SPRING 2023 UPDATE
Hello Dracula Fans! Here is a long awaited update on the Dracula First Editions Project.
As the specialized paper market and niche book binders begin to have access to the types of materials to elevate them back to the pre pandemic levels of operations, our Dracula editions are moving to the front of the pile. Believe me we have been doing everything in our power to move this project along. I hate the fact that we are now two years since funding the project without fulfilling your orders. However, the fact is we are agonizing as much as most of you, I hate missing deadlines. We are determined not to sacrifice the quality of work on these fine reproductions just to fulfill these orders quickly, we figure we have made you all wait so long, we darn well better get them right. The good news is the paper has been sourced, the typesetting of the text has been measured and re measured many times, this part is complete.
We now move to the construction of the cover, which 126 years ago was done using material not normally used on modern books. So the specialized material search is underway for the cover. The cover has to be the correct material to be printed on. This is a tough search for our binder, they have to source the correct color AND material, so the title DRACULA does not bleed thru the mustard yellow color of the cover.
The interior pages will need to be collated, folded and inserted into each other to make signatures. A signature by the way is the groupings of the pages which are then hand sewn to the spine of each book. All have to be done by hand to over 9000 pages to complete the orders. The book plates are complete and will NOT be attached to the inside of the book but will come along with it. After the books return from the binder, a book cover will be sized and created. Virgin books will begin to go out after this process. Hand aging will begin on the Antiqued orders.
I hope all of this detail does not make your head spin. We believe that we should have these books finished within the next 5-6 months baring any unforeseen hiccups or delays beyond our control.
Please remain patient, in the mean time here is an interesting article that I recently discovered from the Trinity College Newspaper in Dublin, Ireland from around 1947 about Bram Stoker.
A Trinity Man- Bram Stoker by Jean Francois 1947
At the opening of the College Historical Society recently, a speaker mentioned a former Auditor whose career both in Trinity and in the out side world varied as much, as the activities of Victorian contemporaries. This was Abraham Stoker, more-familiarly known as Bram. To those who bother to read credit titles of films the appearance of Stoker's name as author of “Dracula” might have been somewhat startling, for at first sight there appears to be a vast gulf between an Auditor of the College Historical Society, Trinity College, Dublin, and a mystery tale which thrilled and horrified novel readers half a century ago. On closer examination of the career of Bram Stoker, one is struck by the remarkable diversity of his interests, for not only was the author of "Dracula" Auditor of the Hist. but a former President of the Phil. It is in these varied positions that he should primarily be remembered.
Abraham Stoker entered Trinity in 1866 to read mathematics. He joined the University Philosophical Society. A prophetic link with his later work is found in the first essay he read before the Society while a Senior Freshman it was entitled "Sensationalism in Fiction and Society." His mind could not, however, have been entirely on essay composition for in that year he was already the athletic champion of this University. His career in the Phil. advanced in a spectacular way-not only did he receive a certificate in oratory and a silver medal in aesthetics but rose from Councilor to Secretary. In a bye election in 1870 he was elected President. Though there was only a term left to him as President, his association with student life lasted for several more years.
Stoker's career in the College Historical Society showed equal success. While Librarian in 1869-70 he won silver medals in history and composition, and the following year was elected correspondence Secretary. Finally, in 1872 he became Auditor, delivering at the inaugural meeting an address entitled "The Necessity for Political Honesty."
Having filled these important offices and, consequently, becoming widely known in College - according to his obituary in “The Irish Times” he was the most popular man in the Trinity of the '70's-it is interesting to trace the steps by which he became an author.
Graduating with honours in mathematics, Bram Stoker became, rather curiously, a barrister-at-law. In 1878, however, he left the secure Inspectorship of Petty Sessions in Ireland and became a business manager to Sir Henry Irving. Thus, the mathematician-turned barrister at law inhabited the exciting world of the London stage. It was possibly this association, added to an interest in the mysterious, which led him to publish a dozen novels in that genre. "Dracula," the best known - and, incidentally, well and logically written was called by " Punch " " the very weirdest of all weird tales." He also, wrote a two volume "Reminiscences of Irving."
Bram Stoker, then, one might conclude. Was a fine all-rounder, a man who combined oratorical skill with business management, who composed serious essays and sensational stories. He is but one example out of the many who can truly be said to have benefited from the breadth and depth of a Trinity education.
WINTER 2022 UPDATE
We have made progress, and are getting closer to the finish line, albeit it slow. Creating something that has not existed in over one hundred years is quite the challenge. Creating the type and matching all the pages to my originals size is difficult. We are nearing the end for sure, but it will take a bit longer unfortunately. This book will be an art piece once completed, and art simply cannot be rushed. The bottom line is this:
Everyone will receive their rewards and will be thrilled with the product.
