Do you fancy an Icelandic translation of Dracula?
We can offer Makt Myrkranna (Powers of Darkness), by Valdimar Ásmundsson (1901) and recently re-discovered, a version The Guardian says, so different from the original
that you wonder if any translator before has had the gumption to go this far in reinventing an original text…
Adding an Icelandic twist, Ásmundsson has plonked in numerous references to Norse literature. There are fewer bromantic moments between Van Helsing and his vampire-chasing mates – and larger doses of lasciviousness….
Makt Myrkranna…could have had the subtitle Lust in a Cape. Joseph Harker frequently remarks on the “bosom” of scantily clad women, whether covered in blood or jewels, and other entirely new moments are added.
Different as it is from the original, Bram Stoker seems to have given it his approval. He even wrote the introduction. It’s speculated that Ásmundsson might have been working from an earlier version, or even Stoker’s notes for the novel. Maybe Stoker thought that the Icelandic version would just be a quaint local oddity – which it was until rediscovered in 2014.
If that isn’t to your taste, we can offer two more: Karen Essex’s Dracula in Love, and Syrie James’ Dracula My Love. These are the latest in the sexification of Vlad that started in the 70’s with Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire and has lately given us Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight. Karen Essex is a writer of fast-paced erotic do-overs of historical figures (Cleopatra and Pharaoh) with a prose style Liz Satterthwaite in Open Letters Monthly calls just a few wavelengths into the purple spectrum. You can imagine what she does with Dracula:
With his midnight blue wolf eyes, he stared at me, taking me in.
My body was like a musical instrument that only he knew how to play.
Open a bottle of pink champagne, run a bubble bath and set free your inner Barbara Cartland.
Syrie James is the author of The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte and The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen. This one is subtitled The Secret Journals of Minna Harker.
Mina loves her husband Jonathan Harker, but she falls like a ton of bricks for fascinating “Mr Wagner”– whom she eventually learns is Dracula and calls Nicolae …and she believes all his explanations for the horrible things Team Vampire Slayer keep saying about him.
James’ Dracula does a lot of fast talking as Minna challenges him with these nasty rumours, and a lot of this sort of thing:
Oh! What a kiss! It was a kiss unlike anything that I had ever before experienced. As his tongue went on a gentle quest, exploring the delicate interior of my mouth, a myriad of new sensations were awakened within me. I began to tremble.
It’s a commonplace in romantic fiction for strong men to struggle to overcome their overwhelming desire, as our hero does here:
his entire body shook, as if he was struggling with every ounce of will-power against some powerful inner force that threatened to overcome him.
Of course, in this case, his overwhelming desire is -– well, you know. I know. Minna would rather not know.
But, dear reader, she didn’t marry him. Dracula is still a baddie in this version.
We aren’t suggesting that you actually read these books, but you will have fun reading Liz Satterthwaite’s article. We particularly like her conclusion:
Essex has been known to write sequels, so Dracula might still get a chance to visit the 21st century, try on some skinny jeans, and kick that Twilight twerp right in his garlic gloves. There would be a kind of unholy justice in that.
Image: Wikimedia Commons Bela Lugosi