It’s a good read, if creepier than I expected for an 1897 novel, but I can’t get past one thing: the number of times Stoker uses the word whilst. I know it’s technically correct (these days archaic in the U.S. but fine in the U.K., says Grammar Girl)–especially for Stoker’s day–but it leaps out at me every time.
So I figured I’d create a Wordle to see just how often it shows up, pasting in the entire text of the novel:
(Click the image to see the full thing.)
There at the very top, mocking the rest of the words, is that dirty little whilst. Though I don’t have a count, it looks to have shown up about as often as other crucial Dracula words like death, opened (as in, “opened the crypt,” “opened the coffin,” “opened his mouth to reveal fangs”), and strange–and it may even be more prevalent than dark, though it’s hard to say.
So while I admit that I hoped/expected to see it show up as large as the giant-est words in the image, I’m still satisfied that it’s in the novel a bit ridiculously often [shakes head in exasperation]. (And what’s up with those big words in the center of the Wordle cloud? Isn’t the may and must duality intriguing? As if there’s a fundamental tension in the novel between what people can do and what they should do?) (And have I ever used italics as often as in this post?)