Partly because of my train commute back in Philadelphia and partly because one can't knit and read simultaneously, I've become a fan of audio books, and of LibriVox in particular. My most recent on-the-way-to-and-from-work listening has been LibriVox's recording of Bram Stoker's Dracula, which I'd only previously encountered through movies.* And one of the first things that struck me about it was how much the story depends on characters exchanging information — particularly in the later chapters where each of the narrators has to keep the others constantly updated — and on the various forms of information technology that came out of the 19th century.
Between the telegrams that various characters constantly exchange, Mina's typewriter, and Dr. Seward's "phonograph diary," Dracula includes almost as many means of communication as it does types of documents (letters, diaries, newspaper articles, "memoranda," and on and on). Nearly all of the major characters are obsessed with documenting everything that happens. Even that poor sea captain who has the ill-luck to take Dracula to England not only insists on keeping up his captain's log, but on preserving it in a bottle so it can be read even after he's found dead at the wheel.
I can't help wondering what the story would have looked like if Bram Stoker had written it in this decade instead of in the 1890s. Jonathan and Mina's LiveJournals? GPS to track Dracula's shipping container on its long journey back to the Carpathians? A laptop for Mina instead of a traveling typewriter? Instant messages? Characters researching eastern European vampire lore on Wikipedia? I bet Stoker would have loved the internet.
I'm of two minds whether to write an essay on information technology in Dracula*** or a Facebook feed parody, in the manner of Facebook Hamlet:
Jonathan Harker is thrilled about this new job!
Jonathan Harker added Transylvania to the Places I've Been application.
Jonathan Harker is kind of nervous about staying in this creepy castle.**
Quincey Morris, John Seward, and Arthur Holmwood joined the group We Love Lucy.
Lucy Westenra and Mina Murray are attending the event Sunset Stroll in Whitby Churchyard.
I was thinking of making a Google map for the novel, but I see that someone has already done so.
*** If I ever do, the Rosenbach Museum and Library, which has Stoker's notes for Dracula, would make a lovely research-vacation destination.