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2017.06.20 Icelandic ‘Dracula’ a whole other story
Last Friday, May 26, was the annual World Dracula Day, and fans and scholars celebrated the day on which Count Dracula had come into the world 120 years ago. The novel ‘Dracula’ was published in England in 1897 by Irish author Bram Stoker, and since then, many translations, related literature, stage plays and films have been created. In February 2017, yet another version of ‘Dracula’ was published, based on an Icelandic ‘translation’.

The so-called Icelandic translation of ‘Dracula’, ‘Makt Myrkranna (Powers of Darkness)’, was first published in 1901. The preface, said to be written by Bram Stoker himself, mysteriously mentioned content that was never included in his original ‘Dracula’. In 1986, literary researcher Richard Dalby translated this preface into English, reporting that the book was an ‘abridged translation of Dracula’. Although the discrepancy has been the subject of literary speculation, no one attempted to translate the rest of the book back into English, until recently.  
Hans Corneel de Roos, an independent literary researcher, dared to tackle this work using Google Translate. An enthusiastic Dracula researcher and author, he presented his findings on the contents of the Icelandic ‘Powers of Darkness’. On February 6, 2017, de Roos wrote an article on ‘Literary Hub’ claiming he had unveiled several prominent differences between ‘Dracula’ and its Icelandic adaptation: characters’ names were changed, and there were several scenes in the Icelandic edition not found in the English ‘Dracula’.

Although the discovery was quite astonishing, de Roos finds ‘Powers of Darkness’ somewhat ‘more exciting and elegant’ than the original. He also thinks that Stoker must have played a hand in the creation of the Icelandic edition, because elements found in Stoker’s preparatory notes, but not in the first ‘Dracula’, are present. De Roos’ English translation of ‘Powers of Darkness’ is a rare and interesting example of a re-translation of a translated (though ‘adapted’) text that has been re-published into its original language.

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