There is More to Dracula Than People Think

Author Interview
Author Interview A—e

Powers of Darkness is more than just a translation of Dracula, it includes sections originally published in the paper but not the novel, as well as historical information. Why was this an important book for you to write?

The simplest explanation is that the translator was given wide latitude to be creative, as long as the story helped sell newspapers. Although a few scenes were left out, including the zookeeper interview and the death of Renfield, this is an adaptation of Dracula with some new characters and plotlines. We know from Dracula that Harker has a hard time maintaining his composure when he’s trapped like an extremely tasty small rodent, but when the madhouse doctor’s thoughts start to race, he is less able to hold himself together.

When I saw that the Icelandic Powers of Darkness was an abbreviated version of the more elaborate Swedish original, I wanted to see how it ended. When it became clear that the story was unique and entertaining on its own, I felt like I had to publish it before the Count’s sympathizers had it suppressed at the publishing houses.

Did you find anything in your research of this story that surprised you?

My editors started prodding me about how the text was dripping with racism and misogyny, initially with suggestions to soften the sharp edges and occasionally with comments in the margins indicating their level of cringe. I was surprised at how it managed to come in with even more racism than Dracula.

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer in this book?

I thought I was trying to clear up some misunderstandings about Count Draculitz. He wasn’t just some creepy, ravenous moral-panic-inspiring predator; he was greasing the palms of English politicians and founding a personality cult promoting fascism twenty years before it became popular.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I do not think I will come across a book from a past century that I have to publish again.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter

Powers of Darkness (Swedish: Mörkrets makter) is a translation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula published in the Stockholm newspaper Dagen in 1899–1900. It is longer than Dracula and features an expanded cast of characters, elaborate adventures in the Transylvanian castle, a lovers’ reunion in a Hungarian sanitorium, a mystical honey pot, and a showdown with the Count in London. The new content is rich in eroticism, xenophobia, spiritualism, and vague political conspiracies. This is the first time that the full Swedish text of Powers of Darkness has been translated into English; until now this story was only available in the much-abbreviated Icelandic version Makt Myrkranna. This edition contains a foreword by Hans Corneel de Roos, an expert on the Nordic Dracula variants and translator of the Icelandic text, and essays on xenophobia and racism in fin-de-siècle monster literature by Tyler Tichelaar and Sezin Koehler. It is illustrated with the original pen-and-ink drawings by Emil Åberg printed in the newspaper in 1899.

Posted on May 4, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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