not only transforms into a wolf in the novel but also protects Harker from the three vampiresses at Castle Dracula, the wolf in “Dracula’s Guest” can be read as Dracula coming to save Harker from the Countess Dolingen as part of his wider plan to emigrate to Britain. Thus, the short story and the novel are irrevocably combined, although Harker fails to recognize what the reader probably has: the wolf from which he was rescued was a werewolf, and potentially Dracula himself. In “Dracula’s Guest,” Dracula slips between the roles of villain and hero, once again challenging the simplistic representation of good versus evil offered in the novel alone. Harker’s account is framed by his limited understanding, and despite the comments of the soldiers and the evidence to the contrary, he cannot see the (were)wolf as anything other than aggressor. While still believing Dracula to be a human at this point, Harker sees these events as humans saving their kin from an aggressive wild animal. As a rational Englishman, he has no concern for Walpurgisnacht or creatures that trouble the boundaries of human and animal. Leatherdale’s interpretation of the figure of the wolf in Dracula and “Dracula’s Guest” follows Harker’s attitude by relegating it to the “animal familiar of the Count” (117), but he also suggests that the function of the wolf in Dracula and in “Dracula’s Guest” differs: in the novel, he sees the wolf as “savage and destructive,” whereas in the short story, the wolf is a protector (Leatherdale 117). This reading limits the subject matter and does not acknowledge the multiple interpretations of the identity of the lupine savior in “Dracula’s Guest” as wolf, werewolf, or Count Dracula himself in his (were)wolf form. The threatening wolves in Dracula are present in a multiplicity, their howls haunting the text. The single wolf that escapes from London Zoo, Berserker, is described as placid and domesticated returning like a good dog to his master after his adventure. The representation of wolves is different from that of a single wolf, a theme that recurs in “Dracula’s Guest.” In comparing the werewolf/vampire beings from “Dracula’s Guest” and Dracula, we can see that a relationship is built between the vampire Dracula and the werewolf in “Dracula’s Guest.”
Prior to the appearance of the wolf that saves him in “Dracula’s Guest,” Harker sees “over the crest of the hill a man tall and thin” (424) who then disappears and is replaced with the cry of a lone wolf. This description matches that of Count Dracula in Dracula as “a tall old man” (25) when he answers the door at Castle Dracula, and again as a “man, tall and thin” (106) in the log of the Demeter. It also bears a striking resemblance to the figure of Azzo von Klatka, the vampire who has been considered an influence on the conception of Count Dracula, in the [page 21] anonymously written “The Mysterious Stranger” (1853), who is described as being “tall, and extremely thin” (Anonymous 213).3 Robert Eighteen-Bisang and Elizabeth Miller in their edition of Stoker’s Notes suggest that “[t]he parallels with Dracula are obvious” (311). Azzo von Klatka also has “the power of those dreadful wolves” (210) and, in a manner more akin to contemporary ideas regarding the werewolf, “he only shows himself on moon-light nights” (207). Similarly, the connection between the wolves and the Count is made in Dracula, when Harker tells us how “I heard, as if from down below in the valley, the howling of many wolves. The Count’s eyes gleamed, and he said:- ‘Listen to them–the children of the night. What music they make!’” (29).
Further descriptions of the Count show the similarity between his representation as a vampire and as a werewolf. In “Dracula’s Guest,” the narrator describes the wolf that attacked him in the cemetery: “Its sharp white teeth gleamed in the gaping red mouth… [and] its hot breath [was] fierce and acrid upon me” (429). This description reflects that of the vampire Dracula. Our first meeting with the Count in Dracula is in the form of the coach driver, about whom Harker says: “I could only see the gleam of a pair of very bright eyes, which seemed red in the lamplight” (19). Furthermore, he has a “very hard-looking mouth, with very red lips and sharp-looking teeth, as white as ivory” (20). From this description, he appears more akin to the wolf in “Dracula’s Guest” than a vampire, something which is built upon later in the novel.
