Many readers have wondered in which year the events described in Dracula could have taken place. The novel itself mentions various elements that happened in 1893: the death of the French psychiatrist Charcot, the Westminster Gazette that was founded in that year, and the term “New Woman,” coined in the same year. Moreover, Stoker used a calendar book to plot his story; for the year 1893, the weekdays seamlessly correspond to the dates. For these reasons, Dracula scholar Professor em. Elizabeth Miller from Toronto claimed that Stoker intended his novel to be set in the year 1893.
In Harker’s addendum however, we find the remark: “Seven years ago, we all went through the flames”. For a book published in 1897, the action thus must be set in 1890 or earlier. The typeset manuscript inspected by Leslie Klinger even states “Eleven years ago.” Accordingly, Klinger pleaded for an early year of action—but had difficulties to explain the occurrence of technical gear appearing only after 1890, such as the portable typewriter.
After discovering how Stoker had obfuscated the true location of Castle Dracula and the lifetime identity of his vampire Count, I concluded that it made no sense to choose between either Miller’s or Klinger’s position; neither proposition is compatible with the novel's text in all points. Instead, we may deduce that Stoker, skilled in mental arithmetic, was well aware of these contradictions and intended to leave his readers in the dark. The very fact that “eleven” could easily be replaced by “seven” shortly before finalizing the manuscript, without completely rewriting it, implies that the Irish author did not want to synchronize his plot with external events in an obvious way.