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Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula

Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula

by Bram Stoker

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The first-ever translation into English of a newly discovered Icelandic adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic gothic novel, Dracula"With the discovery of its vast differences from Dracula, [Powers of Darkness] will have a lasting effect on the world of vampire studies."
—John Williams,The New York Times Book ReviewPowers of Darkness is an incredible


The first-ever translation into English of a newly discovered Icelandic adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic gothic novel, Dracula"With the discovery of its vast differences from Dracula, [Powers of Darkness] will have a lasting effect on the world of vampire studies."
—John Williams,The New York Times Book ReviewPowers of Darkness is an incredible literary discovery: In 1900, Icelandic publisher and writer Valdimar Ásmundsson set out to translate Bram Stoker’s world-famous 1897 novel Dracula. Called Makt Myrkranna (literally, “Powers of Darkness”), this Icelandic edition included an original preface written by Stoker himself. Makt Myrkranna was published in Iceland in 1901 but remained undiscovered outside of the country until 1986, when Dracula scholarship was astonished by the discovery of Stoker’s preface to the book. However, no one looked beyond the preface and deeper into Ásmundsson’s story.In 2014, literary researcher Hans de Roos dove into the full text of Makt Myrkranna, only to discover that Ásmundsson hadn’t merely translated Dracula but had penned an entirely new version of the story, with all new characters and a totally re-worked plot. The resulting narrative is one that is shorter, punchier, more erotic, and perhaps even more suspenseful than Stoker’s Dracula. Incredibly, Makt Myrkranna has never been translated or even read outside of Iceland until now.Powers of Darkness presents the first ever translation into English of Stoker and Ásmundsson’s Makt Myrkranna. With marginal annotations by de Roos providing readers with fascinating historical, cultural, and literary context; a foreword by Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew and bestselling author; and an afterword by Dracula scholar John Edgar Browning, Powers of Darkness will amaze and entertain legions of fans of Gothic literature, horror, and vampire fiction.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
First published in Iceland in 1901 under the title Makt Myrkranna (“Powers of Darkness”) but not discovered by English-speaking Dracula scholars until 1986, this early translation of Bram Stoker’s landmark vampire novel, retranslated into English for the first time, provides an illuminating look at an act of literary interpretation. Icelandic translator Valdimar Ásmundsson was faithful to the basic plot of Stoker’s story, but he took some liberties with its telling, including adding in new characters, having Dracula scheme with the world’s power elite to enslave the masses, and describing in lurid detail a bloody bacchanal involving the vampire and his cultists in the crypts beneath Castle Dracula. Noting that the Icelandic version features a preface by Stoker and some plot elements that Stoker mentioned in his story notes but later rejected, English translator de Roos speculates that Ásmundsson may have been working with an early draft of the novel. De Roos’s abundant annotations are insightful, and the translation, although pulpier than Stoker’s original, is a fascinating gloss on a literary classic. (Dec.)
Dacre Stoker
“The resurrection ofMakt Myrkranna(Powers of Darkness) illustrates another example of Dracula's immortality.”
San Francisco Book Review
“Powers of Darknessis a completely new look at this classic text that fans of the book and genre won’t want to miss.”
Toni V. Sweeney - The New York Journal of Books
“Powers of Darknessis an entertaining story and during the read, it is easy to forget what it’s supposed to be—a translation—and think of it as an entirely new novel . . . to quote from the original: ‘There are mysteries men can only guess at, which age by age they may solve only in part.’Powers of Darkness does exactly that, while offering new mysteries in their place.”
Library Journal
This work, originally believed to be an Icelandic translation of Stoker's 1897 novel, Dracula, is actually a different version of the story by Ásmundsson (1852–1902), who edited the Lady of the Mountains literary journal. It was largely unnoticed until 1986 when Dracula scholars found Stoker's preface to the Icelandic work. In 2014, translator de Roos (The Ultimate Dracula) realized that it was a retelling. A preface by Stoker indicates that he was aware and approved of Ásmundsson's 1901 work. In a foreword, Stoker's great-grand-nephew Dacre Stoker writes that he believes his uncle orchestrated the differences between his original version and the Icelandic one, which is shorter, more forceful, and more erotic since it was not subject to English censorship laws. In the Icelandic version, the account of Harker's stay in Transylvania is expanded, the epistolary format is dropped in Part II, there are new plot elements while others are omitted, and the style is altered. This volume includes extensive annotations, a floor plan of Dracula's castle, an introduction by the translator, Stoker's original preface. VERDICT This thoroughly documented work is recommended for Dracula scholars, but general readers of horror will also enjoy the story.—Denise J. Stankovics, Vernon, CT

Product Details

The Overlook Press
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7.70(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

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Meet the Author

Hans Corneel de Roos is an independent researcher specializing in French and British Art of the second half of the 19th Century. He is author of The Ultimate Dracula and numerous other articles on Dracula. He is a recipient of the Research Award of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula.

Bram Stoker (1847-1912), an Irish novelist and short story writer, was known during his lifetime as the personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned, but is best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula.

Vladimar Ásmundsson (1852-1902) was the founder and editor of the Icelandic literary journal, Lady of the Mountains.

Dacre Stoker is a Canadian-American writer, athlete, and filmmaker. He is the author of Dracula: The Un-Dead, and is the great-grand-nephew of Bram Stoker. He lives in South Carolina with his family.

John Edgar Browning is a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is author or editor eleven academic and popular trade books and more than 50 articles, book chapters, and reviews on subjects that cluster around horror, the undead, Bram Stoker, and the Gothic. He has also been a guest on National Geographic's Taboo USA and The Discovery Channel's William Shatner's Weird or What? to discuss vampires.

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