You can find an alternative cover edition for this ISBN here and here.
When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes a series of horrific discoveries about his client. Soon afterwards, various bizarre incidents unfold in England: an apparently unmanned ship is wrecked off the coast of Whitby; a young woman discovers strange puncture marks on her neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the 'Master' and his imminent arrival.
In Dracula, Bram Stoker created one of the great masterpieces of the horror genre, brilliantly evoking a nightmare world of vampires and vampire hunters and also illuminating the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.
This Norton Critical Edition includes a rich selection of background and source materials in three areas: Contexts includes probable inspirations for Dracula in the earlier works of James Malcolm Rymer and Emily Gerard. Also included are a discussion of Stoker's working notes for the novel and "Dracula's Guest," the original opening chapter to Dracula. Reviews and Reactions reprints five early reviews of the novel. "Dramatic and Film Variations" focuses on theater and film adaptations of Dracula, two indications of the novel's unwavering appeal. David J. Skal, Gregory A. Waller, and Nina Auerbach offer their varied perspectives. Checklists of both dramatic and film adaptations are included.
Criticism collects seven theoretical interpretations of Dracula by Phyllis A. Roth, Carol A. Senf, Franco Moretti, Christopher Craft, Bram Dijkstra, Stephen D. Arata, and Talia Schaffer.
A Chronology and a Selected Bibliography are included.
He was born Abraham Stoker in 1847 at 15 Marino Crescent – then as now called "The Crescent" – in Fairview, a coastal suburb of Dublin, Ireland. His parents were Abraham Stoker and the feminist Charlotte Mathilda Blake Thornely. Stoker was the third of seven children. Abraham and Charlotte were members of the Clontarf Church of Ireland parish and attended the parish church (St. John the Baptist located on Seafield Road West) with their children, who were both baptised there.
Stoker was an invalid until he started school at the age of seven — when he made a complete and astounding recovery. Of this time, Stoker wrote, "I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years."
After his recovery, he became a normal young man, even excelling as an athlete (he was named University Athlete) at Trinity College, Dublin (1864 – 70), from which he graduated with honours in mathematics. He was auditor of the College Historical Society and president of the University Philosophical Society, where his first paper was on "Sensationalism in Fiction and Society".
In 1876, while employed as a civil servant in Dublin, Stoker wrote a non-fiction book (The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, published 1879) and theatre reviews for The Dublin Mail, a newspaper partly owned by fellow horror writer J. Sheridan Le Fanu. His interest in theatre led to a lifelong friendship with the English actor Henry Irving. He also wrote stories, and in 1872 "The Crystal Cup" was published by the London Society, followed by "The Chain of Destiny" in four parts in The Shamrock.
In 1878 Stoker married Florence Balcombe, a celebrated beauty whose former suitor was Oscar Wilde. The couple moved to London, where Stoker became business manager (at first as acting-manager) of Irving's Lyceum Theatre, a post he held for 27 years. The collaboration with Irving was very important for Stoker and through him he became involved in London's high society, where he met, among other notables, James McNeil Whistler, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In the course of Irving's tours, Stoker got the chance to travel around the world.
The Stokers had one son, Irving Noel, who was born on December 31, 1879.
Bram Stoker died in 1912, and was cremated and his ashes placed in a display urn at Golders Green Crematorium. After Irving Noel Stoker's death in 1961, his ashes were added to that urn. The original plan had been to keep his parents' ashes together, but after Florence Stoker's death her ashes were scattered at the Gardens of Rest. See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bram_Stoker
Shockingly, not a whole hell of a lot of vampire stuff up in this bitch. Mostly, it read like a dull travelogue with lots of emotions. Bro love! Bro love everywhere! All the men loved all the women (platonically or otherwise) to the point they were willing to give their lives for whichever lucky lady was Dracula's snack at the time. It was quite the love fest. Quite frankly, I'm not sure I'm buying that, Stoker.
And Dracula? Not since Gary Olman's beehived old woman portrayal have I been less scared of this character.
Welcome to my home. Allow me to get you some Entenmann's coffee cake whilst you peruse my garage sale knick-knack collection and trip over my cats...