We wish this project had happened on schedule, but it has not, and we apologize for the delays. We wish everyone had one in hand already. Truly.
We push on to create the best US and UK First Editions of Dracula that we can.
In the meantime, we ask for your patience and understanding.
Here is a collection of early reviews of Dracula to give you an idea of how Bram’s novel was received when originally published in both the UK and USA.
It is almost inconceivable that Bram Stoker wrote Dracula. Still, he must have done it. There is his name on the title page, and before the tale was bound up and offered us between covers it ran its length in various newspapers, and under the same name of authorship.
So there is no getting around it. Bram Stoker did write it.
Think of the story. It is a tale of ghouls, vampires and human imps all in direct communication with Satan. There are lunatics and idiots in it who feed flies to spiders, spiders to sparrows, and then, in lieu of a cat, devour the sparrows themselves. A weird count – the Dracula from whom the book is named – lives in a castle high among the Carpathians and weaves webs for ordinary folk – casts spells over pretty girls, and draws the strings tighter until they die – the girls, that is. An amazing man – Dracula. To achieve his fiendish ends he assumes many and divers forms. Now he is a spirit, visible but untangible, with two sharp front teeth and red eyes. Again he is a dog, then a bat, in turn a wolf at last. As a bat, he goes about biting people in the neck. Of course they die. A Dutch specialist in physiological psychology sets out to solve the mystery of the strange deaths. In the end Dracula is worsted. His head is cut off and a stake is driven through his heart. There’s an outline of the tale – such is what you may hope to find between the covers.
And it is a splendid story, too; done in a manner most convincing – by letters, diaries. And medical observations.
And Bram Stoker wrote it!
Think of him.
He – a great, shambling, good-natured, overgrown boy – although he is the business manager of Henry Irving and the Lyceum Theatre – with a red beard, untrimmed, and a ruddy complexion, tempered somewhat by the wide-open full blue eyes that gaze so frankly into yours! Why, it is hard enough to imagine Bram Stoker a business man, to say nothing of his possessing an imagination capable of projecting Dracula upon paper.
But he has done it. And he has done it well.
If you enjoy the weird, if you care for spinal titillations, Dracula is unstintingly recommended.
The Manchester Guardian, 15 June 1897
A writer who attempts in the nineteenth century to rehabilitate the ancient legends of the were-wolf and the vampire has set himself a formidable task. Most of the delightful old superstitions of the past have an unhappy way of appearing limp and sickly in the glare of a later day, and in such a story as Dracula, by Bram Stoker, the reader must reluctantly acknowledge that the region of horrors has shifted its ground. Man is no longer in dread of the monstrous and the unnatural, and although Mr Stoker has tackled his gruesome subject with enthusiasm, the effect is more often grotesque than terrible.
The Transylvanian site of Castle Dracula is skillfully chosen, and the picturesque region is well described. Count Dracula himself has been in his day a medieval noble, who, by reason of his ‘Vampire’ quilters, is unable to die properly, but from century to century resuscitates his life of the ‘Un-Dead’, as the author terms it, by nightly droughts of blood from the throats of living victims, with the appalling consequence that those once so bitten must become vampire in their turn.
The plot is too complicated for reproduction, but it says no little for the author’s powers that in spite of its absurdities the reader can follow the story with interest to the end. It is, however, an artistic mistake to fill the whole volume with horrors. A touch of the mysterious, the terrible, or the supernatural is infinitely more effective and credible.
When an Englishman, or, for that matter, anyone of Anglo-Saxon blood, goes into degenerate literature of his own sort, he reveals a horrible kind of degeneracy. The works of the French degenerates possess a verve, a Gaelic attractiveness, indefinable but yet definite, the same subtle quality which, in another line, makes every Frenchwoman, young or old, attractive with a charm that pertains to the soul and not to the body or the mind. Now it goes without saying that the Anglo-Saxon has no such quality. When he becomes degenerate, it is degeneracy of a terrible sort – coarse, brutal, unlovely, its only attraction the fascination of horror. The difference is that between Whitechapel and the Moulin Rouge. I make no doubt that the existence of a Moulin Rouge in its midst is a greater menace to a people than the existence of a Whitechapel, but between the relative attractiveness of the two there is and can be no comparison at all. Swift and Hogarth are two very horrible examples of the Anglo-Saxon method of treating those things which our modern conventionalities decree shall be hidden.
