Bram Stoker’s Dracula, published in 1897, has been a staple of high school English classrooms for generations. Its story and characters have been broadly adapted for film, television, radio, and the stage. Indeed, the name “Dracula” has become functionally synonymous with the modern vampire mythos. Yet, despite Dracula’s enduring cultural relevance, it is unlikely that anyone could have predicted the 125-year-old novel going viral in 2022. However, thanks to a free email-newsletter service called Dracula Daily, it did just that, with hundreds of thousands of people signing on for an impromptu book club.
For those not yet in on the trend, Dracula Daily’s premise goes like this: as an epistolary novel—or a novel formed by a collection of letters, articles, and journal entries—each section of the book is dated. Starting with the first letter on May 3rd, subscribers receive short sections of the novel on their corresponding dates via email. Essentially, rather than reading Dracula straight through, readers get to enjoy digestible snippets that reflect the timeline that the characters in the novel experience.
As a new wave of interest in Dracula spikes, online fan communities have flourished, discussing the ongoing adventures of Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray, Abraham Van Helsing, and their band of friends. However, with the novel coming to an end on November 10th, many are hungry for recommendations of what to read next. The literature experts here at eNotes have compiled some suggestions based on a variety of different elements of Dracula to help guide your reading journey.
And for those who are worried about having missed out on the experience, have no fear! There are still almost two months of emails left for 2022, and Dracula Daily maintains a complete archive of all past posts to help you get caught up. Plus, with the popularity the service saw this year, it is likely to run again beginning in May of 2023.
Now, without further ado, we present six suggestions for filling the Dracula-shaped hole in your life.
1. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
For fans of the epistolary structure featured in Dracula, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë provides a similarly intimate narration, told primarily through the letters of Gilbert Markham. Markham is intrigued by his new neighbor, a mysterious woman named Helen Graham, who moves into the titular Wildfell Hall with her young son. While lacking Dracula’s more supernatural aspects, the unfolding drama of Helen’s past makes excellent reading for anyone who enjoys compelling social commentary.
2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Much like Dracula, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley has enjoyed enduring cultural relevance and popularity since its publication in 1818. Both novels, in a sense, spawned a modern myth: Dracula created the enduring vision of the aristocratic vampire, and Frankenstein spawned the eponymous monster. However, while many people may associate the name “Frankenstein” with an inarticulate green giant with bolts in his neck, the novel itself is actually a complex rumination on ambition, scientific ethics, and what it means to be human. For first-time readers and seasoned veterans alike, Frankenstein—like Dracula—offers compelling insights into the process of cultural adaptation and myth-making.
3. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
For those who have not yet had their fill of Count Dracula, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova provides a compelling continuation of Stoker’s novel while also incorporating historical information about Vlad Tepes—the 15th-century Wallachian ruler some believe was the real-world inspiration for the fictional Count Dracula. The more modern setting and a new cast of human characters gives readers a chance to enjoy a story that feels fresh while still engaging with familiar themes surrounding history, religion, and the nature of good and evil.
4. Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice
While the plot of Dracula primarily focuses on the plight of Jonathan Harker and his company as they combat the titular count, generations of readers have been fascinated by the concept of vampires and what living as one would be like. Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice—the first entry in her Vampire Chronicles series—serves as one vision of how immortality influences a person’s lifestyle, morals, and relationship with humanity. Protagonist Louis de Pointe du Lac narrates the events leading up to his transformation into a vampire and the life he has led since, providing psychological insights into the mixed burdens and blessings of eternity.
5. The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez
For readers seeking a reinvention of the classic vampire mythos established in Dracula, The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez may be love at first bite. The Black, queer protagonist—who adopts the name Gilda—is granted immortality after escaping from slavery, and she spends the next several centuries combatting oppression alongside her chosen family. In stark contrast to Dracula’s Victorian standards of appropriateness surrounding gender, sexuality, and Christian purity, The Gilda Stories explores vampirism as a source of liberation.
6. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo draws on the fantasy and adventure elements of Dracula while further exploring the role of teamwork in defeating powerful foes. The novel follows a group of skilled criminals who are issued an impossible task: break into an unbreachable fortress and rescue the scientist responsible for developing a dangerous new drug. Set in a world where some people—called Grisha—possess superhuman abilities, the novel questions the nature of power and the line between humanity and monstrosity. It also affirms the importance of friendship and chosen families in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.