Sun O'er Sea Maine Coons

My work is the first to examine the nature of Stoker's correspondences and track their occupation and affiliations. As I populated the data, I uncovered that Stoker had conversations with not just one or two, but ten senders affiliated with esotericism ("A Breakdown of Occult Letters"). Figure 2 details these correspondents. Fig 2 provides the name, affiliation, and number of letters written by the correspondent.  The increase in the number of letters among more prominent members such as Florence Farr, Pamela Coleman Smith, and Brodie Innes suggests that the author had a stronger relationship with esoteric thinkers than that acknowledged in recent Stoker scholarship.

While I was tracing Stoker's connection to the occult, I was struck by how vast his social network really was. He corresponded with 778 people of whom we are aware. Above is a picture of the timeline I compiled; I was bound within the limits of TimeGraphics and could only capture a fourth of the data that I had entered. When uploaded as an interactive timeline, the viewer becomes lost in the onslaught of data. Figure 5, the picture of the timeline, is zoomed as far out as possible. The purple lines and dots represent the occultists within the network. When placed among the other correspondents, the trend I detected becomes nearly impossible to uncover without filtering by occupation (which I did and enabled me to achieve the results previously documented).

I consider this portion of my project a work in progress and exploratory; I have come to no conclusion and present an area for further examination instead. Only 1/4 of the data is represented in this image, leaving 513 entries left to enter or somehow contextualize. I relied heavily on Tableau Public for this task.

Examining Bram Stoker's Correspondence: Revealing the Lost Network

Understanding the members associated with occulture in Stoker's network further: 

1: Dr. Moncure Daniel Conway: author of Demonology and Devil-lore (two volumes, 1878)

2: Robert Leighton: interested in esotericism

3: Jane T. Stoddart: Translator of the Flemish Mystic, Ruysbroek
4: Constance Mary Wilde: Member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, wife of Oscar Wilde

5: Florence Farr: Leading Member of the Golden Dawn and Actress
6: Pamela Coleman Smith: Member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, illustrator of Rider-Waithe Tarot

7: Brodie Innes: Member of the Amen Ra Temple, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Edinburgh
8: Reginald Stuart Poole: interested in esotericism

9: G. Anderson Critchett: interested in esotericism

10: Stuart Cumberland: Thought-reader, 1882

As Fig 2 shows, Florence Farr, a leading member of the Golden Dawn and an actress, sent two letters to Stoker followed by Stuart Cumberland (3) and Pamela Coleman Smith (3) and utimately Brodie Innes (5). The prominence of these members in the esoteric community and the number of letters exchanged shows an average from the increase of a single letter that was typically sent to Stoker (See Stoker's Social Networks Beyond the Occult section).

Figure 5

The aforementioned question is what I sought to answer as I examined who sent what how many times (Fig 6). The most frequent level of correspondence was a single letter; five letters (the number Brodie-Innes exchanged) appeared to be less common but not extraordinary. 

Yet, while this graph seemed to veer away from my questions surrounding occulture, I gleamed some valuable information. There were spikes in Stoker's correspondences that suggest some long and persistent relationships. 

John Toole Lawrence, an actor, actor-manager, and theatrical producer, sent Stoker the most letters, numbering 76, followed by a cartoonist and illustrator, Edwin Linley Sambourne. These lengthy correspondences might be the subject of further exploration for Stoker scholars.

Stoker's correspondences span from 1882 when he was 35 years old to 1911, a year before his death. During his lifetime, he corresponded with 10 senders affiliated with the occult, two of whom were leading members in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Farr & Brodie-Innes) who were extensively involved in the society and others (Coleman Smith and Constance Wilde) that were prominent and well-renowned. 

The timeline provided by TimeGraphic enabled me to more easily document Stoker's correspondences with those interested in esotericism. What surprised me was how early the affiliation began. Stoker lived until 64 and for 29 years, he entertained conversations with those affiliated and espousing esoteric beliefs. The timeline of these correspondences suggest that Stoker's ties to the occult did not surround just one novel but perhaps-- most of his oeuvre. 

Figure 9

Fig 9 below provides a more comprehensive examination of the records that each occupation encapsulates. The graph below indicates the number of records associated with each correspondent's occupation. What it fails to provide is the sender's name. Fig 10 solves this issue and provides a comprehensive table that groups senders under their occupation and details the number of letters each correspondent sent to Bram Stoker.

