“The Dead Travel Fast”: Deadly Transports in Bürger’s “Lenore” and Stoker’s Dracula

“The Dead Travel Fast”: Deadly Transports in Bürger’s “Lenore” and Stoker’s Dracula

A Quizzicality by Bruce Stewart

Some weeks ago I taught Bram Stoker and Irish Gothic to a small group of students at UFRN in North-East Brazil. As apart from the lively confirmation of the universal popularity of that novel, and its curious character as a piece of second-rate writing (ha!) which goes to the heart of the modern neurosis on various fronts - sexual, alimentary, colonial, and so on - the class threw up a new interest in the actual language of the novel and especially its system of allusions .. among which the line expressly quoted from Gustave August Burger’s 1773 ballad “Lenore” is the most striking: “Denn die todten rieden schnell” - which Stoker immediately translates in a parenthesis as “the the dead travel fast”.

In this he has substituted “travel” for the usual translation-terms “ride, gallop” and so on. In seeking where he got his translation - assuming that he did not merely think it up - I first explored the translation-history of the original into English and came up with such writers as William Whewell and Dante Gabriel Rossetti both of whose versions are routine reproduced on websites dedicated to Stoker’s Dracula and all of its materials and themes. Yet neither of these include the word “travel” and the only indication of an alternative source was - enchantingly, it must be said - Charles Dickens’ famous “A Christmas Carol” in which Scrooge asks of Marley’s ghost, “You travel fast?” (The dialogue is cited on the Wikipedia page for Bürger’s “Lenore”.)

Could it be that Stoker was echoing Dickens in a story that he must have known and which, indeed, might well have been staged in a production he had seen? Stoker was a theatrical manager and knew a great deal of the contemporary drama scene, especially the popular diet since he was, after all, the manager of a popular theatre with the opposite of a fastidious taste for high-class literature - as Flann O’Brien facetiously calls the more intellectually demanding kind. It was then that I loaded up my trivial researches on Facebook with a query about the proximate source of Stoker’s word “travel”. And then came back the results ...

.. in the form of Neil Mann’s treasure-house of information about the exploitation of Bürger’s line in various European contexts - notably its rendering in French as “les mort vont vite” by Madame de Stael - a version that went, well, viral at the time. And then, Eureka! Neil throws in a reference to The Corsican Brothers of Dion Boucicault staged in 1852 - itself based on a novel by Dumas about Siamese twins - in which Farbbyang says, “The dead travel fast”. So, then, Boucicault - an Anglo-Irishman from Dublin and an older contemporary of Stoker who topped the British and American bill with his rumbuctious melodramas was the first to translate Burger’s “rieden” as “travel”. Or so it seems. Yet Dickens’s “Christmas Carol” (1843) had already celebrated its tenth birthday when Boucicault pasted together his show and it is unlikely that he had not met the Scrooge-Marley dialogue, just as Stoker may have known it independently of the Corsican debâcle.

On further searching, it turns out that Neil’s independent research is amply warranted by Catherine Wynne’s condensed account of the Boucicault-Stoker connection which also identifies the Punch review he mentiones - in which the one about the line of mortal transport is cited as the only good one in the play. (Wynne doesn’t find it necessary to make the connection with Burger’s ballad as cited in the text of Dracula, however.)

So where does that leave us? It is certainly possible to construct a fashionable interpretation in which the colonial remainder - as some philosopher has called it - is shown infusing a constant amount of “Irish-Gothic” into the blood-streams of Boucicault and Stoker, with similar arrangements made for Le Fanu and Maturin and anyone else who falls within the shock-waves of postcolonial criticism. In such a view, Dracula appears to be first and foremost a product of the Anglo-Irish literary tradition considered as an insular (and insulated) literary growth.

There is much to dispute this, not least the fact that Stoker was a middle-class Irish protestant and not a demon-landlord of any kind. More tellingly, however, if his source for the Burger translation - as I will call it for short - is Dickens rather than Boucicault, or both together, he is just another British chap writing horror stories for the Victorian stage in London, Dublin, Philadelphia or wherever an audience for that sort of thing can be found. It is true that the death travel quick but not as quick, it seems, as a good literary line - and that has been the case with Gustav August Burger's ‘denn der todten rieden schnell which seemed, for much of two centuries, to be as unkillable as Dracula himself.