Dracula, by an Englishman who calls himself ‘Bram Stoker‘, is an awful example. Here is a man who has taken the most horrible theme he could find in ancient or modern literature, the tradition regarding ghouls, or vampires, the beings, neither living nor dead, who creep in by night to suck the blood and damn the souls of their victims. He has then gone on to carry the thing out to all possible lengths. The plain horror were enough, perhaps, but the author goes farther, and adds insane asylums, dissecting rooms and unnatural appetites galore. No detail is too nauseating. In the first seventy pages, there are four cases of deaths caused by the preying of human vampires, one murder, one suicide, one lunatic with homicidal mania and a habit of eating flies, one somnambulist, one shipwreck, extent of fatalities not fully reported, one death by hysterical fright. Pleasant, isn’t it? Well, these are only a sort of foretaste of incidents which I, being of a tender conscience, will forbear to harness on the imaginations of others.
There are two reasons of extended mention of this literary failure. The first is that the main cause of the failure shows so prominently as to furnish a beautiful object-lesson. This fault is the lack of artistic restraint. Stevenson, the century’s greatest artist in fiction, happens to have used in two instances a theme like this one – in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and in the powerful short story Oliala. And anyone who wishes the lesson should put these two masterpieces, where the horror is suggested, hinted at, written around except for the one moment of the climax when it is brought home with an added force derived from the very fact that it has been hidden so long against this systematic piling-up of all the unwholesome and unpleasant things in the world. The other thing which makes the book worthy of notice is the fact that, in spite of it all, it holds to the end. It is true that the fascination is the same as that which would be possessed by a dissecting room, but it is there nevertheless.
If you have the bad taste, after this warning, to attempt the book, you will read on to the finish, as I did – and go to bed, as I did, feeling furtively of your throat.
The Spectator 31 July 1897
Mr Bram Stoker gives us the impression – we may be doing him an injustice – of having deliberately laid himself out in Dracula to eclipse all previous efforts in the domain of the horrible – to ‘go one better’ than Wilkie Collins (whose method of narration he has closely followed), Sheridan Le Fanu, and all the other professors of the flesh-creeping school. Count Dracula, who gives his name to the book, is a Transylvanian noble who purchases an estate in England, and in connection with the transfer of the property Jonathan Harker, a young solicitor, visits him in his ancestral castle. Jonathan Harker has a terrible time of it, for the Count – who is a vampire of immense age, cunning and experience – keeps him as a prisoner for several weeks, and when the poor young man escapes from the gruesome charnel-house of his host, he nearly dies of brain-fever in a hospital at Budapest.
The scene then shifts to England, where the Count arrives by sea in the shape of a dog-fiend, after destroying the entire crew, and resumes operations in various uncanny manifestations, selecting as his chief victim Miss Lucy Westenra, the fiancée of the Honourable Arthur Holmwood, heir presumptive to Lord Godalming. The story then resolves itself into the history of the battle between Lucy’s protectors, including two rejected suitors – an American and a ‘mad’ doctor – and a wonderfully clever specialist from Amsterdam, against her unearthly persecutor. The clue is furnished by Jonathan Harker, whose betrothed, Mina Murray, is a bosom friend of Lucy’s, and the fight is long and protracted.
Lucy succumbs, and, worse still, is temporarily converted into a vampire. How she is released from this unpleasant position and restored to a peaceful post-mortem existence, how Mina is next assailed by the Count, how he is driven from England, and finally exterminated by the efforts of the league – for all these and a great many more thrilling details, we must refer our readers to the pages of Mr Stoker’s clever but cadaverous romance. Its strength lies in the invention of incident, for the sentimental element is decidedly mawkish. Mr Stoker has shown considerable ability in the use that he has made of all the available traditions of vampirology, but we think his story would have been all the more effective if he had chosen an earlier period. The up-to-dateness of the book – the phonograph diaries, typewriters and so on – hardly fits in with the mediaeval methods which ultimately secure the victory for Count Dracula’s foes.
The Daily Mail, 1 June 1897
It is said of Mrs Radcliffe that when writing her now almost forgotten romances she shut herself up in absolute seclusion, and fed upon raw beef, in order to give her work the desired atmosphere of gloom, tragedy and terror. If one had no assurance to the contrary one might well supposed that a similar method and regimen had been adopted by Mr Bram Stoker while writing his new novel Dracula. In seeking for a parallel to this weird, powerful, and horrorful story our mind reverts to such tales as The Mysteries of Udolpho, Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, The Fall of the House of Usher, and Marjery of Quether. But Dracula is even more appalling in its gloomy fascination than any one of these.