So, I've come to realize that very few of the classic characters or stories even remotely resemble what you think they will based on their modern counterparts. And in my uneducated opinion, most classics just aren't all that much fun to read. They're boring and filled up with tedious shit that I don't care about, and certainly don't want to read about. <-- Scenery, weather, random feelings about the scenery or weather, etc.. I guess back in the day it was high fun to take walks, look at the landscape, and then go back home and write about it in your diary. And while I'm sure that sounds like heaven to some people who yearn for simpler times, the idea of reading about the nonsense of someone else's daily life makes me want to scratch my eyes out.
Something I was surprised by, although in retrospect I shouldn't have been, was all the religious undertones in the story. Ok, yes. I knew Dracula was evil and couldn't be near crosses and whatnot, but I didn't think about this being a casually religious story about saving souls from damnation.
Which, I mean, it's not like it was any fault of the vampires that they were dammed. At one time or another, they had all been humans who were targeted by another vampire as a snack. Vicious cycle and all that. And poor Lucy seemingly ended up a chew toy simply because she was a sleepwalker. Perhaps the moral of the story is that you need to make sure you aren't wandering around on moors at night so you don't get spotted by anemic monsters?
Speaking of Lucy, did anyone else notice how incredibly fucking lucky she was that every single guy in their group was a compatible blood type for her? All those blood transfusions! None of them even remotely hygienic or safe. Forget supernatural demons who turn into bats - those transfusions were the scariest shit in this entire book.
Ok. There were a lot of characters and POV switches. Again, most of what they were saying wasn't all that interesting, so it made me doubly happy that I decided to go with the audiobook version of Stoker's tale.
If I'm being 100% honest here, I probably zoned out a few times and daydreamed about when I needed to get the oil changed in my car or what we were having for dinner. But this is one of those books with a lot of superfluous information, so I don't think it hurt anything. I got the gist of it all ok without hanging on every word.
Fair warning, the first half of this book is unbelievably dull. Mina writes in her diary about how she fretts over Jonathan's lack of letters from Transylvania & how hard it is to keep Lucy from wandering out the door at night, Lucy gets mysteriously ill & her fiancee gets worried, and the doctor dude (John Seward) moons over Lucy & watches one of his psychotic patients eat bugs. Renfield, being the only character in the book that doesn't want to talk about friendship & loyalty every five minutes, was by far my favorite.
The second half of the book was only slightly more engaging to me, but at least there was a bit of urgency to it at that point. Van Helsing was on to Dracula, so garlic was being thrown over everything, stakes were being handed out like candy, and anything pertinent was being kept from Mina so as not to upset her delicate sensibilities. And then when that backfired spectacularly, they cut her into the loop and she was able to do an old-timey version of what a competent woman looked like. They even compared her brains to that of a man! <--I love these old books. Really.
And what about Dracula? Well, he was sort of this shadow figure that lurked around the edges of the book. You never really meet him. I know, right?! What about the whole Vlad the Impaler thing? How he fixated on Johathan & Mina for some reason? Buzzz! Nope.
Ok, get this: Dracula had been sort of like a special needs zombie who was finally learning stuff - like math...and how to employ minions to carry his dirt around for him. Apparently, up to this point, he had just been harassing his neighbors and nibbling on Romanian women. This whole thing with Lucy & Mina was supposed to be his bid at going global. Thank god for Van Helsing and his wacky foreign-man knowledge of urban legends.
I guess one of the oddest things that I realized about this horror story was that when Lucy & Mina started turning toward the dark side, they got sexy. Yeah. Like, that was how you could tell they were creatures of the dammed. The men got all freaked out and weepy because their sweet, mild-mannered ladies lost their wholesome looks. They became wanton hussies with throaty voices and pouty lips. Holy shit, right? If that doesn't say something about how wackadoo things used to be, I don't know what will. Innocence or else!
Anyway. This wasn't really a fun read but I'm glad I can finally say I've managed to put it behind me. Plus, it's one of those weird little windows into the past that reminds you things aren't as bad as they could be. I'd definitely recommend listening to the audio version with Tim Curry & Alan Cumming if you decide to go that route. The entire voice cast of this one really helped make it palatable for someone like myself who doesn't have the fortitude to read classics on their own.