The best example of this crossover between the two creatures comes from Stoker’s description of the Count in Dracula, which is werewolf-like:
His face was a strong–a very strong–aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils; with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples, but profusely elsewhere. His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl under its own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth; these protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years. For the rest, his ears were pale and at the tops extremely pointed; the chin was broad and strong, and the cheeks firm though thin. The general effect was one of extraordinary pallor. (28)
Furthermore, “there were hairs in the centre of his palms. The nails were long and fine, and cut to a sharp point” (28) and “it may have been that his breath was rank, but a horrible feeling of nausea came over me” (28-29). Compare this description to that of the wolf-boy Jean Grenier by Baring-Gould in The Book of Werewolves: “the teeth were strong and white, and the canine teeth protruded over the lower lip when the mouth was [page 22] closed” (87); and of werewolves more generally: “his hands are broad, and his fingers short, and there are always some hairs in the hollow of his hand” (107) and “he may be known by the meeting of his eyebrows above the nose” (110). Dracula appears as a wolf throughout the novel: when he leaps from the Demeter he is mistaken for “an immense dog” (99), and also the night that Lucy’s mother dies, when “in the aperture of the broken panes there was the head of a great, gaunt grey wolf” (173-74). What Stoker has described in the form of the Count in Dracula is a werewolf, not a vampire, and yet Count Dracula is synonymous with vampires and not werewolves.
By looking at both “Dracula’s Guest” and Dracula, we can suggest that Dracula is, to use Nigel Jackson’s term, a “lycanthropic vampire” (42). Jackson writes about the necessity of studying these two creatures together as they stand not in opposition to one another but as “two aspects of the same dark enigma of liminality and life-in-death” (7), and the lycanthropic vampire “represents that incursion of the unknown into the known, the wilderness into the cultivated garden, the unconscious into the conscious, the animal in the human” (42). These ideas are of special interest when looking at the character of Count Dracula and the symbolism of the (were)wolf in the two texts. “Dracula’s Guest” creates a dream-like twilight landscape beyond the crossroads in which Harker is saved by a werewolf who is also a vampire. When read as the opening to Dracula, it sets the scene for the introduction of a character who lives between the two forms. By reintroducing the werewolf in Dracula, it is possible for Count Dracula to be not just “life-in-death” but also “the animal in the human.” Jackson, like Harker in the opening chapter of Dracula, notes the overlap between the words for vampire and werewolf in Eastern European folklore. However, where Harker’s confusion over the language suggests a lack of understanding, Jackson uses the words to show the desire within Western representations of the vampire and the werewolf to treat them as entirely separate creatures, ignoring their connection in earlier folkloric representations. Arguing against the relationship between “Dracula’s Guest” and Dracula continues the removal of lycanthropy from the representation of the vampire.
There are other elements of the werewolf within Stoker’s Notes for Dracula, suggesting that it was originally meant to play a greater role within the novel. In Book III of the notes dated 14 March 1890, Stoker writes how a Texan (eventually the character Quincey Morris) is going to be killed by a werewolf in Transylvania (Frayling 300), and in Book IV, he lists the idea of “one killed by wolf (wehr?)” (Frayling 308). An undated document also lists the Count’s ability to influence rats, wolves, and hyenas. Yet Stoker removes the incidents that specifically name the werewolf from Dracula, including instead a myriad of wolves whose howls haunt the Transylvanian landscape: the first occurrence of this in Dracula [page 23] is when Harker notes “there was a dog howling all night under my window” (10) early in the novel. This is echoed in “Dracula’s Guest,” though this time linked to the moon: “with the moonlight there came a fierce sigh of the storm, which appeared to resume its course with a long, low howl, as of many dogs or wolves” (426). The wolf is linked with themes of the uncanny and unnatural throughout both the short story and the novel. It is clear that Dracula can transform into a wolf, and, given the other physical similarities between himself and the archetypal werewolf described in Baring-Gould’s work, the werewolf in “Dracula’s Guest” can be read as Dracula himself coming to protect the swooning Harker from the Countess Dolingen.