Figure 7

What Number is Normal in Letter Exchange?

Stoker's social networks are readily apparent in Fig 7 as each square bordered in white thicker lines shows a similarity in occupation. As the graph moves from left to right, the number in network decreases. The upper left corner shows the largest network, that of actresses.

The tree map also reinforces the prominence of the esoteric network as a fourth tier network (the bubbles suggested third or fourth, but this map more concretely shows that the occultist (located in the third column from the left) is a smaller but still prominent network.

What fascinates me about this graph is the potential for further study, of investigating the networks grouped by occupation and not limited to one person or one occupation. Some correspondents wore more than one hat so to speak and shared occupations. 

Stoker's Social Networks Beyond the Occult: A Vast Opportunity for Varied Scholarship

Figure 3 shows the prominence of the occultist's relationships with Stoker by examining the number of correspondences. The data reveals that Stoker had a close relationship with Brodie Innes, a known occultist. In my work last year on this project, I was able to retrieve the letters from the University of Leeds, which mirrors the findings in Tableau.

Stoker also shared correspondence with one of the “well-known men who belonged to the Golden Dawn”: John Brodie-Innes (Greer 416). Ranging from 1902-1909, Brodie-Innes corresponds with Stoker, discussing his novels. The first letter—July 20th 1902—begins: “Very many thanks indeed for ‘The Mystery of the Sea.’ I shall read it with it (sic) the greatest pleasure. The opening chapters fascinate me as always and hold the imagination in a remarkable design” (1). Brodie-Innes continues onto the next page, moving into soft criticism, “I wonder if formula is a real type of complaint” (2). He describes the protagonist of “The Mystery of the Sea” as having “certain kindred with horns on its fitted head but is distinctly more human” (2). Another letter (1903) thanks Stoker for “The Jewel of Seven Stars” (1903) and praises him, reading, “when I see you again there are various questions I want to ask you about it—It seems to me in some ways you have got cleare (sic) light on some problems which some of us have been fumbling in the dark after for long enough” (2). Further, Brodie-Innes pens, “It was a great disappointment to my wife and myself that you were not able to come /s us last autumn” (2). In other letters between the two, Brodie-Innes offers in-depth commentary on Stoker’s oeuvre. Brodie-Innes’ feedback on “The Lady of the Shroud” (1909) is less kind; he states that the novel has “(a capital title)—which I am enjoying much but have not yet finished. The opening confused me and I could not make out who was who” (1-2). Brodie-Innes’ feedback provides insight into the evolution of Stoker’s work, particularly as it engaged with mysticism and members of esoteric orders.

Brodie-Innes, was one of several occultists and mystics belonging to The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. 

Figure 6

The 3,411 letters at the University of Leeds offer scholars an opportunity to uncover who corresponded with Stoker and map the social circles to which he might have belonged. Through the use of Tableu Public, a data visualization software, I was able to trace the correspondents and their occupations by importing an Excel spreadsheet into the software. The renderings below shed light on Stoker's social networks and the prominence of the esoteric in his life.

Figure 1 below, "Stoker's Social Networks," shows viewers Stoker's largest social networks. While this project seeks to trace the author's affiliation with the occult, his largest circles are those of actress, actor, author, artist, and writer. When mapping the correspondences collectively, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I anticipated that the occultists would be one of the smaller circles. To my surprise, the occultists belong to what I consider either a third or forth tier network.

Numbering 10, they are located at the bottom left of the graph, three left of "Novelist" on the outer edge. The graph is interactive as embedded and readers may mouse over to reveal more specificity. The largeness of this network surprised me as out of approximately 300 occupations, those affiliated with the occult held a more prominent placement than anticipated.

Tracing the Occult Network: Talking for 29 Years

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 1

Those interested in continuing to examine Bram Stoker's social networks might find Figure 10, the Occupational Data Table helpful to future scholarship.

Figure 8

This configuration of the occupational data from the correspondents would be useful for future scholarship that examines Bram Stoker's engagement in various networks. 

The data in Fig 8 can be further manipulated; I chose not to cross-list people between groups as many were Novelists and Writers or Actors and Authors. By using a "/" in the data entry, I was able to more accurately reflect each individual's set of occupations.