I find Victorian horror so interesting as a microcosm of reaction to social norms of the time, to the buttoned-down and repressed social climate of the time, to the “new moral standards” of the church and the new questions brought up and hidden away by scientific thought. But under the fabric of late Victorian society lay wide ranges of change; the increased marriage rate and idea of the domestic sphere for women giving way to the New Woman, the upper class vs. lower class divide giving way to a new middle class. With the growth of the economy came new ideas of English excellence; with the growth of scientific thought, scientific racism.
Literature, as is usual, struggles to react. With a growing counterculture in literature came the reaction to such; at the trial of author Oscar Wilde, passages from his only novel were read to prove that he liked men. Soon after, Bram Stoker, formerly his acquaintance, began writing Dracula.
The result is a book drenched in fear of the unknown: In xenophobia of the time, in homophobia, and in the anxieties that come when that who embodies both appears. That is what sticks with me, to this day, about Dracula.
1. It is a really great and creepy story that deserves classic status 2. Everything is repeated soooooo much without any obvious benefit.
Here is actual footage of Bram Stoker writing this novel:
If Stoker had just got to the point, this book would have been much more exciting and suspenseful. I understand the exact same mysterious thing happens night after night. I understand that Dracula has some boxes of dirt. I get that you brought Winchester rifles along for protection. Each of these things was repeated ad nauseam throughout the book. Talk about killing the pace - by the time the gruesome scares came I was very disengaged.
Also, funny thing about this book as a horror story - it must be the grandfather of heading up the stairs to hide instead of running outside or cutting through the graveyard shortly after hearing a serial killer is loose. They keep leaving people alone even though those people are repeatedly attacked when they are left alone. Then, when they finally insist on guarding someone, that person insists that they need no one but God to guard them!? Seems like so far God had not been interested in protecting, so why count on him starting now!?
So three stars because it is a classic and I like the story. I especially like Lucy's suitors - their gung ho manliness amuses me. But the repetition and the illogical behavior in the face of a bloodsucking monster are the cause of the removal of a couple of stars.
Dracula: the very name instantly brings to mind visions of vampires, stakes, garlic, and crucifixes. Yet, when one bothers to read the novel, it becomes self-evident how twisted modern vampire fiction now is.
Vampires are not meant to inhabit the roles of heroes. Go back a few hundred years and men believed truly that the vampire was a real immortal, cursed to quench his undying thirst with a living mortal’s blood. The very idea of a blood drinker should, therefore, inspire the image of a villain within the mind. And that is what the titular character of this novel is.
The word novel is not used lightly, as one could also write that this is a collaboration of journals, letters and papers. For that is how Bram Stoker chose to fashion his famous novel (in epistolary form). While the different viewpoints through each journal serve to create suspense which suits the gothic tone of the novel perfectly.
In all, it is a macabre novel that serves to make the reader reflect upon good and evil. The vampire, to me, is nothing more than an indication of man’s cursed nature. Who, unless he is delivered, must suck the life from others around him. Ultimately only the righteous can destroy the darkness that serves to drain life. That is the lesson which Bram Stoker's timeless classic unswervingly conveys.
I was rather disappointed by this classic. It started out with promise, especially the Jonathan Harker bits. Then all the male characters descended into blubbering worshippers of the two female characters, and by the end of the novel, I was wishing Dracula could snack on all of them and be done with it. I kept having to put it aside and read chapters in between other books, but I managed to finish it at last.
Dracula is, of course, one of the most renowned horror stories, and the most well-known vampire novel. Bram Stoker set the ground rules for what a vampire should be, and set the benchmark for all other writers of the vampire afterwards. Indeed, if tyrannical villains are a necessity of Gothic fiction then Count Dracula is the father of all gothic villains, in spite of it being one of the last Gothic fiction novels to be written. It’s a work of genius that his presence is felt so strongly in the novel with him appearing in the flesh so rarely.
"His face was a strong, a very strong, aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils, with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples but profusely elsewhere. His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in its own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth. These protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years. For the rest, his ears were pale, and at the tops extremely pointed. The chin was broad and strong, and the cheeks firm though thin. The general effect was one of extraordinary pallor.
