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Even in the twenty-first century, the undead walk among us... Before Twilight and True Blood, vampires haunted the nineteenth century, when brilliant writers indulged their bloodthirsty imaginations, culminating in Bram Stoker's legendary 1897 novel, Dracula. Acclaimed author and anthologist Michael Sims brings together the finest vampire stories of the Victorian era in a unique collection that highlights their cultural variety. Beginning with the supposedly true accounts that captivated Byron and Shelley, the stories range from Aleksei Tolstoy's tale of a vampire family to Fitz James O'Brien's invisible monster to Mary Elizabeth Braddon's rich and sinister widow, Good Lady Ducayne. Sims also includes a nineteenth-century travel tour of Transylvanian superstitions, and finishes the collection with Stoker's own Dracula's Guest - a chapter omitted from his landmark novel. Vampires captivated Victorian society, and these wonderful stories demonstrate how Romantic and Victorian writers refined the raw ore of peasant superstition into a whole vampire mythology of aristocratic decadence and innocence betrayed.
Although Bram Stoker is best known for his world-famous novel Dracula, he also wrote many shorter works on the strange and the macabre. This collection, comprising Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories, a volume of spine-chilling short stories collected and published by Stoker's widow after his death, and The Lair of the White Worm, an intensely intriguing novel of myths, legends and unspeakable evil, demonstrate the full range of his horror writing. From the petrifying open tomb in 'Dracula's Guest' to the mental breakdown depicted in 'The Judge's House' and 'Crooken Sands', these terrifying tales of the uncanny explore the boundaries between life and death, known and unknown, animal and human, dream and reality.
"Dracula's Guest" follows an Englishman (whose name is never mentioned but is presumed to be Jonathan Harker) on a visit to Munich before leaving for Transylvania. It is Walpurgis Night, and in spite of the hotelier's warning to not be late back, the young man later leaves his carriage and wanders toward the direction of an abandoned "unholy" village. As the carriage departs with the frightened and superstitious driver, a tall and thin stranger scares the horses at the crest of a hill. Upon reaching a desolate valley after a few hours, it begins to snow and as a dark storm gathers intensity, the Englishman takes shelter in a grove of cypress and yew trees. The Englishman's location is soon illuminated by moonlight to be a cemetery, and he finds himself before a marble tomb with a large iron stake driven through the roof, the inscription reads: Countess Dolingen of Gratz / in Styria / sought and found death / 1801. Inscribed on the back of the tomb "graven in great Russian letters" is: The dead travel fast. The Englishman is disturbed to be in such a place on such a night and as the storm breaks anew, he is forced by hail to shelter in the doorway of the tomb. As the Englishman avoids the pelting hail, the bronze door of the tomb opens under his weight and a flash of forked lightning shows the interior - and a "beautiful woman with rounded cheeks and red lips, seemingly sleeping on a bier". The force of the following thunder peal throws the Englishman from the doorway (experienced as "being grasped as by the hand of a giant") as another lightning bolt strikes the iron spike, destroying the tomb and the now screaming woman inside.
Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories is a collection of short stories by Bram Stoker, first published in 1914, two years after Stoker's death.The same collection has been issued under short titles including simply Dracula's Guest. Meanwhile collections published under Dracula's Guest and longer titles contain different selections of stories.
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Bram Stoker's most famous work, Dracula tells the story of Jonathan Harker and his beloved Mina as Jonathan goes to finalize a land deal with the brooding Count Dracula. Dracula makes his way to London and turns Mina's friend Lucy into one of the Undead as well as Mina herself. Jonathan then races to Transylvania to save his beloved wife, but will he arrive in time?

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