From the first time I read my great grand uncle’s novel Dracula, I have been fascinated with the character Renfield. Subsequent portrayals in film over the years have continued to bring us a deeply disturbed and complex character from Dwight Fry to Tom Waits.
When I started to delve into Bram’s research and writing of Dracula one thing became abundantly clear, Bram, with the assistance of his eldest brother, the renowned Dr. William Thornley Stoker, made sure to get all the medical parts of the novel correct. Thornley was very familiar with the plight of the mentally handicapped, he was on the staff of Swifts Hospital in Dublin where he assisted in the treatment of the insane. Bram himself was known to frequent prisons where he interviewed those incarcerated due to their mental status. This was Bram’s way of properly preparing to write his magnum opus, Dracula.
From the files of the StokerVerse archives, we bring to Legacy Comix a story about RM Renfield. I have been thrilled to work with Chris McAuley on this comic. Digging into Bram’s working notes and the Dracula typescript we have noticed that Renfield is an enigmatic character. A first he was named Flyman, his backstory is vague but it appears he was from a well-to-do family from high society. What caused his mental illness? Is it possible that he was originally destined to play a large role in the novel?
Bram described in the short story Dracula’s Guest, which was once part of the Dracula Typescript before it was excised due to length, an unnamed traveler journeying to Transylvania to meet Count Dracula, having an overnight layover in Munich. I believe Renfield could easily have been this solicitor set off from London to close the real estate transaction with Count Dracula. He decides to take a carriage ride out into the countryside only to have a horrific experience in a cemetery with a mysterious apparition in a crypt and later a very close encounter with a large grey wolf. Could this have been the trigger to cause Renfield’s lunacy? Did he return to London to seek help at Dr. Seward’s Asylum? I believe it is certainly plausible.
Enjoy our story and getting to know Mr. Renfield.
Dacre Stoker – 04/09/2022