Gottfried August Burger
Gottfried August Bürger 1747-94

Johann David Schubert
Lenore by Frank Kirchbach

 Engravings on the theme of “Lenore” by Johann David Schubert and Frank Kirchbach [L & R respectively].

The Argument

The first chapter of Dracula contains a quotation from the macabre and once-popular ballad “Lenore” published by Gottfried August Bürger in 1773 - one among many other literary references to Shakespeare, Byron, Walter Scott and sundry scientific writers, named and unnamed, which imbue that horror-story with a surprisingly literary character. (For some sense of the range of allusions in the novel, it is worth visiting the extraordinary Bookmarks page compiled by Victoria Hooper on Bookdrum - online.) The passage in question describes Dracula’s first appearance in the novel as an anonymous - and ominous - presence. This is how it goes:

Then, amongst a chorus of screams from the peasants and a universal crossing of themselves, a calèche, with four horses, drove up behind us, overtook us, and drew up beside the coach. I could see from the flash of our lamps, as the rays fell on them, that the horses were coal-black and splendid animals. They were driven by a tall man, with a long brown beard and a great black hat, which seemed to hide his face from us. I could only see the gleam of a pair of very bright eyes, which seemed red in the lamplight, as he turned to us. He said to the driver:
 “You are early to-night my friend.” The man stammered in reply: “The English Herr was in a hurry”, to which the stranger replied: “That is why, I suppose, you wished him to go on to Bukovina. You cannot deceive me, my friend; I know too much, and my horses are swift.” As he spoke he smiled, and the lamplight fell on a hard-looking mouth, with very red lips and sharp-looking teeth, as white as ivory. One of my companions whispered to another the line from Bürger’s “Lenore”:—

Denn die Todten reiten schnell [For the dead travel fast].

The strange driver evidently heard the words, for he looked up with a gleaming smile. The passenger turned his face away, at the same time putting out his two fingers and crossing himself.

It appears that the passenger who quotes Bürger here is harping on the narrative of the famous ballad in which a young woman pining for her lost beloved, a soldier who went off to war and has not returned, is visited by a horseman in his likeness who promises to take her to their bridal bed but who is actually Death who takes her on a whirlwind ride across intervening lands and seas to the graveyard where his bones lie and invites her to join them in the grave. (She dies but her soul ascends to heaven because she begs forgiveness the sin of despair in God’s redemptive power.) It is speech near the end of the poem where the horseman sheds the similitude of William and reveals his true character as Death which the passenger quotes - meaning to suggest that the faceless coachman in the calèche - as distinct from the driver of their own work-a-day post-chase - has the aspect of the Grim Reaper:

“Dost fear, my dear? the moon shines bright:
Hurrah! the dead ride fast by night:
Dost fear the dead? - not thou!”

—William Whewell, Verse Translations from German (1847); see longer extract - infra.

The effect is very much that of a ghost-story - or a vampire tale - in which a deathly figures leads his victims out of the world. It is also reminiscent of the carriage-ride with which Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla begins. Nor would thoughts about Emily Dickinson’s poem on Death as a coachman be entirely out of place. In fact Bürger’s poem was written in response to Johann Gottfried Herder’s call for a national German literature reflecting the vernacular potential which he detected in Thomas Percy’s Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765) and the MacPherson’s Ossian poems (The Works of Ossian, 1765) and, indeed, Burger made it clear that his ballad was equally based on a German folk-tale and on the Scottish ballad “Sweet William’s Ghost” which Percy had printed in his collection. All of this was part of the rising tide of European Romanticism but also the new interest in spooky stories as the stuff of polite literature.

Stoker clearly knows the German ballad in the original since he quotes it in that language, yet English translations had been going the rounds since William Taylor published his to great acclaim in the Monthly Review in March 1796 (though written and circulated in manuscript six years earlier). Taylor’s version might seem a likely candidate for the epithet ‘travel’ in the translated line from Bürger’s ballad - but alas, no. That translation is reprinted in The Broadway Anthology of Romantic Poetry (2016) and contains the following lines: ‘Tramp, tramp, across the land they speede; / Splash, splash, across the sea; / “Hurrah! the dead can ride apace; Dost fear to ride with mee?”’ (ll.189-93; see online.) Sadly the Google Books version of the anthology breaks off here, but the point is adequately made that Taylor is a rider rather than a traveller - a notion for which Charles Dickens may have supplied the surprising source, as I note below.

