Powers of Darkness (Sweden)

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Powers of Darkness (Swedish Mörkrets makter) is a 2017 Swedish book based upon the serialization of Dracula by Bram Stoker in the Swedish newspaper Dagen in 1899-1900 that was upon an early draft of Dracula that differs significantly from the original..[1]


On 26 May 1897, Dracula by Bram Stoker was published in London. The first translation of Dracula was into Hungarian in 1898 by the writer Jenő Rákosi, who published an abridged 79 page version of Dracula in a Budapest newspaper, and later that year a full translation as a novel.[2]. Between 10 June 1899 to 7 February 1900 Dracula was serialized in a Swedish newspaper Dagen (The Day) under the title Mörkrets makter (Powers of Darkness).[1] Between 16 August 1899-31 March 1900, Dracula was also serialized in the tabloid Aftonbladets Halfvecko-Upplaga (Evening Paper Half-Weekly) again under the same title.[3] Dagen, the sister paper Aftonbladet, and the Aftonbladets Halfvecko-Upplaga were owned by the same publishing company with the same editor, Harald Sohlman; Dagen was a daily Stockholm newspaper while Aftonbladets Halfvecko-Upplaga was a tabloid published twice a week for rural areas.[1] The translation of Dracula into Swedish is credited only to the mysterious “A–e”.[4] The Swedish version includes scenes found in neither Dracula nor Makt Myrkranna.[4] In the Swedish version, Dracula is called Draculitz.[1] Mörkrets makter was twice the length of Dracula as Stoker's novel had 830,000 characters while Mörkrets makter had 1,625,800 characters.[1]

Mörkrets makter was not a success, and as a result, the plans to turn the serialization into a book were shelved.[1] Because of the failure of the version of Mörkrets makter published in Dagen, the Aftonbladets version was cut short after the part covering Hawker's stay in Castle Dracula with the rest of the story being presented in an outline form, as Sohlman wanted the space in the newspaper set aside for other, hopefully more profitable serializations.[1] The Icelandic version of Dracula was based upon the Aftonbladets Halfvecko-Upplaga version.[5] The Dutch scholar Hans Corneel de Roos in March 2017 argued that "A-e" was a pseudonym for Sohlman, suggesting A-e stood for Aftonbladets editor.[6] The Swedish scholar Rickard Berghorn objected that this could not be the case as the Swedish word for editor is redaktör.[1] De Roos now believes that "A-e" was the journalist and novelist Anders Albert Andersson-Edenberg, based upon stylistic similarities between his writings and Mörkrets makter.[7] De Roos also believes that the preface to Mörkrets makter was plagiarized from the memoirs written by a Lutheran pastor, Bernhard Wadstörm.[8] Berghorn wrote in that in opinion de Roos's evidence for identifying "A-e" with Andersson-Edenberg was weak, as he charged that the fact that Andersson-Edenberg once wrote a novel featuring ancient castle doors while Caste Dracula in Mörkrets makter has ancient castle doors was not convincing enough evidence.[1]

Literacy analysis[edit]

More evidence that the Mörkrets makter serialization was based upon an abandoned early draft of Dracula came be from the connections with the short story Dracula's Guest, which was originally a chapter from Dracula that was removed from the final draft and appeared as a posthumous short story in 1914.[1] The mysterious blond female vampire, the Countess Dolingen of Gratz, that tempts the unnamed Englishman (who is evidently meant to be Harker) in the Bavarian countryside closely resembled the description of Josephine in Mörkrets makter/Makt myrkranna.[1] Berghorn further points out that the ornate, flowery style of Dracula's Guest resembled more closely the style of Mörkrets makter than Dracula.[1] The chapter Dracula's Guest was written in 1892, which given the stylistic similarities with Mörkrets makter would suggest that the latter was based upon an early draft written in the early 1890s, which Stoker provided to the mysterious Swedish translator "A-e".[1] Beghhorn also noted in Dracula, the leader of the three Brides of Dracula is the blonde one, who also closely resembled Josephine, which he used to argue that Stoker originally intended Josephine to be the Countess before demoting her down in the final draft to one of the three nameless Brides of Dracula.[1] As to how an early draft of Dracula ended up in Sweden, Beghorn stated that was a "very strong working hypothesis" that the writer Anne Charlotte Leffler and her mathematician brother Gösta Mittag-Leffler, both of whom were friends of the Stoker family, had "something to do with it".[1]