If Harker is protected by Dracula-as-werewolf, then it can be argued that when Harker is “grasped as by the hand of a giant and hurled out into the storm” (428) away from the beautiful woman in the tomb, this is also Dracula protecting Harker from the vampiress. This scene echoes that in the novel when Dracula saves Harker from the three vampiresses, and the language between the two encounters enhances this similarity. Harker notices “the two great flaming eyes of a gigantic wolf” (429) above him in “Dracula’s Guest,” mirroring the description of the Count in Dracula. Here his eyes blaze: “The red light in them was lurid, as if the flames of hell-fire blazed behind them” (52), an image that is re-iterated when Lucy is attacked by a “stranger [that] had great eyes like burning flames” (117) and whom Mina also refers to as “man or beast” (112). This confusion between human and animal echoes the soldiers calling the wolf “Him” and mistaking the prone body of Harker for the wolf in “Dracula’s Guest.” The comparisons between Dracula in werewolf and vampire form are striking and suggest that the two entities are of equal representational importance.4
These descriptions also demonstrate Stoker engaging with contemporary Victorian fears regarding degeneration. The Theory of Evolution proposed by Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species (1859) challenged the theological view of the world but also offered the very real possibility that humanity could degenerate into a baser form. Dracula’s transformative qualities and his “influence over rats and ‘lower’ life forms” (Frayling 309) are symbolic of his degenerative nature. In his Marxist critique of Dracula, Franco Moretti points out that the Count lacks the credentials of nobility such as servants and outward trappings of wealth (90-91). While he has piles of gold within his castle, the British markers of gentility associated with the aristocracy are absent. Dracula’s title is an empty symbol that covers the rotten core of his class much as his castle is built upon the moldering cellars where his body lies during the day. Thus, Dracula is representative of both the apex of the class system and its underside.5 [page 24]
The werewolf motif becomes as important as that of the vampire in exploring class issues within Dracula. Raymond McNally proposes in Dracula Was a Woman: In Search of the Blood Countess of Transylvania that Stoker’s main influence for Count Dracula was Elizabeth Bathory, a Hungarian countess who tortured and killed hundreds of young women during the late 16th century (93-112). McNally argues that Stoker would have known about Bathory from reading Baring-Gould’s account in The Book of Werewolves, but there seems to be no evidence for this in Stoker’s Notes. Baring-Gould not only sees Bathory as a werewolf rather than a vampire, but also covers the case of another nobleman turned sadistic killer, Gilles de Laval, the Maréchal de Retz (181-237). Abhorrent behavior in the nobility is associated with werewolfism. Dracula’s degenerative behavior appears symptomatic of a growing concern during the Victorian period that members of the aristocracy were becoming animalistic and depraved but were protected by their good name. By not exploring the werewolf trope in “Dracula’s Guest” and how it highlights this latent theme in Dracula, we lose the depth of Stoker’s social commentary.
The inversion of the importance and power of public respectability embodied in a formal title such as Count brings to mind Max Nordau’s work on degeneration. He states that the ideal man is “a social being[;] man must feel with his fellow creatures, and show himself sensitive to their opinions about him” (Nordau 252). Dracula, like his real-life counterparts, is guilty of becoming degenerate from the isolation of his position in society. This feeling of isolation, or loneliness, is something that Stoker returns to repeatedly in his notes. Frayling explains through his research on Stoker’s Notes that the root of this text is a dream Stoker had which can be condensed into: “Loneliness, the Kiss ‘this man belongs to me’” (301). This section was then to form the scene with the three vampiresses and Dracula’s dramatic rescue of Harker, which is so similar to his rescue of the narrator in “Dracula’s Guest.”
Thematically, then, “Dracula’s Guest” returns to, and within the narrative prefigures, the loneliness of Dracula and his desire to protect Harker for himself–though this is later sublimated, more appropriately by Victorian standards, by the Count’s thirst for Mina. In Dracula, on meeting the blonde vampiress in the trio, Harker “seemed somehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear” (51). This feeling is uncanny, a desire that Harker has repressed, which is represented in the temptation of the kisses of these demonic women. The hidden desire could be for Lucy, his fiancée’s closest friend, who is a blonde. The Countess Dolingen has also been identified as the blonde vampire suggesting that the familiarity could be a repressed memory of the incident in the graveyard (Belford 265; Leatherdale 148-149; Miller 101). This makes sense within the structure of the narrative but also [page 25] foretells the fall of the blonde Lucy from purity to voluptuous vampirism. The agony of the vampiress on the bier when she is struck by lightning is paralleled in the agony of vampire Lucy being staked in her coffin. In both cases, those who tempt Harker, our upright, Victorian hero, are cruelly punished. In Our Vampires, Ourselves, Nina Auerbach interprets the staking of Lucy as part of the patriarchal hierarchy at work in Dracula. She notes that “Dracula’s Guest,” with its Styrian vampiress, owes a great deal to Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1872) and could have been cut because of this similarity. However, of more importance to Auerbach is the removal of an “imperial female vampire” (66), so that in the novel, the Countess becomes one of the three nameless vampiresses who are scared away by the Count. Yet despite their obsequiousness to Dracula, to the human Harker they pose a very serious threat in their liminal existence.
