Anyone anyone online has kept the daily journal entries of English lawyer Jonathan Harker – aka one of the main characters in Bram Stoker’s Dracula† On Tumblr in particular, posts about the classic novel are starting to take over the platform. While it may seem strange that large groups of Tumblr users have declared the classic novel their new obsession, there is actually a fairly simple explanation for the phenomenon: Dracula Daily.
What is Dracula Daily?
Dracula Daily is a newsletter from web developer Matt Kirkland, delivering the classic 1897 novel Dracula to your inbox – but with a twist. Bram Stoker’s book is written in letter form, through letters, diary entries and newspaper articles. The events of the story take place between May and November, and Kirkland “will post a newsletter every day that something is happening to the characters, in the same timeline as it happens to them.”
the newsletter actually first launched last year, but Kirkland decided to repeat it again this year, because why not? It started on May 3 – the day lawyer Jonathan Harker starts his travel diary by recounting his business trip to Transylvania – and will end on November 7. Some days will have no entries, while some days will have multiple chapters. (Here’s a handy guide to when the emails will come, if you were curious).
It’s not a modern adaptation like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries or even some sort of adaptation with the graph, such as: Castlevania† Also, because the newsletter goes from day to day, it’s not a one-on-one interpretation of the novel, jumping back and forth in time. For the most part though Dracula Daily is just the text of Dracula delivered in bite-sized chunks (ha). It’s not the first edition of this newsletter, but this time around, several online communities — particularly on Tumblr — have decided to Dracula back to life (haha).
Via the internet people get a taste (ha ha ha) of Dracula† It’s like a giant book club except with a more generous time to finish your page count. In particular, Dracula Daily has found a particularly large audience on Tumblr: Despite launching on May 3, the newsletter managed to bring pop culture heavyweights such as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness† Moon Knightand The owl house (only comes second after the Met Gala), according to Tumblr’s Fandometrics tracker.
One day, users logged in and found that everyone they followed was suddenly posting about Dracula† Some didn’t even know this was due to a newsletter, and just assumed Tumblr users decided to hold onto an old book. However, finding the newsletter convinced people to sign up – which only resulted in more posts.
And if people on the internet like something, memes are sure to follow – from fan art to comics and more. Since Dracula Daily’s first few full-length articles focused on Jonathan, there have been many reports of how nice it is to get an email from their friend Jonathan Harker on his business trip.
There’s just something particularly funny about seeing a classic novel like: Dracula back in the zeitgeist. Unlike classics like Pride and Prejudice or For whom the bell tolls, you can be familiar with Dracula, the character, even without being familiar with the plot points of the novel. (The closest equivalent is probably Frankensteinwhere people definitely know Frankenstein’s monster, even if they haven’t read the book.)
With that in mind, certain parts of the novel become hilarious with the context of the times. In 2022, we all know who Dracula is, but in 1897, poor Jonathan Harker can’t remember why a peasant woman tried to give him a crucifix.
But it’s not all memes and craziness. Some people also use this as an opportunity to examine the classical text from a more scholarly point of view, whether it be to provide historical context or extract some of the elements that have not been properly aged.
There are still many months to go for Dracula Daily, so only time will tell if the excitement will last. If you’re interested in joining Tumblr’s new book club, you can still subscribe to the newsletter; the emails that have already been sent are available on the Substack page, if you want to catch up.