Anyone who is anyone online has kept up to date with the daily diary entries of English lawyer Jonathan Harker – also known as one of the main characters in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. On Tumblr in particular, posts about the classic novel have started to take over the platform. While it may seem odd that huge swathes of Tumblr users have declared the classic novel their new obsession, there’s actually a pretty simple explanation for the phenomenon: Dracula Daily.
What is Dracula Daily?
Dracula Daily is a newsletter from web developer Matt Kirkland, who delivers the classic 1897 novel Dracula to your inbox – but with a twist. Bram Stoker’s book is written in letter format, using letters, diary entries and newspaper articles. The events of the story take place between May and November, and Kirkland “will publish a newsletter each day where something happens to the characters, in the same timeline as it happens to them.”
The newsletter actually was first launched last year, but Kirkland decided to do it again this year because, well, why not? It began on May 3rd – the day lawyer Jonathan Harker begins his travel diary in which he reports on his business trip to Transylvania – and ends on November 7th. Some days have no entries, while other days have multiple chapters. (Here’s a handy guide on when the emails are coming if you were curious).
It’s not a modern adaptation like The Diaries of Lizzie Bennet or indeed any sort of adaptation with the count, such as Castlevania. Since the newsletter is day-to-day, it is also not a one-to-one interpretation of the novel, jumping back and forth in time. For the most part though Dracula daily is simply the text of Dracula delivered in bite-sized (ha) pieces. It’s not the first edition of this newsletter, but this time various online communities – notably on Tumblr – have decided to do so Dracula back to life (haha).
The internet gives people a taste (ha ha ha). Dracula. It’s like a giant book club except with a more generous time to finish your page count. Dracula Daily, in particular, has found a particularly large audience on Tumblr: Despite launching on May 3, the newsletter managed to beat pop culture hits Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, moon knightand The Owl House (second only to the Met Gala), according to Tumblr’s Fandometrics tracker.
One day, users logged on and found that everyone they were following was suddenly posting something Dracula. Some didn’t even know it was thanks to a newsletter and just assumed Tumblr users had decided to latch on to an old book. Finding out about the newsletter, however, convinced people to sign up — which only led to more posts.
And when people online get interested in something, memes are sure to follow—from fan art to comics and more. Ever since the first Dracula Daily posts focused on Jonathan, there have been many posts about how nice it is to get an email from her pal Jonathan Harker while on a business trip.
There’s just something particularly funny about seeing a classic novel like this Dracula back to the zeitgeist. Unlike classics like pride and prejudice or Who the hour strikes, You may be familiar with Dracula the character even without being familiar with the novel’s storylines. (The closest equivalent is probably Frankensteinwhere people surely know Frankenstein’s monster even if they haven’t read the book.)
With this in mind, certain parts of the novel become hilarious in the context of the time. In 2022 we all know who Dracula is, but luckily in 1897 poor Jonathan Harker doesn’t know why a peasant woman tried to give him a crucifix.
But it’s not just memes and silliness. Some people also use this as an opportunity to examine the classic text from a more scholarly point of view, whether to offer historical context or to unpack some of the elements that haven’t aged well.
Dracula Daily still has many months to go, so only time will tell if the excitement lasts. If you’re interested in joining Tumblr’s hot new book club, you can still subscribe to the newsletter. the emails already sent are available on the substack page if you want to catch up.
https://www.polygon.com/23063882/dracula-daily-tumblr-memes Dracula Daily is Tumblr’s hottest new book club