The atmosphere of the novel is unmistakably gothic. It is impossible to talk about Dracula without mentioning the Gothic; the two are one and the same. The decaying castle in which the book begins is testimony to the eeriness that follows. The "damsel in distress" motif appears quite often in Gothic literature, and none so much as Dracula. Mina and Lucy are both damsels at some point, and even Harker himself can be seen as one at the start when he is rescued by his wife that has a “man’s brain.” It’s quite a subversion of the standard gender roles, at this point, and quite funny really.
On initial inspection the plot of the book can be summed up in a few short sentences: Dracula wishes to create more vampires in Victorian London; his attempts are thwarted and he and his kind are exterminated. But, the novel is so much more than that. It represents Victorian fears and fancies; it is a comment on women’s position in society and underpins their sexual desires (and perhaps fears.) It suggests a struggle between modernity and science with religion and superstition. It harbours the effect of Darwinian thought on man as Dracula himself represent the idea of “survival of the fittest.” The undertones of sexuality and disease that occur so frequently symbolise the time in which it was written. Each one of these has been a topic for commentaries on Dracula, and academic essays.
Indeed, the extrinsic value of this novel is incredibly high. Bram Stoker also explores the theme of sanity with many of his characters, not just Renfield. At some point, every character wonders whether their dealings with the Count are born from some mental deficiency rather than a paranormal encountering with the villain. This clashes the Victorian realism view with the paranormal events that occur in the novel. There are also issues of identity, and how this is affected by transgression. It can further be seen as an allegory for religious redemption and a comment on colonisation.
I think I’ve said enough; if I say anything else I will break my “500 words a review” rule. As you can probably tell I’m quite passionate about this book: it is brilliant; at this point, I can honestly say that Dracula is one of my favourite novels of all time: I just love it. I might even write my dissertation on it and Gothic Literature.
Managed to finish this :) Second time studying, but first successful read-through. I enjoyed it more this time around, mainly because I actually read the last quarter or so of the book, which was the most enjoyable in my opinion.
مصاصي الدماء..ما اكثرهم في واقعنا..تأمل قليلا في المقربين منك..و ستكون محظوظا حقا لو لم تجد فامبير جفف مشاعرك و مواردك أولا باول؛قبل ان يجفف الدماء من عروقك مرارا
هي رواية تغذي بداخلك ذلك الشعور الموروث غير مبرر : الخوف بلا منطق ولا نهاية. . بل ونجد فيه متعة و ندفع المال لنرتجف بين صفحات تلك الرواية الدموية التى تحكي و تحكي و تظل تحكي عن ذلك الوغد الروماني السادي الذي يضع رؤوس اعداؤه على مائدة افطاره! !ا💀
دراكولا تعني "الشيطاني" بالرومانية فقد فاز الكونت فلاد الولاشي باللقب بعد ان سعى اليه كالخراتيت العنيدة ..في الواقع والرواية.
تروى القصة على لسان المحامي البريطاني جونثان هاركر الذي يذهب في رحلة لقلعة الكونت في ترانسلفانيا ..لتحل عليه الللعنة هو و كل من يعرفه او قال له صباح الخير يوما ما نجد نفسنا تحت رحمة عشر أبطال بتقاليدهم الثرية و عباراتهم العتيقة .. برام ستوكر "زميل"لنا؛ اي كان ناقدا لعشر سنوات ثم تحول لمؤلف لذا جاءت الرواية مثالية البناء ..الشخصيات متكاملة..الاقناع تدريجي...الرعب في اناقة الكونتيسات
...هناك تطويل بالطبع ليعرف البطل كم كان ساذجا عندما ضحك من كلمة فامبير ..و رؤية فرانسيس كوبولا في فيلم 1992أمسكت بروح الرواية و قدمتها كما لم يحلم ستوكر نفسه... عدا المبالغة في رومانسية دراكولا
لكن ستظل" دراكولا "اول رواية كاملة عن تلك الأسطورة الضاربة في القدم ..رواية ساهمت في تنشيط السياحة في رومانيا لأكثر من قرن كامل .🏰
Dracula (Dracula of Stoker Family #1), Bram Stoker
Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. It introduced Count Dracula, and established many conventions of subsequent vampire fantasy.
The novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to move from Transylvania to England so that he may find new blood and spread the undead curse, and of the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and a woman led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.