Other translators who left into the rign in 1796 were J. T. Stanley and H. J. Pye and W. R. Spencer, while Walter Scott made a version with a different title - “William and Helen” which is nevertheless pure translation. We know that he heard the poem being read in an Edinburgh drawing-room and was sufficiently impressed to seek out the manuscript in Germany and to translate it in one day in 1794. Yet another translation was made by a very precocious Dante Gabriel Rossetti at the age of 16, in 1844, of which these are the relevant lines:

“What ails my love! the moon shines bright:
Bravely the dead men ride thro’ the night.
Is my love afraid of the quiet dead?”

ll.157-59, 189-91 [my italics]; see the Rossetti Archive at Harvard University - online.

It is worth glancing here at Sir Walter Scott’s treatment of the speedy travel motif in his quatrains:

“Dost fear? dost fear? The moon shines clear,
Dost fear to ride with me?—
Hurrah! hurrah! the dead can ride!”—
“O William, let them be!—


“Dost fear? dost fear? The moon shines clear,
And well the dead can ride;
Does faithful Helen fear for them?”—
“O leave in peace the dead!”—

See All Poetry - online; accessed 02.02.2017.

In these he is reproducing the Death’s repeated refrain in the original as he approaches the would-be ‘bridal bed’. The version I have quoted first above is the one made by William Whewell in circa 1817 and published anonymously in a pamphlet publication of 1829, and afterwards in Verse Translations from the German including Bürger’s “Lenore” [and] Arthur Schiller’s “Song of the Bell” and Other Poems (1847) - a copy of which is available at Bookdrum [online]. (Regarding the identity of the author of that book and its date of composition, see infra.)

Clearly none of these - Whewell, Scott or Rossetti - are the source of the succinct translation which Stoker places in parenthesis after the German original that serves to convey the (presumably German-speaking) passenger’s intuition about the ghastly identity of the mysterious aristocratic coachman. What stands perhaps out in Stoker’s rendering is the word ‘travel’ for Reiten [lit. ‘ride’] and this does not appear to come from any previous English version. Similarly his rendering of schnell as ‘fast’ has an appreciable blunt force. Who the editor is who adds that translation to the text, it recks not to ask - but certainly not Jonathan Harker in whose journal it appears.

That Bürger’s poem and English translations of it influenced the English Romantics is well established; Charles Lamb, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth all mention William Taylor’s version in their letters to each other after its appearance in the Monthly Magazine in May 1796 [see note]. Wordsworth even held that version to be superior to the German, though Coleridge characteristically did not agree. The several complex transactions surrounding those translation were brilliantly appraised by Oliver Farrar Emerson in English Translations of Burger’s Lenore - A Study in English and German Romanticism (Cleveland, Ohio: Western Reserve UP 1915), the chief source of my information on the subject [available at Internet Archive - online].

A similar deposition has been made by Marti Lee who claims that that ‘Lenore had a tremendous influence on the literature of the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-centuries, and in fact, today’s popular horror books and movies are still feeling the reverberations.’ He goes on:

In short, Bürger’s achievement, while minor in itself, helped father an international movement that led directly to the massive popularity of Gothic works then and now. [...] As the Gothic novel borrowed many of its original conventions from the German ballads, as popularized by “Lenore”, we can fairly say that Bürger is one of the most influential founding fathers of the Gothic and horror genres.

(Lee, Marti, ‘The Germanic Invasion: Bürger’s Ballads And their Influence on English writers’, Georgian Southern University - online (unavailable at 02.10.2017), cited in the Wikipedia article on “Lenore” - online; accessed 02.10.2017; see bibliographical list as infra.)

