Dracula Daily is Tumblr’s hottest new book club

Anyone who is online has followed the daily journal entries of the English lawyer Jonathan Harker – also known as one of the main characters in Bram Stokers Dracula. On Tumblr in particular, posts about the classic novel have begun to take over the platform. While it may seem strange that large sections of Tumblr users have declared the classic novel their new obsession, there is actually a fairly simple explanation for the phenomenon: Dracula Daily.

What is Dracula Daily?

Dracula Daily is a newsletter from web developer Matt Kirkland, who delivers the 1897 classic novel Dracula to your inbox – but with a twist. Bram Stoker’s book is written in epistolary format, via letters, diary entries and newspaper articles. The events in the story take place between May and November, and Kirkland “posts a newsletter every day where something happens to the characters, on the same timeline as it happens to them.”

The newsletter actually launched for the first time last year, but Kirkland decided to go around again for this year, because yes, why not? It started on May 3 – the day lawyer Jonathan Harker begins his travel diary, which tells about his business trip to Transylvania – and ends on November 7. Some days there will be no entries, while some days have multiple chapters. (Here’s a handy guide to when emails will arrive if you were curious).

It is not a modern adaptation like Lizzie Bennet’s diaries or indeed any kind of adaptation with the count, such as Castlevania. As the newsletter goes day by day, it is also not a one-to-one interpretation of the novel that leaps back and forth in time. For the most part though Dracula daily is just the text of Dracula delivered in mouth-watering (ha) chunks. It’s not the first time in this newsletter, but this time around, various online communities – especially on Tumblr – have decided to bring Dracula back to life (ha ha).

XOXO, Dracula

Across the internet, people get a taste (ha ha ha) of 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 the launch on May 3, the newsletter managed to beat the pop culture’s big hits such as Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness, Knights of the Moonand The owl house (only comes in second place after the Met Gala), according to Tumblr’s Fandometrics tracker.

One day, users logged on to discover that everyone they were following suddenly wrote about Dracula. Some did not even know this was thanks to a newsletter, and simply assumed that Tumblr users decided to stick with an old book. However, finding out about the newsletter got people signing up – which only resulted in more posts.

And when people on the internet are into something, memes will definitely follow – from fan art to comics and more. Since the first few Dracula Daily series focus on Jonathan, there have been plenty of posts about how great it is to get an email from their buddy Jonathan Harker on his business trip.

There’s just something particularly fun about watching a classic novel like Dracula back in the spirit of the times. Unlike classics like Pride and Prejudice or Who rings the bells for, you can be familiar with Dracula, the character, even without being familiar with the plot points of the novel. (The closest equivalent is probably Frankensteinwhere people definitely know Frankenstein’s monster, even if they have not read the book.)

With that in mind, certain pieces of the novel become amusing with the context of the time. In 2022, we all know who Dracula is, but in 1897 poor Jonathan Harker is happily unaware of why a peasant wife tried to give him a crucifix.

But not all memes and nonsense. Some people also use this as a chance to examine the classical text from a more scientific point of view, whether it offers historical context or unpacking some of the elements that have not aged well.

There are still many months to Dracula Daily, so only time will tell if the excitement continues. If you’re interested in joining Tumblr’s new hot book club, you can still subscribe to the newsletter; the emails already sent are available on the Substack page if you want to follow along.

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