Mörkrets makter: 2 Swedish variants

The publication of my English translation of Makt myrkranna under the name Powers of Darkness [New York: Overlook, 7 Febr. 2017] not only triggered a wave of comments in the international press, but also prompted a new discovery. Ten days after the book was released, I received a message from Swedish fantasy fiction specialist Rickard Berghorn, who claimed that Makt myrkranna must be based on an earlier serialization in the Swedish newspaper Dagen (The Day) under the title Mörkrets makter (equally meaning Powers of Darkness), from 10 June 1899 to 7 February 1900. In an interview I conducted with him early March 2017, Berghorn stated that Mörkrets makter was much longer than the ca. 160,000 words of Stoker's English Dracula, and—unlike Makt myrkranna—upheld the epistolary style known from Dracula throughout the novel.

Checking these claims against scans I obtained directly from Stockholm, I established that there must have existed two different Swedish variants. It soon turned out that the second serialization of Mörkrets makter, in the tabloid Aftonbladets Halfvecko-Upplaga (Evening Paper's Half-Weekly), from 16 August 1899 – 31 March 1900, as first obtained by me, had been shortened to ca. 107,000 words, while dropping the diary style after Part I dealing with Harker's adventures in Transylvania.


As the structure of the Icelandic version corresponded to that of the abridged Halfvecko-Upplaga variant (same chapter titles, only two parts, no epistolary format in Part II), I concluded that Ásmundsson must have used the latter as his source text, replacing various cultural references with hints to Icelandic sagas, and shortening the text even further, to ca. 47,000 words. In this sense, I was the first to locate the text that Valdimar Ásmundsson must have used to create his Icelandic story.

Although the Halfvecko variant is shorter than the Dagen serialization—which is twice as long as Stoker's Dracula—and after Part I deviates from Stoker's diary style, I prefer it over the longer text, which is quite verbose and contains many dialogues that don't contribute to the progress of the plot. With around 107,000 words on 264 pages, it has the ideal length for a thriller. Alas, due to a non-compete clause in my publishing contract for Powers of Darkness, I am not allowed to translate it to English myself.