This seems to apply well to Stoker’s Dracula in which the novelist not alone echoes the theme of the deadly abduction but also incorporates an explicit allusion to Burger with an utterly apposite quotatioin thrown away in conversational mode by the entirely admirable wit of German extraction on the inside of the Transylvanian public carriage. It oddity is that Stoker not only borrows the line but also mentions the author - much as he mentions Max Nordau and Cesare Lombroso in the course of Van Helsing’s diagnosis of Count Dracula’s ontological problems in terms of the criminal type and the recidivist tendencies of his ‘child brain’. It is an odd habit on Stoker’s part and one that reveals him as something of an intellectual show-off and, of course, a determined practicioner of the Irish art of fiction which, as in the case of his compatriot James Joyce, is guaranteed to keep the professors busy for centuries.

Stoker’s fascination with the line from Bürger - no throwaway reference, therefore - is demonstrated by its recurrent in “Dracula’s Guest”, a later short-story in the form of a narrative told by Jonathan Harker who writes: ‘On top of the tomb, seemingly driven through the solid marble - for the structure was composed of a few vast blocks of stone - was a great iron spike or stake. On going to the back I saw, graven in great Russian letters: “The Dead Travel Fast”’. In this rendering, the English version of the phrase which is offered as a parenthetical translation in Dracula features as the original even to the extent that the little story omits to say whether the “Russian letters” are used to transcribe the English or the Russian version - or perhaps, more logically, the German original which Stoker has omitted to mention on this occasion, as he also fails to mention the poet who first wrote the phrase that reverberates so noisily in his vampire writings.

According to one website, source, in later life Bürger was dismissed by Franz Schiller who had the monopoly of literary fame in German, and died alone and ignored on 8 June 1797, and ‘and would probably now be completely forgotten if it were not for Bram Stoker.’ (‘“Denn die Todten reiten schnell” – Its Meaning and Origin’, at Hubpages, 14 Dec. 2013 - online; accessed 02.10.2017.) On that website the original couplet is given as, ‘Sieh hin, sieh her! der Mond-scheint hell. / Wir und die Todten reiten schnell.’ - with a variant quotation from Rossetti’s translation from the one I have given above. Thus:

“Look forth! look forth! the moon shines bright:
We and the dead gallop fast thro’ the night.

These are actually earlier lines in the poem - ll.132-32 - as consultation with the Rossetti Archive at Harvard will show - while the lines that correspond to Burger’s original phrase occur repeatedly at ll.157-59, 189-91, as show [above]. (It is rather oddly the case that Rossetti’s translation is most often quoted in illustration of Burger’s original on English-language websites - as for instance the Dracula page of Infocult: Uncanny Informatics [online; accessed 02.10.2017.]

Finally, as the Wikipedia article on “Lenore” reminds us, the following dialogue occurs between Scrooge and Marley in “A Christmas Carol”: ‘“You travel fast?” said Scrooge. “On the wings of the wind,” replied the Ghost.’ It would seem, then, that the penultimate verse from Bürger’s “Leonore” is like a klaxen note to be heard in numerous English romantic tales - a notice of the presence of death-in-life and life-in-death which is the very stuff of the supernatural tale and which, indeed, even extends into the liminal conclusion of Joyce’s great short story “The Dead”, though with the help of Bürger’s phrase. It may in fact be that Dickens is the immediate source for the translation-term ‘travel’ for reiten in the original since we have not been able to find it in any other translation. If so, Jacob Marley and Count Dracula have formed an unlikely joint-stock company in the world of English literature - or perhaps not so unlikely after all!

BS 02.02.2017

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1: “Lenore” by G. A. Bürger, trans. William Whewell
2: Dating William Whewell’s translation
3: “Les morts vont vite” (Madame de Stael, et al.)
4: The “Lenore” of Edgar Allen Poe
5: “Lenore”: The Boucicault Connection
6: Bram Stoker and Victorian Gothic Theatre

Appendix 1: “Lenore” by G. A. Bürger, translated by William Whewell

What follows are extracts from William Whewell’s translation of Bürger’s ballad - here called “Leonore”. (Taylor called her “Ellenore” and Rossetti actively grumbled about the inappropriate redaction of her name as an Italianate “Leonara”.) Whewell’s version has been supplied by Victoria Hooper in her superlative Dracula annotations at Bookdrum [online] - or, rather, framed in one of those clever boxes which supply scrolling pages of Google and Microsoft’s Internet Archive text for our delectation. (Mem., Must remember to purloin this device for Ricorso!)

