So right now I have a just-arrived copy of The New Annotated Dracula, edited by Leslie Klinger, who also annotated my beloved three-volume Sherlock Holmes set. How I did not own this before now, I do not know. It's also like readng the book again for the first time, particularly since there seem to be at least two different published versions (an original and an abridged, but I swear to you, the illustrated edition I have seems to be somewhere between the two) as well as additions from Stoker's notes and the original manuscript. My only problem with Klinger's annotations is that he likes to play along with the game that both Sherlock Holmes and Dracula were real (seriously, a lot of Holmesians are WAY into this), which is fun and all, but you can end up spending a lot of time trying to reconcile discrepancies by going through all these "theories" about how Watson did or did not have two wives/war wounds/middle names, or whether Stoker disguised details from "The Harker Papers" or if Jonathan Harker himself fabricated long swaths of it entirely--which is great if you're interested from only a reader's point of view, but not so great if you're also interested from a writer's. Some of it I just want to dispose of with a cry of HE DIDN'T CARE, OKAY? ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE JUST REALLY DID NOT SERIOUSLY CARE ABOUT SOME OF THIS STUFF, FOR REAL, HE SAYS IN ONE PARAGRAPH THAT IT'S JULY AND TWO PAGES LATER THAT SAME NIGHT IT'S SEPTEMBER, APPARENTLY WE DID NOT INVENT THE CONTINUITY EDITOR UNTIL THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, PEOPLE ARE REALLY JUST GOING TO HAVE TO LET THIS GO. I mean, sometimes it's kind of fun, the way critics and commentators try to reconcile some of these things, but honestly: the moon is full on three different days in the same month because Stoker needs moonlight, and he's not paying attention. People, it happens to the best of us--or, in the case of Van Helsing, which does the same damn thing, the worst of us. And there's material that got taken out and reshaped into the short story "Dracula's Guest," but little loose ends are left in the Jonathan Harker section; Stoker had minor characters in his notes that didn't make it into the finished version, like a friend of Lucy and Mina's named Kate, and you can see vestigial references to her. As a writer, I'd be more interested in discussing why he decided to make those changes, maybe look at some correspondence on the subject if any letters are extant, than trying to argue why "Jonathan Harker" would have tried to cover up a previous encounter with the blonde vampire. Basically, what I'm saying is, there are so many careless "discrepancies" in both works that it just becomes frustrating to try--and inevitably fail--to "reconcile" them, and I'd rather spend that time discussing the work from a literary standpoint than a conspiracy angle. But then, a lot of people do have fun with it. I'm just saying, my preference would be the other approach. Klinger's annotations are awesome in every other way, so I do recommend them.
(It takes a while to scan back and forth between text and footnotes, though--sometimes there are pages of [fun! interesting!] footnotes and you have to flip back to the text. So even though I started reading last night, I'm only now at Whitby, just as Lucy starts to fall ill. Which was always my favorite part, oddly enough.)
As a segue, guess who wrote the introduction? Neil Gaiman! Who will be reading at the University of Alabama (about an hour away from me, in Tuscaloosa) on February 18th. I do believe I will try to go.
I still have that really good linkspam, but I keep being too tired to actually organize it. Perhaps I should look into hanging garlic by my windows.
To conclude: Fig. 1: My plum chenille arm warmer(s) from Sock Dreams (now back in stock! I had previously bought the last pair, sorry). Fig. 2: I am apparently a sparklepire, or at least a half-vamp mutant hybrid, because I glow in direct sunlight.