We started reading it early in the evening, and followed Jonathan Harker on his mission to the Carpathians with no definite conjecture as to what waited us in the castle of Dracula. When we came to the night journey over the mountain road and were chased by the wolves, which the driver, with apparently miraculous power, repelled by a mere gesture, we began to scent mystery, but we were not perturbed. The first thrill of horrible sensation came with the discovery that the driver and the Count Dracula were one and the same person, that the count was the only human inhabitant of the castle, and that the rats, the bats, the ghosts, and the howling wolves were his familiars.
By ten o’clock the story had so fastened itself upon our attention that we could not pause even to light our pipe. At midnight the narrative had fairly got upon our nerves; a creepy terror had seized upon us, and when at length, in the early hours of the morning, we went upstairs to bed it was with the anticipation of nightmare. We listened anxiously for the sound of bats’ wings against the window; we even felt at our throat in dread least an actual vampire should have left there the two ghastly punctures which in Mr Stoker’s book attested to the hellish operations of Dracula.
The recollections of this weird and ghostly tale will doubtless haunt us for some time to come. It would be unfair to the author to divulge the plot. We therefore restrict ourselves to the statement that the eerie chapters are written and strung together with very considerable art and cunning, and also with unmistakable literary power. Tribute must also be paid to the rich imagination of which Mr Bram Stoker here gives liberal evidence. Persons of small courage and weak nerves should confine their reading of these gruesome pages strictly to the hours between dawn and sunset.
Pall Mall Gazette, 1 June 1897
Mr Bram Stoker should have labelled his book ‘For Strong Men Only’, or words to that effect. Left lying carelessly around, it might get into the hands of your maiden aunt who believes devoutly in the man under the bed, or of the new parlourmaid with unsuspected hysterical tendencies. Dracula to such would be manslaughter. It is for the man with a sound conscience and digestion, who can turn out the gas and go to bed without having to look over his shoulder more than half a dozen times as he goes upstairs, or more than mildly wishing that he had a crucifix and some garlic handy to keep the vampires from getting at him. That is to say, the story deals with the Vampire King, and it is horrid and creepy to the last degree. It is also excellent, and one of the best things in the supernatural line that we have been lucky enough to hit upon.
Glasgow Herald, 10 June 1897
It is an eerie and gruesome tale which Mr Stoker tells, but it is much the best book he has written. The reader is held with a spell similar to that of Wilkie Collins’s Moonstone, and indeed in many ways the form of narrative by diaries and letters and extracts from newspapers neatly fitted into each other recalls Wilkie Collins’s style … Mr Stoker keeps his devilry well in hand, if such an expression is allowable; as strange event follows strange event, the narrative might in less skillful hands become intolerably improbable; but Dracula to the end seems only too reasonably and sanely possible. Henceforth we shall wreathe ourselves in garlic when opportunity offers, and firmly decline all invitations to visit out-of-the-way clients in castles in the South-East of Europe. Dracula is a first rate book of adventure.
JUNE 2022 UPDATE
The actual sizing of the text and page layouts are complete, we feel great about the replication of all the pages. It should come as no surprise that we are still dealing with the ramifications of supply chain and staffing shortage that have been brought on by the pandemic.
MAY 2022 UPDATE
Greetings children of the night.
A quick First Editions update for you.
Below is a sample of the text that we had to create for this project. Notice the reverse text barley visible. Each and every page has to go through this final process. I am sending off the sample page to Dacre for size adjustments, etc.
Once he gives the final ok, I will go through the entire text again to add in the watermarked reverse pages.
After that, it’s a final proof and off to the printer and binder.
Thanks for being patient. This turned out to be a much larger project than anticipated.
Hang in there everyone!
I have no idea how supply chains work or more importantly during this world pandemic how they do not work.
The bottom line is that our efforts to timely reproduce and properly age these two magnificent works of literature, the 1897 UK First edition of Dracula and the 1899 US First edition of Dracula, have been affected by issues somewhere along the line in the production of paper. In our efforts to choose different sources of the very special and rare old style paper we have found that this is a world wide issue.
During our meticulous preparation of materials my Stoker family first UK edition, the one we are reproducing had to go in for repairs. Although it might sound like a standard milage check up on a car, it is far from that. Over the past 100 years the spine of the book has suffered some tears, and the glue that holds the pages to the spine has deteriorated. I have been on the hunt for an antique book binder who is willing a capable of restoring our family relic properly and at an affordable price.
