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Sat, 1 Apr 2023 10:16:59 -0700
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Scott Holmes <[log in to unmask]>
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Some of you are, no doubt, aware of my interest in finding commonality 
between Richard Francis Burton and Mark Twain. The closest I’ve come has 
been to compare their respective journeys across North America; Burton 
in 1860 and Sam Clemens in 1861. Other points include their interest in 
the Arabian Nights and both men had visited Baalbek. An additional point 
has recently come to my attention, that of friendship with Bram Stoker, 
the author of “Dracula” and acting manager of the renowned actor Sir 
Henry Irving.

Another book that Stoker wrote was “Personal Reminiscences of Henry 
Irving”. It has an entire chapter regarding his introduction to and 
conversations with Richard F. Burton. Some descriptions of Burton are 
thought to point directly to descriptions of Count Dracula. Of 
particular interest in regards to Burton’s character was an incident 
that occurred during Burton’s pilgrimage to Mecca. Gribben’s volume 2 of 
Literary Resources lists Burton’s “Personal Narrative of the Pilgrimage 
to El-Medinah and Mecca” as being signed by Twain, no dates mentioned. I 
would suggest that it was Stoker that suggested this book to Twain.

In regards to Count Dracula, it has been noted that there exists a 
striking similarity between a remark made by Van Helsing, in the book, 
and an entry from Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar (Following the 
Equator, Chapter 12). Van Helsing says “I heard once of an American who 
so defined faith: “that which enables us to believe things which we know 
to be untrue.”” From the calendar “Faith is believing what you know 
ain’t so.”

Mark Dawidziak gave a talk on Twain and Dracula during the fall portion 
of the 2020-2021//The Trouble Begins //Lecture Series presented by the 
Center for Mark Twain Studies. He speaks of this quotation but also 
notes that Stoker was a frequent visitor with Twain during Twain’s 
self-imposed exile at Tedworth Square, in London, England.

Other than recommending Burton’s book, I’m curious about any other 
references to Burton that Stoker might have made to Twain, in 
conversation or in letters. Letters of such late date are not available 
as text from the Mark Twain Project but there are several referenced as 

/Unaffiliated Geographer and Twain aficionado/