the vampire of superstition was a slovenly, clumsy, idiotic and thoroughly malicious zombie -more a mindless revenant than anything else - whose only goal was to overtake a human victim
and drain him of his life-giving blood. The vampire of fiction however is (among other things)intelligent. Having been dead for centuries he has used his time wisely to become resourceful and
This is the tradition Stoker was aware of when he wrote "Dracula." Poets and writers likeShelley,
Colerige and Keats had their various prose and poetry romanticizing the vampire. The vampire of
English literature had very little in common with its folkloric cousin. The "new and improved"vampire was now almost always of noble birth, and most certainly a recluse. He is handsome and
charming. Wearing a cape and changing into a bat were products of the literary vampire, as thefolkloric vampire had none of these characteristics.
Stoker most certainly was aware of these new manifestations brought to light in English literature.
In fact, Stoker fashioned much of his novelfrom another novel written by Wilkie Collins only 37
years before. "The Woman in White" had many elements that were seen again recurring in the
Stoker novel. Both stories involve a Count. Bothvampires were shape-shifters, changing from bats
or to wolves on a whim; and both had telepathic powers rendering their victims subservient to
their wishes. Both stories centered around decrepidmansions, graveyards and both contained a
scene where a beautiful woman thought to be dead, was seen in a cemetery carrying a child victim.
While Stoker borrowed liberally from this story, wedo not know Collins today and certainly do
not acknowledge his contribution to vampire fiction. We do however know Stoker, and regard him
as the most well known of the vampire writers of his day.