Each time I loan the book to a museum for an exhibition I am given a loaner fee, I put that money into a savings account for this exact purpose. I had finally accumulated enough money and have found a willing and capable antique book restorer at the Charleston Library Society in Charleston, South Carolina. He agreed to fit me in his small window to work on my book, knowing that we needed the book for reference during this Kickstarter Frist Edition Project. I simply had to jump at this opportunity, the book desperately needed repairs, and sine 2022 is the 125th anniversary of the printing of Dracula, I need to have the book ready to go for a few special appearances in addition to our replication. This process has been completed albeit it leaving us behind our timing to finish this project.
The good news is that the special paper has now arrived so we can get back to work on the printing and aging process. We now anticipate getting these First Editions out to you in time for for 125th anniversary of the original publication of Dracula on May 26 2022. It will be tight, we are going to pull out all stops without sacrificing quality.
Apologies all round for us not delivering your First Edition Dracula on our original schedule.
I offer up, in the way of my sincere apology, some rare insight that I have uncovered pertaining to Bram Stoker’s research and writing of Dracula. This should wet your appetite for your copy (s) of Dracula.
We may never find out exactly what was included in the 101 missing pages of the Dracula Typescript (it starts on page 102) but after careful analysis of Bram’s notes for Dracula, the Dracula Typescript, and various other sources I am convinced that these were in some form part of Bram’s original story:
- Count Dracula was originally planned to land in Dover before Bram changed the location to Whitby in Yorkshire.
- Bram referred to the mental patient as “Flyman” until he settled on Renfield, possible naming him after Renfield street in Glasgow Scotland. This was the name of the street next to the railway station, and the hotel where Bram and Henry Irving frequented while in town to perform at the Theatre Royal.
- In addition to finding evidence that Dracula’s Guest was once part of the story, Jonathan Harker had a horrifying incident in the Munich Dead House (morgue). He also attended, while in Munich, en route to Transylvania, the opera Vanderdecker the legend of the ghost ship, The Flying Dutchman, possible some foreshadowing of the voyage of the Demeter.
- I am convinced that Henry Irving playing the role of Mephistopheles in the play Faust gave Bram a strong visual reference to a Devil creature for his Count Dracula. I found this reference crossed out of the text on the Dracula typescript illustrating that Bram did indeed visualize Irving in this role as his Count Dracula. “Even then at that awful moment with such a tragedy before my eyes, the figure of Mephistopheles in the Opera cowering before Margaret’s lifted cross swam up before man and, for an instant, I wondered if I were mad.”
- Bram’s brother Sir William Thornley Stoker was a famous doctor, head of the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. He assisted Bram in getting the medical parts of Dracula Here is one of his notes written by hand in the margin of the Dracula Typescript: “As transfusion is performed usually, the blood drawn from one person, and defibrinated before being injected into the other.” This was inserted in the section where Van Helsing and Dr Seward perform the first blood transfusion to try to save Lucy.
- An Irish researcher recently found evidence that Bram Stoker spent time interviewing “prisoners” in a London jail who were placed there not because of any crime they committed, but because of their mental challenges. I think this was one way Bram prepared to characterize RM Renfield.
- Bram met Arminius Vambery, who is mentioned in Chapter 18, at a dinner party in the Beefsteak Room of the Lyceum Theatre in April 1890. He is considered a source of information about Eastern European history and more specifically Vlad Dracula lll.
- Bram’s son Noel Stoker told biographer Harry Ludlam that his father wrote the early chapters of Dracula while on summer holiday while visiting Cruden Bay Scotland the location of Slains Castle
Gemini Artifacts: First Editions is proud to present our first in a series of releases, DRACULA by Bram Stoker. Both the United Kingdom and United States editions are available. These incredible reproductions are as close as possible to the originals. Based on photographs as well as hands on examination of an authentic edition, We have succeeded in recreating the look, feel and even smell of this classic masterpiece.
The two books available are the 1897 First Edition from the UK and the 1899 First Edition from the USA. Each offering has been meticulously recreated using the finest techniques and materials. Both are available in a non-aged Virgin variant.
The 1897 UK edition was modeled after Dacre Stokers personal family copy. This edition was given to Charlotte Stoker by Bram Stoker days before the Dracula release date. Inscribed on its end-sheet are signatures by Bram Stoker and its decedents. Pictures and measurements were taken. This edition is the model for our reproduction.
An artist was hired to redraw both covers to give the cleanest image possible. Both editions are antiqued with foxing throughout to represent the look of the original volumes.
Each book goes through a multi-step antiquing process that gives the amazing look of age, but without the warped pages some unrefined methods may produce.
Finishing touches include a touch of scent as well as simulated dust that produces a puff when the book is closed. No detail has been overlooked.
This is a pre order item and hand crafted. There is quite a long wait time for this item. Please be aware of a possible 6 month to year long wait before ordering this item.