Yesterday, I published a post on the horror novel The Jewel of Seven Stars, by Bram Stoker. In it, I commented that my recollection of the novel was quite imperfect, since I hadn’t recalled it perfectly from when I read it about twenty-five years ago. But my bad memory isn’t the only cause of that–I had believed it to be published in the late nineteenth century or early twentieth century, which turned out to be correct. But when I checked out of curiosity this morning just to see, it turned out that there were two different versions of the book. One was published in 1903, and it had a far more tragic ending; that’s evidently the one I read the first time. The one I read this time was the 1912 version, from which the overall tragedy has been watered down to what I called a “frothy” or possibly weak-minded aftermath. Wikipedia has an excellent explanation of the results of imperialism on such things as Egyptology and other researches, and I advise the reader in quest of more information about this book to look there. Shadowoperator
4 responses to “A Quick (and Overdue) Footnote to Yesterday’s Post!”
Thanks for the info, I definitely want the more tragic ending, such is my terrible nature.
Yes, this book is definitely a good, creepy read without all the blood and gore of “Dracula,” which has two or three female vampires as well as Vlad Dracul himself. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for blood and gore in a horror novel, but when nearly everybody you know is suddenly going around with blood dripping from their mouths, it’s about time you hot-footed it away! In this mummy-novel also, there’s a sort of gesture toward Egyptology, which even though it isn’t really scientific mirrors things that were happening at the time in archeology, so it has a weird sort of shade of probability, if you practice Coleridge’s “willing suspension of disbelief.” And this mummy helps by wandering around in her “astral body” instead of in a winding sheet or lots of what looks like toilet paper, so that it’s both more seemly and more (strangely) believable, less ridiculous. As to which version to read, I say both, when you have time, just for the purposes of comparison; of course, I know your time is limited, but it’s interesting to see how a few years (and the end of Victoria’s reign) can help change a manuscript.
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The more you tell me, the more I want to get hold of a copy, although I am sure Gutenberg will have one. It’s added to the list at any rate. In fact looking at the old Amazon wish list, it was one of the first books I added. What an oversight to have not gotten a copy yet.
Gutenberg does have one, that’s the one I read this time, but it’s undated, and so I had only the different ending to let me know that it was a different version. i’d really love to get a copy of the first edition of it now and re-read to see what it’s like—that’s the one with the more tragic ending.