Christopher Craft’s exploration of the scene with the three vampiresses places it as a pivotal moment in gender performance within Dracula. He suggests that “virile Jonathan Harker enjoys a ‘feminine’ passivity and awaits a delicious penetration from a woman whose demonism is figured as the power of penetration” (Craft 109). Harker’s experience of this passivity is, like the vampiress’s breath, “honey-sweet ... but with a bitter underlying the sweet” (52). Similarly, in “Dracula’s Guest,” as previously mentioned, under the werewolf he feels the contrasting sensations of ice against his back and warmth on his chest. In both situations, Harker adopts a feminine attitude, swooning before coming round only to look up “[t]hrough my eyelashes” (429) at the werewolf, and then in Dracula “looking out under my eyelashes in an agony of delightful anticipation” (51) at the vampiress. The language used to describe the two predators echoes each other: Harker notes that the werewolf’s “sharp white teeth gleamed in the gaping red mouth” (429); similarly in Dracula, Harker watches as the vampiress “licked her lips like an animal ... the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth” (52). Werewolf mouth is conflated with vampiress’s mouth and a common animalism is evoked between the two. As the vampiress’s ability to penetrate suggests a fear of femininity combined with phallic power, the increased intelligence of the werewolf and manner in which it mounts the swooning Harker hints at bestiality. Auerbach argues that Dracula’s wolfish qualities repel Harker in the novel (88), yet if the werewolf in “Dracula’s Guest” is Dracula saving Harker from the Countess, then Harker’s swooning under the werewolf’s warmth brings forth the latent homoeroticism within the novel. By reading the novel alone, Harker’s reaction to Dracula is limited to revulsion, whereas consideration of the short story gives a more complex version of Harker’s desires as he plays the “damsel in distress” to Dracula. The similarity in the descriptions of the reaction of Harker under the female vampire and the werewolf reinforce the connection between the two creatures. By [page 26] comparing the two texts, we can see that in all forms, from Dracula to the female vampires, the vampire is intimately connected with the werewolf, giving further depth to the original novel.
The relationship between Dracula and “Dracula’s Guest” cannot be reduced to discussions regarding the narrative relationship between the two. “Dracula’s Guest” does not live parasitically off of the larger work. Instead, it is a key to exploring the novel and its central themes in greater depth. In writing “Dracula’s Guest,” Stoker returns to the themes of loneliness, animality, and lycanthropy, giving them a central position within our reading of Dracula and offering insight into the polymorphic quality of Dracula by including further work on his research into the figure of the werewolf. In conflating the vampire and the werewolf, Stoker has given scope to investigating the uncanny quality of the divide between life and death as well as the boundary that divides the socialized human from the wild animal. Dracula is able to embody these oppositions: an amorphous being whose existence loosens the tight ligatures that bind Victorian society, uncovering the palpitating fear which was at the center of these strictures. In reading “Dracula’s Guest” and Dracula together, it is possible to reclaim the werewolf from the heart of literature’s archetypal vampire, Count Dracula.
1. Stoker’s “Working Notes” consist of eighty manuscript or typescript pages and are housed at the Rosenbach Foundation in Philadelphia. Christopher Frayling, in his book Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula, discusses these papers extensively, and references in this paper relate to his analysis of them. The “Working Notes” were transcribed and annotated by Elizabeth Miller and Robert Eighteen-Bisang into Bram Stoker’s Notes for Dracula: A Facsimile Edition, and quotations from Stoker’s “Working Notes” come from this edition.
2. For references to these cases, see Beresford From Demons to Dracula, Chapter 6, and Barber Chapters 1 and 3.
3. “The Mysterious Stranger” was translated from German and appeared in the December issue of Chambers’ Repository of Instructive and Amusing Tracts in 1853. It was then reprinted in Odds and Ends in 1860 (Eighteen-Basing and Miller 311). The version of the text used is in Dracula’s Guest: A Connoisseur’s Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories (194-239), edited by Michael Sims.
4. Few adaptations of Dracula have maintained this aspect of Dracula, instead making him seem increasingly urbane and elegant. Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) is an exception and highlights the beastliness of Dracula by having him seduce Lucy in the form of a werewolf. Coppola creates a narrative which suggests Dracula’s age and emotional torment cause him to degenerate into a monstrous human-animal hybrid.
5. The peculiar degenerative quality of nobility in relation to lycanthropy also occurs in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Olalla (1887), which places an Englishman in the company of a titled Spanish family who have fallen into an animal-like state. [page 27]
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MLA citation (print):
Franck, Kaja, and Matthew Beresford, "Banishing the Beast: The Role of the Wolf in “Dracula’s Guest” and Its Omission from Dracula." Supernatural Studies, vol. 2, no. 2, 2015, pp. 14-28.