On the date of authorship and date of composition of Whewell’s translation, see infra.

Lenore (1)
Lenore (1)



Lenore (1)
Lenore (1)


Available at Bookdrum’s Dracula page [online] which frames the digital text given at Google Books [online]; both accessed 01.10.2017.

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Appendix 2: Dating Whewell’s translation

The copy of Whewell’s Verse Translations from the German (Cambridge 1847) given at Google Books bears the library accession stamp of the Taylor Institution of the University of Oxford University for 1951 and contains a hand-written note of older date appended to the table of contents, as follows:

Whewell's Translations 1847

Taken in conjunction with an ink-stroke in the table of contents against the title of “Leonore” - as the poem is here called (the standard English version of the name which was pointedly rejected by others including Rossetti), this seems to suggest that the date of composition as determined by Isaac Todhunter in his life of Whewell was 1817 (Vol. 1, p.374 as cited here).

The author of the manuscript note also copies a substantial passage from Todhunter’s study of 1876 in which he determines the authorship of the anonymously published Verse Translations. This substance of this note is given from the original source in Todhunter in the box below [infra] - the page reference for the longer annotation in Verse Translations being quite correctly given as p.166.

That Beethoven’s opera Fidelio (1805) was originally called  Leonore, oder Der Triumph der ehelichen Liebe adds confusion to the question of the ballad and its influence though unquestionable it was Bürger who made the name romantically popular. Works of literature and music by Maria Edgeworth, Verdi and Arnold Bennett also share the name and there is 1984 Australia “sex movie” in which the title-character of that name is ‘push[ed] into an open marriage’ by her husband according to Wikipedia’s disambiguation entry [online].


Who wrote Verse Translations from the German: including Bürger’s Lenore [...] (1847)?

In 1876, a certain Isaac Todhunter published a two-volume study of the writings of Dr. William Whewell, the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge - a famous literary don. in it he conducted some detective work on the authorship of the volume in which the English translation of Burger’s macabre ballad “Lenore” first appeared. There he writes:

In the early part of 1847, a volume appeared anonymously entitled Verse Translations from the German: including Bürger’s Lenore, Schiller’s Song of the Bell, and other Poems. The volume was published in London by John Murray; it is in octavo. The translations and the notes occupy 87 pages; the title, preface and lists of contents occupy 8 pages. The preface is peculiar on this account; two paragraphs take an impersonal form, and then the writer proceeds to say, “I have added ...”, while no name is subscribed. The authorship of this volume is known from Dr Whewell’s correspondence. (p.166)

In 1858 a litle book appeared, entitled Two Verse Translations of Burger’s Lenore; it was published at Cambridge by Macmillan and Co. It consists of 39 pages. In the preface the first paragraph of the preface to the Verse Translations .. of 1847 is repeated. The original German is give with two translations; that on the left-hand pags is the same as in the Verse Translations, and is therefore by Dr. Whewell. (p.222)

—Isaac Todhunter, William Whewell, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge: An Account of his Writings (Cambridge UP 1876; digital version 2011) - online

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Appendix 3: “Les morts vont vite”

Facebook friends remind me of a number of other-language texts which either reference or resemble Burger’s ballad. Firstly, there is Goethe’s  Erlkonig [Erl King] which Brian Ings cites in full:
Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?
Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind;
Er hat den Knaben wohl in dem Arm,
Er faßt ihn sicher, er hält ihn warm.

“Mein Sohn, was birgst du so bang dein Gesicht?” –
“Siehst, Vater, du den Erlkönig nicht?
Den Erlenkönig mit Kron und Schweif?” –
“Mein Sohn, es ist ein Nebelstreif."

