Ryan Milbrath's Reviews > Dracula

Dracula by Bram Stoker
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Dec 18, 11

Read from November 25 to December 18, 2011

Including “Dracula”, the Irish writer, Bram Stoker, had written twelve novels. Furthermore, Stoker wrote countless short stories and a substantial number of non-fiction works. However, when people think of Bram Stoker, people don’t often think of novels like “The Jewel of the Seven Stars,” nor do they think of “The Primrose Path.” No, I bet that the average street walker will name him as, “the dude that wrote ‘Dracula.’” For better or worse, the vampire of Transylvania has cursed and blessed Stoker with immortality that exists only through veins of this book.
“Dracula” is a epistolary novel, a novel written as a series of letters, journal entries, articles, etc. it is also horror fiction and an example of Victorian culture. It contained characters like the immortal and evil Dracula and the resolute, incorruptible Van Helsing, which would influence the genre of horror for years to come. “Dracula” is a novel which heralded the reign of vampires as one of the corner stones of modern horror. One might debate the merits of seeing Kiefer Sutherland and Robert Pattinson bringing vampires to life (no pun intended) on the celluloid screen, however, one can not deny the power of influence “Dracula” has played in American culture.
“Dracula” is simply not just a horror novel. If it was, Bram Stoker would have cut the novel down to around 150 pages and called it a day. No, this text almost reads like a guide to Victorian ethos written in a form to be digested by the masses. “Dracula” like all vampires after him, reek of sexual power. Most vampire stories appear to be secretly about sex, and “Dracula” seems to create the lasting blue print for it. In the 375 page novel (which was cut down from the original over 500 page manuscript), Stoker examines the corruptibility of the soul to desire. Outside of Count Dracula, Stoker seems more concerned with the “weakness” of the female will. Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, Jonathen Harker, and the other crew members are always concerned about saving the souls of Lucy and Mina. In fact, over 150 pages are devoted to brooding moments of concern about big bad Dracula obeying his carnal desires to suck the life out of these women; thereby creating an army of devoted, blood-sucking females.
Therein lies my problem with the novel. It’s a long treatise on preserving the purity of the female soul. It takes four men of stalwart will to destroy “Dracula” (who I tend to think represents sexual desire in general) for the betterment of females everywhere. Primitivism shall not reign in place of Victorian ethos – its heart will be pierced and its head cut off and stuffed with garlic. “Dracula” is one of the most influential books of 19th and 20th centuries. Even now, we live in the age of Twilight. We constantly battle with our desires, and it truly takes an incorruptible Van Helsing to destroy these for us.
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Reading Progress

12/01/2011 page 156
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael Your review on Dracula is quite interesting. I read Dracula many moons ago and if my two cents counts here it does touch on woman in the Victorian culture. If you look at the History of when this book was written the British had reached its military peak. Victorian readers of the time were sick of reading the next British Conquest. They wanted adventure in there lives and Dracula gave them a tale of creatures threating the British Empire. How about H.G. Wells book The Time Machine,War of the Worlds. Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island or Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde all written at about the same time Dracula was being published. Rudyard Kipling The Man who would be King, and King Solomons Mines.Dracula set the tone. Its to bad the American reader had to wait until they made it into a movie in the 21st century to appreciate the book. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.


Ryan Milbrath Good points Michael. I would agree that in most of the books that you mentioned these were stories intended to capture the imaginations and attention of British audiences. They were also meant to extol the virtues of Victorianism. They were also all male authors writing about how females should feel, act, or behave in situations that threatened their lives. THAT is what I find most interesting.


message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael I agree with you completely brother. What Bram Stoker did in Dracula gave the woman of the Victorian age a novel to explore there sexuality and lose there female innocence. For example, the two main characters Mina and Lucy have two paths to take either pure or be regarded as a whore. Both these women are pure naive and dependent on their husbands. The woman are ideal Victorian woman. What Bram does with Dracula is he succeeds into turning these Ladies into vampires, this willfully releases their sexuality. This is a no no in Victorian age because she has obtained power.I think there is another example when the rape of Harker by three weird sisters happen. Again, the woman take the dominating role that a traditional Victorian man is suppose to possess.If you read between the lines I believe Bram Stoker's Dracula is not about darkness and vampires but the loss of female innocence. A trait which was important to men of that time. I can just see the poor woman of the Victorian age who doubts having sex with only one person while it was acceptable for her husband to have multipule partners. Victorian Literature are full of woman paying dearly for straying from moral expectations. Adulterous met tragic ends in novels such as Ann Kareina by Tolstoy, and maybe you can help me on this book by Thomas Hardy a woman punished by her town for losing her virginity before marriage and thats because she was raped. Yes my friend Dracula was the equivalent of a romance novel for many woman of the Victorian age who needed some spicing up on there lives. Put that in your pipe and smoke that.


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