I initially reported on the discovery made by Dacre Stoker concerning the confirmation that his great-grand uncle Bram consulted, while writing DRACULA, a book called ROUMANIA PAST AND PRESENT by James Samuelson, a book that talks about the historical Dracula (Vlad III, aka “The Impaler”) and a book that we know Stoker read at least portions of because he referenced it in his notes. For my own part, I have not stated that this is conclusive proof that Bram based his Count Dracula on the historical figure. I have only stated that we now have confirmation that Bram *did* have access to a book that *did* mention the historical Dracula, and that it is perfectly plausible that he read the portions that speak of Vlad. Can we say for certain that he did? No, as he left no written confirmation of it. Can we say that he did not? Nope.
If Bram did read the section concerning Vlad, though, why would he not have made use of the history of Vlad’s atrocities for his novel? All that would seem too meaty to pass up for a guy trying to create a memorable villain, wouldn’t it?
I have a theory. It is only a theory, and cannot be proven or disproven, but I believe it is tenable. It dovetails nicely with the theory I have long maintained concerning Bram and his knowledge of the historical Dracula. I believe, if Bram did learn about Vlad Dracula, he did so after the fact. Perhaps from his friend Armin Vambery. Perhaps from Samuelson’s book. If he read the pertinent sections of the book, I theorize that he did so after he already had that section of DRACULA dealing with the Count’s personal history “in the can” as they say. Bearing in mind that Bram had to cut DRACULA to please the publishers who already thought it was too long, it stands to reason that Bram wouldn’t try to shoehorn in any more backstory for the Count. No matter how juicy it was.