Bloom noted that the Dracula of Makt Myrkranna is more closely associated with the East End of London than he is in Dracula, which he argued was meant to link him to Jack the Ripper, and to the idea that the East End was a "wild frontier" region of Britain.[9] In the Victorian era, the East End was a center of poverty, disease and crime, especially prostitution.[10] There were about 80, 000 prostitutes working in the East End. Child prostitution was especially common with girls as young as 10 working as prostitutes.[11] The 1885 article "Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon" by W.T. Stead about child prostitution in London had an enormous impact on public opinion at the time with over a million and half unauthorised copies of the article circulating.[12] Stead's article with its account of "gentlemen" buying underage prostitutes popularised the image of the sexually predatory upper class male. Given the preexisting popular image of the East End as a place of crime and sexual depravity, the "Jack the Ripper" murders of 1888 with five prostitutes gruesomely murdered caught the public's imagination as a symbol of "sexual danger" associated with London and above all the East End.[13] The American historian Judith Walkowitz identified Dracula as one of the many books inspired by the Jack the Ripper murders, which featured a sexually depraved upper-class man as the villain, often tinged with xenophobia as it was implied that only a foreigner was capable of sinking to these depths.[14] The condition of the East End received much media attention in the late Victorian era with one of the main themes being the "degeneration of the Londoner" as newspapers catering to a middle class readership painted a vivid picture of sturdy, honest, hard-working rural folk moving to the East End and promptly "degenerating" into a sickly lifestyle of amorality, criminality and violence.[15] The British historian Gareth Stedman Jones wrote that the "degeneration of the Londoner" thesis was "...not an adequate explanation of London poverty, but rather a mental landscape within which the middle class could recognise and articulate their own anxieties about urban existence".[16] In fact, the East End was an early victim of deindustrialisation as by the 1880s, most of the industries that once employed the locals such as ship-building, sugar processing and textiles had shut down, turning the area into an economic wasteland.[17] Most immigrants to Britain settled in the impoverished East End, which was regarded in Victorian times as a place that was both dangerous and not entirely British.[9] In the Victorian era, the East End had a very large Irish population together with immigrants from all over Europe, many of whom were Ashkenazim (Yiddish-speaking Jews from Eastern Europe).[18] The Ashkenazim settled in the East End as there were willing to work in the textile industry for lower wages than native born British workers, thus keeping the East End textile industry alive to a certain extent, through their arrival prompted much resentment at the time.[17] Additionally, the East End had numerous immigrants from the West Indies, India and China, making the area very "foreign" to most British people.

Stoker seems to have originally envisioned Dracula when he started writing his novel as engaging in a brutal killing spree in the East End, very much like the five murders perpetuated by Jack the Ripper between August-November 1888, which does occur in Makt Myrkranna as Dracula boasts of the "this blood that runs-runs and flows" as he kills various prostitutes in the East End.[19] At a time when the popular image of the East End was of a sinister, crime-ridden area full with its dangerous, dark, fog-clouded streets, Dracula uses the fog at night to engage in his killings.[20] Bloom noted that the popular descriptions of the exotic "Oriental" Ashkenazi Jewish prostitutes from Eastern Europe, whose "voluptuousness" and dark looks made them popular with johns on the East End, matched the descriptions of Dracula's female followers in both Makt Myrkranna and Dracula.[9] Bloom further argued that the description of the eroticism of Lucy after she is turned into a vampire by Dracula in both Dracula and even more so in Makt Myrkranna closely resembled the descriptions of the eroticism of the stereotype of the exotic "Oriental" Jewish prostitute found in contemporary Victorian accounts.[18] Bloom argued that the way in which Makt Myrkranna echoed British fears and fascination with the "frontier" of the East End supports the "first draft theory" as it was unlikely that an Icelander like Ásmundsson would had been as interested in the East End as was Stoker.[18]

One of the main themes of Mörkrets makter is the picture of Dracula as a proto-fascist who at one point tells Harker that world-wide vampire supremacy is justified because vampires are the "master race", the superior species destined to rule the world as humanity is the weaker species.[1] The völkisch movement had emerged as a major force in Germany by the 1890s and already some of the völkisch leaders were advocating killing the mentally and physically disabled as their very existence threatened the purity of the herrnvolk ("master race"). Putting such Social Darwinist and racist language into the mouth of Dracula was a way of caricaturing the popularity of Social Darwinism with elites in both Europe and the United States in the 1890s.[1] Before he goes insane, Dr. Seward thinks after reading a newspaper about the state of the world:

"By the way, the telegram section of the newspaper announces several strange news – lunatic behavior and deadly riots, organized by anti-Semites, in both Russia and Galicia as well as southern France – plundered stores, slain people – general insecurity of life and property – and the most fabulous tall tales about "ritual murders," abducted children and other unspeakable crimes, all of which is ascribed in earnestness to the poor Jews, while influential newspapers are instigating an all-encompassing extermination war against the "Israelites." You would think this is in the midst of the Dark Ages!...Now, once again, it seems that a so-called "Orlean" conspiracy is tracked down – while at the same time the free Republicans in France are celebrating with exaltation the exponent of slavery and despotism in the East...It is a strange time in which we live, that is sure and true.---Sometimes it seems to me as if all the insane fantasies, all the crazy ideas, the whole world of crazed and scattered notions, into which I, as a madhouse doctor, for years have been forced to enter in the care of my poor patients, now begin to take shape and form and gain practice in the course of the world's major events and tendency".[1]

Passages such as this reflect the widespread mood of pessimism in fin de siècle Europe as the 19th century closed and the 20th century began, as many in Europe believed that civilization was rotten to the core, and all that was left for European civilization now was the apocalypse.[1]

Beghhorn wrote that "A-e" changed the parts of Dracula as he or she translated it into Swedish.[1] He noted that in the Swedish version the main characters are called Thomas Harker, Wilma Murray, Lucy Western and Count Draculitz while in Stoker's notes written between 1890-92, these characters are already referred to as Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray, Lucy Westenra and Count Dracula.[1] Berghorn noted that in the account of the black mass and human sacrifice performed by Draculitz in Mörkrets makter, the scene is described as being lit by flames similar to the flicking lights of a cinematograph, the first film projector that was not invented until 1895 and not used commercially until 1896.[1] On chronological grounds, Berghorn felt that the reference to a cinematograph was added in by "A-e" rather being based upon an early draft by Stoker from the early 1890s.[1] Along the same lines, Berghorn that several topical political references in Mörkrets makter such as the anti-Semitic riots in France caused by the Dreyfus affair; the Franco-Russian alliance, which was signed in 1894; and the 1898 "Orlean" conspiracy" for a royalist coup de etat in France must have been the work of "A-e".[1] But Berghorn wrote that other aspects of Mörkrets makter were almost certainly due to Stoker as the highly favorable references to William Ewert Gladstone, who was Stoker's political hero.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Berghorn, Rickard (December 2017). "Dracula's Way to Sweden". Weird Webzine. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  2. ^ Crișan 2017, p. 4.
  3. ^ De Roos 2017, p. 113-114.
  4. ^ a b Ísberg, Frída (5 April 2017). "Dracula In Iceland". Time Literacy Supplement. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  5. ^ De Roos 2017, p. 113.
  6. ^ Berghorn, Rickard (2017). "Dracula's Way to Sweden". Weird Webzine. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  7. ^ De Roos, Hans Corneel (26 March 2018). "The First Author to Adapt Dracula? An Exclusive Report". Vamped. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  8. ^ De Roos, Hans Corneel (26 May 2016). "Was the Preface to the Swedish Dracula Written by a Priest?". Vamped. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  9. ^ a b c Bloom 2017, p. 123-124.
  10. ^ Walkowitz 1992, p. 193.
  11. ^ Walkowitz 1992, p. 81-83.
  12. ^ Walkowitz 1992, p. 11.
  13. ^ Walkowitz 1992, p. 2-3.
  14. ^ Walowitz 1992, p. 131.
  15. ^ Stedman Jones 1971, p. 149-150.
  16. ^ Stedman Jones 1971, p. 151.
  17. ^ a b Stedman Jones 1971, p. 154.
  18. ^ a b c Bloom 2017, p. 124.
  19. ^ Bloom 2017, p. 127.
  20. ^ Bloom 2017, p. 134.

Articles and books[edit]

  • Berni, Simone Dracula by Bram Stoker The Mystery of The Early Editions, Morrisville: Lulu, 2016, ISBN 1326621793.
  • Bloom, Clive "Dracula and the Psychic World of the East End of London" pages 119-139 from Dracula: An International Perspective, New York: Springer, 2017, ISBN 9783319633664.
  • Crișan, Marius-Mircea ""Welcome to My House: Enter Freely of your own will": Dracula in International Contexts" pages 1-21 from Dracula: An International Perspective, New York: Springer, 2017, ISBN 9783319633664.
  • De Roos, Hans Corneel "Count Dracula's Address and Lifetime Identity" pages 95-118 from Dracula: An International Perspective, New York: Springer, 2017, ISBN 9783319633664.
  • Skal, David Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula, New York: Liveright, 2016, ISBN 1631490109.