“Du liebes Kind, komm, geh mit mir!
Gar schöne Spiele spiel’ ich mit dir;
Manch’ bunte Blumen sind an dem Strand,
Meine Mutter hat manch gülden Gewand.” –
“Mein Vater, mein Vater, und hörest du nicht,
Was Erlenkönig mir leise verspricht?" –
"Sei ruhig, bleibe ruhig, mein Kind;
In dürren Blättern säuselt der Wind.” –

“Willst, feiner Knabe, du mit mir gehn?
Meine Töchter sollen dich warten schön;
Meine Töchter führen den nächtlichen Reihn,
Und wiegen und tanzen und singen dich ein.” –

“Mein Vater, mein Vater, und siehst du nicht dort
Erlkönigs Töchter am düstern Ort?” –
“Mein Sohn, mein Sohn, ich seh’ es genau:
Es scheinen die alten Weiden so grau. –”
"“ch liebe dich, mich reizt deine schöne Gestalt;
Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch’ ich Gewalt.” –
“Mein Vater, mein Vater, jetzt faßt er mich an!
Erlkönig hat mir ein Leids getan!“ –

Dem Vater grauset’s, er reitet geschwind,
Er hält in Armen das ächzende Kind,
Erreicht den Hof mit Müh’ und Not;
In seinen Armen das Kind war tot.

Neil Mann reports that Kenneth Koch was fond of citing Bürger’s famous line in his own poetry - but in French. He writes: ‘Madame de Stael mentions it in De l’Allemagne, translating as “Les morts vont vites, les morts vont vite”.’ He further writes that the ballad was translated into French by Gérard de Nerval in five different versions as well as by Stendhal and Hugo, remarking that the form of translation established by Madame de Stael predominates in all of their efforts (‘the alliteration no doubt helps.’) According to Neil it was also turned into a play by the Cogniard brothers as Lénore; ou, les morts vont vite (1843) a piece which Stoker might have known. Also mentioned here are a painting of 1825–30 by Ary Scheffer entitled Les morts vont vite (in Lille and Paris) and another by Horace Vernet (Nantes) of an 1839 called La ballade de Lénore ou les Morts vont vite while Alexandre Dumas (fils) wrote a novel on the theme as Les morts vont vite (1861). 

Cogniard Freres [...]
Cogniard Freres

It appears that the Coignard Frères have deviated massively from the plot of Bürger’s ballad in supplying an entire social milieu for Lenore’s love and loss - and in finally bring her beloved back to her by means of the device of a mislaid letters: “O! que je suis heureuse!” This may be the worst perversion of a good noir story in existence and a complete betrayal of the spirit of Gothic and the Romantic movement as whole - or, rather, a ruinous exchange which replaces full-blown European Romanticism with sentimentalism of the cheapest music-hall French kind. It is hard to find words to described the vulgarity of this theatrical fiasco - though perhaps the brothers had it in mind to put all to right for poor Lenore ... Thank goodness the Germans had the backbone to show the French the real meaning of multiculturalism five years later! [BS 3 Oct. 2017.]

Available at Google Books - online.

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Appendix 4: The “Lenore” of Edgar Allen Poe

How is Edgar Allen Poe’s “Lenore” related to the others descended from Gottfried August Bürger’s great ballad? Given the dearth of any plot-connection with the other, it can neither be called a translation or a redaction nor even the product of influence of any significant kind. It appears, in fact, that the very name Leonara/Lenore has taken on a huge emotional charge which could be exploded any way you wished. It happens that Henry James’s title-phrase in a late novel clearly comes from the ‘the golden bowl’ Poe’s poem - a phrase whose meaning is as evocative as it is illusive. Generally, the procedure of Poe’s poem can be called symbolist: that is, it creates an effect through language without necessarily submitting to the logic of plot and character.

There has always been some speculation as to the identity of Guy De Vere, seemingly the widowed husband of the title-personage. There is no ballad, saga or legend in which such a person appears, though he certainly sounds like an escapee from Sir Walter Scott if not Alfred Lord Tennyson. Possibly, in fact, he is an imaginary kinsman of the Anglo-Irish family of de Veres of Chevy Chase in Co. Limerick (Ireland) who pumped out a good deal of poetry in the same period. Chevy Chase, the family home was, apparently, named after the famous English-Scottish borderland ballad which first appeared in Thomas Percy’s Reliques (1765) - adding a further element of circularity to the tale.

