If there’s one thing librarians would appreciate you not do when you borrow a book, it’s start scribbling in it, and yet the London Library in Mayfair is very pleased to have found a number of books that have been annotated by their reader. Who is this rapscallion who dare deface a borrowed book? None other than the author of Dracula, Bram Stoker.
As Londonist reports, 28 books have been discovered during a research effort lead by Paul Spedding. They were seemingly used by Stoker as he researched his now classic book Dracula in 1897. Stoker was a businessman living in Chelsea at the time and and joined the library in 1890 at the proposal of Hall Caine, whom Stoker dedicated Dracula to. The gothic horror novel may now be considered a classic, but it seems Stoker wasn’t highly praised for his writing prior to Dracula’s publication. “Stoker was a dreadful writer. His other stuff is dreadful,” said Spedding.
One of the books Stoker borrowed include The Book of Werewolves by Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould, which is full of pencil marks and annotations which closely follow parts of Dracula. Stoker often marked passages relating to life and death and next to one line that states the human instinct is to “extinguish life”, Stoker has written, and then scribbled out, “Bosh!” Spedding went on to say that the research would’ve been easier had Stoker’s handwriting not been so awful.
Though Dracula is set in Transylvania, Stoker never actually visited and instead used contemporary sources to research the place. Interestingly, in a copy of An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia by William Wilkinson, Stoker has folded the corner of the page where the name Dracula is used.
Dracula may be the most iconic novel involving the vampire, but Stoker was far from the only writer in the genre. Spedding stated he believes Dracula owes its success to the fact it’s endlessly reinterpret-able from generation to generation. “Hotel Transylvania 3 came out this year. It did $500m business,” said Spedding.
The researchers can’t be totally sure the notes were written by Stoker, given that the library didn’t keep borrowing records then, but it is worth noting that, in 1897, Stoker wrote to his bankers to tell them to stop paying his fee to the London Library. This is the same date Dracula was published and so it seems his research was complete.
The library staff have spoken of their relief at raising £35,000 for its move to Peckham and the provisional opening date for the new library is 14th March. It was October when the Feminist Library launched a crowdfunding campaign for its relocation to a community centre in Peckham after being based in Westminster for the last thirty years.
The library has put together a collection of romantic scenes from literature that took place in New York City and they’ve created an interactive map so you can read your way around the city. It’s invaluable for those who want to indulge in a little literary tourism or those who just want to travel between the pages of a book, take a look below at all the books featured in the map and a link to the map itself! Read More
For those of us who spend much of our time in the library, a festive display is good fun and the ones we want to show you are just amazing! The staff at the libraries must have had a great time putting these together…
It’s called the Helsinki Central Library Oodi, with Oodi meaning Ode’ in Finnish, and was originally given the green light back in 2015. The library was opened yesterday on December 5, which marks Finland’s 101st Independence Day.
And though the digital age would have you believe that such collections are out of date, the majesty of these hallowed halls would beg to differ. Take the gorgeous Raza library in Rampur, India which is said to be the most important collection of knowledge in South Asia. Just in its largesse, this historical center tells a narrative of the history of the region that cannot otherwise be made palpable.
Spanning from the 6th century and situated around the world, Oldest has put together their top 11 choices for the most invaluable historic public libraries, which together house millions of books and historical materials.
Which one is on your bucket list?