'Dracula' is Published

The ending of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" (1897) has long troubled readers.

Professor Abraham Van Helsing, the Dutch expert on the supernatural, repeatedly admonishes his band of hunters that to kill the vampire-king, they must "cut off his head and burn his heart or drive a stake through it." Furthermore, he warns, when the sun sets, Dracula has the power to transform himself into "elemental dust."

With that in mind, what occurs after an extended chase from England to Dracula's castle in Transylvania is puzzling: As the sun sets, Jonathan Harker and Quincey Morris attack Dracula with steel knives, one "shear[ing] through his throat," the other stabbing him in the heart, and the vampire's body "crumbled into dust." Did he die or choose to disappear?

Dracula, a chilling masterpiece of Gothic horror, was first published in 1897 and has never been out of print since. Although it was not the first story about a vampire, it became the most well-known and has since had a huge impact on popular culture as respectful interpretation as well as imitation and parody. It has been estimated that over 1,000 films have been inspired by the Dracula story.