It is, of course, the tale of Percy, Earl of Northumberland, and the eponymous Scottish Earl of Douglas. And, if Percy may be considered a forebear of the English bishop-anthologist - and probably the reason for his folkloric researches - then Douglas happens to have been the forebear of the Scottish grandee in whose house the young Walter Scott first heard Bürger’s ballad being recited by xxx in William Taylor’s version in 1790 or shortly thereafter. Poe’s “Lenore” here follows.

Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
Let the bell toll! - a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river -
And, Guy De Vere, hast thou no tear? - weep now or never more!
See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!
Come! let the burial rite be read -the funeral song be sung! -
An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young -
A dirge for her, the doubly dead in that she died so young.

“Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride,
And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her -that she died!
How shall the ritual, then, be read? -the requiem how be sung
By you -by yours, the evil eye, -by yours, the slanderous tongue
That did to death the innocence that died, and died so young?”
Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song

Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong!
The sweet Lenore hath “gone before,”with Hope, that flew beside,
Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy bride -
For her, the fair and debonnaire, that now so lowly lies,
The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes -
The life still there, upon her hair -the death upon her eyes.

Avaunt! tonight my heart is light. No dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight with a paean of old days!
Let no bell toll! -lest her sweet soul, amid its hallowed mirth,
Should catch the note, as it doth float up from the damned Earth.
To friends above, from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven -
From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven -
From grief and groan to a golden throne beside the King of Heaven."
Online Literature > Edgar Allen Poe - online; accessed 03.10.2017.
Golden Bowl book Golden Bowl film

Henry James, The Golden Bowl (1904); filmed by James Ivory (2000), with Kate Beckinsale & Nick Nolte

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Appendix 4: “Lenore” Bibliography in Wikipedia

The following bibliography is given in the notes to Wikipedia article on “Lenore”:
  • Arnold, Ben (2002). The Liszt companion. United States of America: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 434. ISBN 978-0-313-30689-1.
  • Bagby, Lewis (1990). Alexander Bestuzhevmarlinsky. Penn State Press. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-271-02613-8.
  • Bluestein, G. (1963). ‘The Advantages of Barbarism: Herder and Whitman’s Nationalism’. Journal of the History of Ideas. 24 (1): 115–126. JSTOR 2707862.
  • Peter Drews, G.A. Bürger’s Lenore in the Slavic (pre-)Romantic era (in German) [external link]
  • Dracula. Bram Stoker, 1897. Chapter 1.
  • Oliver Farrar Emerson, The Earliest English Translations of Bürger’s Lenore: A Study in English and German Romanticism [Cleveland: Western Reserve Univ. Press 1915].
  • Fürst, Marion (2007-06-07). ‘Maria Theresia Paradis’. Musik und Gender im Internet (in German). Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  • Garland, Henry; Mary Garland (1997). The Oxford Companion to German Literature. United States: Oxford University Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-19-815896-7.
  • ‘Gottfried August Bürger’. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  • ‘Illustrationen’ (in German). G.A. Bürger und sein Museum. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
  • ‘Interview with Bram Stoker about Dracula’. British Weekly. 1897-07-01. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
  • ‘Joachim Raff: Symphony No.5 Lenore’. Joachim Raff Society. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  • José Escobar (1986). ‘La literatura alemana en el Romanticismo español: la balada ‘Lenore’ de G. A. Bürger’(PDF). Actas del IX Congreso de la Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas (in Spanish). Centro Virtual Cervantes. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  • ‘Karl von Holtei’. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  • Kamila Vránková, Variations and Transformations of the ’Lenore’ Motif in European Ballads [external link].
  • Lee, Marti. ‘The Germanic Invasion: Bürger’s Ballads and Their Influence on English writers’. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  • Martina Ožbot (2007-10-04). ‘Prešeren as a translator of Bürger’s Lenore and the development of Slovene poetry’(PDF). The Role of Translation in the Development of Slovenian Language and Literature. University of Ljubljana. p. 19. Retrieved 2010-09-11.
  • Northcote, Sydney (2008). The Songs of Henri Duparc. Brewster Press. pp. 45–46. ISBN 978-1-4437-3124-9.
  • ‘Poets Associated with Scott’s An Apology for Tales of Terror’. An Apology for Tales of Terror. The Walter Scott Digital Archive. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  • Robertson, John George (1970). A history of German literature. Blackwood. pp. 246–247. ISBN 978-0-85158-103-3. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  • Roper, Derek (1978). Reviewing before the Edinburgh, 1788-1802. University of Delaware Press. p. 259. ISBN 978-0-87413-128-4.
  • Rossetti, Dante Gabriel (2009). Lenore. BiblioBazaar. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-110-41831-2.
  • Summers, August Montague (1960). The Vampire, His Kith and Kin. Forgotten Books. p. 240. ISBN 978-1-60506-566-3. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
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See Wikipedia online.

