Telegraph for Garlic‘Telegraph For Garlic’ is a collection of original academic analysis of the novel ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker. Topics range from blood and text as a metaphor, Dracula and politics, resurrection, technological transcription,supernatural identity and madness. Also includes as extras, essays on ‘I Am Legend’, ‘Buffy’ and ‘Fright Night’. ‘Telegraph for Garlic’ is available to buy here.

The title of this book, ‘Telegraph For Garlic’, is a tribute to the determination, foresight and fortitude of Professor Van Helsing.  He admonishes Lucy for thinking that he is playing a trick on her by putting garlic in her room.  The Professor explains to Lucy, ‘I had to telegraph yesterday, or they would not have been here.’ Unfortunately, the prompt arrival of the garlic was not enough to save poor Lucy.

The contributors to ‘Telegraph for Garlic’ are based in both the UK and France, and their analysis is focussed on the novel by Stoker. Their interests include the philosophical and social – madness, religion, superstition and politics – , the personal – the misunderstood nature of Lucy Westenra – and the specific and technical – text and blood as a metaphor and the relationship of technology to supernatural identity.

The essays by the contributors are for students and general readers.

Also included in the book are extracts from the original novel by Bram Stoker, and his short story, ‘Dracula’s Guest’.  The extracts emphasise some of the points made in the essays in ‘Dracula And The Academics’.  They also highlight what are effective and interesting elements within the book by Stoker and provide some idea of the various voices that Stoker used to draft his novel.


A Telegraph For Garlic Taster

The Birth Of A New Metaphor

When Jonathan visits Count Dracula the vampire has been un-dead for more than four centuries. Since he became a vampire, he has lost his place in the circle of the living.  Nonetheless, he needs not to die. His struggle to keep this half-way position between the living and the dead is rendered manifest by the way he nourishes his body to stay alive and by the way he keeps his general knowledge and mastery of language to communicate with humans and eventually keep his power over them.

On arriving at Dracula’s castle, Jonathan Harker is struck by the peculiar character he meets in the person of the Count.  Harker notes what exotic or notable features he finds there. He remarks that Dracula possesses a vast library and that he is extraordinarily well-read: ‘In the library I found, to my great delight, a vast number of English books, whole shelves full of them, and bound volumes of magazines and newspapers.’ (30). The many books he has in his library are signs of the Count’s wealth and of his privilege to read much and build knowledge. Dracula is now in a world that he cannot conquer without knowing it and this implies being well read. ‘These companions,’ and he laid his hand on some of the books, ‘have been good friends to me, and for some years past, ever since I had the idea of going to London, have given me many, many hours of pleasure.’ (31). This part of the narrative is described through Jonathan’s eyes while he is still unaware that Dracula has been a vampire for centuries. In fact, impressive as it may be, Dracula’s knowledge, especially in history, is the result of over four centuries of personal experience. Dracula’s ambition to conquer a country in the modern world renders reading necessary, for he has to know his victims’ language and context to impose his power over them.

But the mass of publication is increasing so Dracula is having more and more difficulties in keeping himself informed. The presence of periodicals in his library is an indicator of the accelerating flow of texts he has to read, ‘A table in the centre was littered with English magazines and newspapers, though none of them were of very recent date.’ (30). This is confirmed by Mina’s scrupulous edition process. The articles that she reads in the newspapers she gives a longer lasting form by storing them as clippings in her diary. ‘Cutting from ‘the Dailygraph,’ 8 August (pasted in Mina Murray’s Journal)’ (95). Meanwhile, Dracula is reading texts that have a less permanent form (literally, periodicals) and has or takes no time to store them. It reveals that reading, which along with blood consumption was one of his major strengths, is becoming his weakness because he has more and more competitors in the race to access knowledge for power.

‘Telegraph for Garlic’ is available to buy here.