Jeremy Robson has secured world rights to a book that features the previously unpublished notebooks of Bram Stoker as one of Robson's launch titles for his new imprint at Biteback.
Robson bought the rights directly from Stoker's great-grandnephew, Dacre Stoker, and Dracula scholar Dr Elizabeth Miller. The Lost Journals of Bram Stoker is provisionally scheduled for publication by the Robson Press next spring.
The notebooks were recently discovered in the attic of one of Stoker's great-grandsons and detail the author's time in Dublin between 1871 and 1881, some 15 years ahead of Dracula's publication.
Robson said: "The notebooks reveal the intimate Stoker—his attachment to Dublin and his life in that city. [They are] replete with observations on co-workers, classmates, friends, family members and the Dublin streets, and [the] various notes and anecdotes emit Stoker's rich Irish sense of humour."
While Stoker did not begin writing Dracula in earnest until some years later, Robson said there were early elements of what became his best known work in the notebooks. "The astute reader of Dracula will immediately recognise the aide-memoire technique displayed in the notebooks, which recalls similar notations made by Jonathan Harker—himself a compulsive note-taker," said Robson.
Other parallels between Stoker and Harker were their careers. At the time of writing the notebooks Stoker was a young travelling clerk of the court, compared to Harker's occupation as a young travelling solicitor in Dracula.