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Appendix 5: The Boucicault Connection

Neil Mann writes [in reply to BS]:

[...] “The dead travel fast” seems to originate in 1852 with Dion Boucicault in a production of The Corsican Brothers starring Charles Kean. Boucicault was translating a French dramatization of the novel Les frères corses by Dumas (père). Punch’s issue of 2 October 1880 reviewed a Henry Irving revival of the play: “By the way, Mr. BOUCICAULT makes Farbbyang say, “The dead travel fast” — which is about the one good line in the piece — (only where did it come from?). ...” (p.149). Stoker was involved with this production and writes about it fully in his Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving. He must have heard it many times.

The Punch question prompted a comment in Notes and Queries which attributes it to the version of Charles Kean from 1852 — Boucicault was in Kean’s employ at this date and searching out French plays to translate — including E. Grangé and X. de Montépin’s version of the Dumas novel. The Notes & Queries comment is also reported in Punch (13 Nov. 1880) as “Burger and Boucicault”: “SINCE our notice of The Corsican Brothers at the Lyceum we have received numerous replies to the query concerning the origin of the line “The dead travel fast.” As the words in question seemed to be rather an adaptation of an idea than an exact quotation from Leonore ...”. By the way, the line also appears in Thomas Frost’s novelization The Corsican Brothers; Or, the Fatal Duel based on the drama adapted by Grangé and de Montépin from the novel by Alexandre Dumas the Elder. Frost’s book is also 1852.

—posted on Facebook, 04.10.2017; given here with minor edits.


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Appendix 6: Bram Stoker and Victorian Gothic Theatre

Catherline Wynne has given a substantial account of Stoker’s indebtedness to Boucicault’s Corsican Brothers in her recent book Bram Stoker, Dracula and the Victorian Gothic Stage (2013):

Although many of Irving’s melodramas retain their anachronistic qualities, their language, as we have seen, suffuses Stoker’s fictions. In October 1880, Punch records that the best and only line of merit in Boucicault’s The Corsican Brothers is, “The Dead Travel Fast” (Anon., 1880, p.149). The line recurs in relation to the vampire in the early chapters of Stoker’s text when one of Harker’s companions on the coach to Bukovina sees the Count arrive for Harker. (Stoker, Dracula, 1997, p.17.) [...]’

This neatly indicates that the textual inclination of our enquiry is wholly consistent with the tendency in recent theatrical research and that our guess is right: Stoker took the translation-term “travel” from his older contemporary the Anglo-Irish playwright Dion Boucicault - though, of course, the German original which he cites is entirely due to his own familiarity with, and memory of, the famous ballad. (It’s appropriately German provenance is also an issue here.)

Catherline Wynne - herself Irish and a teacher at Hull University - has edited the theatrical reviews of Stoker in the Dublin Daily Mail (Bram Stoker and the Stage (Pickering & Chatto 2012) and has also given the opening lecture in the week-long Stoker Centenary series of “The Essay” (BBC3), commencing 16 April 2012. It is worth reading her remarks on Stoker’s immersion in contemporary stage-Gothic at at greater extent:

Note: Traill is the novelist H. D. Traill, a friend of Stoker’s.
—Catherine Wynne, Bram Stoker, Dracula and the Victorian Gothic Stage (London: Palgrave Macmillan 2013), [38-40; end of Chap. 2]; available at Google Books - online; accessed 04.10.2017];

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George Eliot refers to Leonora

The Mill on the Floss (1860) - Blackwell Stereotype edition (q.d.) -
The Mill on the Floss
(p.100); available on internet at Google Books - online.

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