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I only hope we may sometime meet and I shall be able perhaps to say what I cannot write.
– Bram Stoker to Walt Whitman, February 1876

You did well to write to me so unconventionally, so fresh, so manly, & so affectionately.
– Walt Whitman to Bram Stoker, March 1876

Only a sentence, casually placed as a footnote in the back of Justin Kaplan’s thick 2003 biography of Walt Whitman, but it goes off like a little explosion: ‘Bram Stoker based the character of Dracula on Walt Whitman.’

Come again? The quintessential poet of affirmation, singer of himself, celebrant of human vitality – what has he to do with the parasitical phantom, the children of the night? The poet of ‘Song of Myself’ proclaims his solar confidence; he out gallops stallions, is ‘plumb in the uprights’ and ‘braced in the beams’ and even the smell of his own sweat famously delights him with ‘an aroma finer than prayer’.

He seems himself a kind of sun, radiant, generous, aglow with an inner heat that seems composed of equal parts lust, good health and fellow feeling.

How could the embodiment of lunar pallor emerge from him?

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