The story is told in epistolary format, as a series of letters, diary entries, newspaper articles, and ships' log entries, whose narrators are the novel's protagonists, and occasionally supplemented with newspaper clippings relating events not directly witnessed.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز نوزدهم ماه می سال 2003میلادی
عنوان: دراکولا؛ نویسنده: برام استوکر؛ مترجم: جمشید اسکندانی؛ تهران، نشر ثالث، 1376؛ در دو جلد؛ شابک دوره دو جلدی 9649056610؛ چاپ دوم 1378؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایرلند - سده 19م
مشهورترین داستان «برام استوکر»، نویسنده ی «ایرلند» است، که به واسطه ی حضور شخصیت خون آشامی به نام «کنت دراکولا»، بر سر زبانها افتاد؛ «برام استوکر» در سال 1890میلادی، در «لندن»، با «آرمینیوس وامبری»، شرقشناس «مجارستانی»، آشنا، و از آن راه با افسانه های شاهزاده «ولاد سوم دراکولا»، اهل «رومانی»، آشنا گردید؛ همین امر، زمینه ی نوشتن داستان «دراکولا»، به قلم «برام استوکر» گشت، که در سال 1897میلادی منتشر شد
پیش از آغاز به نگارش داستان، «استوکر» هشت سال را، به پژوهش و بررسی، در فرهنگهای «اروپا»، و خواندن افسانه های مربوط به خون آشامان کرده بودند؛ داستان «دراکولا»، به صورت یک رشته مکاتبات، و صفحاتی از دفتر یادمانهای شخصیتهای داستان، روایت میشود؛ «دراکولا»، اشرافزاده ی تنها، و مرموزی است، که همه ی دوروبری های خود را، از دست داده، همچنین یکی از شخصیتهای داستان، به نام «جاناتان هارکر»، آنگاه که وارد قصر «کُنت دراکولا» میشود، با برخورد مودبانه، و احترام آمیز او، رودررو میگردد؛ براساس یادداشتهای «جاناتان هارکر»، جناب «کنت دراکولا»، کتاب خواندن را دوست دارند، و صاحب کتابخانه ای بسیار بزرگ، و غنی، از کتب با ارزش و کهن هستند؛ به گفته ی خود «دراکولا»: کتابهایش بهترین دوستانش هستند، و در هر شرایطی، او را یاری کرده اند؛ «کنت دراکولا» موجودی تنهاست، و خود ایشان میگویند: (به علت از دست دادن عزیزان بیشماری از سالها پیش، با شادی و شادمانی وداع گفته، و در حال حاضر، در دنیای تاریکی از غم و اندوه، زندگی میکنم، که خوشی و خوشحالی در آن جایی ندارد)؛ پایان نقل
تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 06/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 29/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
I believe this may be the edition I read "first". This is an amazing book. I've read reviews by those who disagree and reviews by those who hated the format. But I was swept up in it the first time I read it as a teen and have been every time since.
My advice is don't worry about all the psychological baggage that has been tacked on over the years...and please don't confuse the movie "Bram Stoker's Dracula" with the actual plot, story, and characters in the book. It doesn't remotely resemble the book and the title has galled me since that movie came out. The book is far, far better. I believe it's worth noting that a lot of the psychological baggage that has been attached to this volume probably tells you more about the ones attaching it than the book.
This book creates a horror atmosphere that has been copied constantly over the years but never quite captured again. You'll be experiencing with Harker the castle and what he faces there. Battling the Count in England...and the terror of the ship's crew that carried his earth boxes across the sea, all will stay with you. Again let me urge you no matter how well any movie has been done, if the movie Dracula is the only one you know, you haven't met the proto-vampire who resides in this book. He/it still walks through literature and even more in the dark fears that lurk in the back of our minds when we're alone on a stormy night or we have to walk alone past that old rundown graveyard (not cemetery) where the city has never gotten around to installing those street lights.
This isn't Twilight, nor is it Buffy the vampire Slayer, there aren't any friendly, helpful, romantic vampires here. (None sparkle either) There is quite probably a reason (or maybe more than one) why we wish so badly to laugh at this book. It does what it does very, very well...and that's be frightening.
This book is a classic that has been around for over a hundred years..there's a reason for that.
"We" just read this in the Supernatural Readers group...and I still like it. LOL
'Welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely. And leave something of the happiness you bring!'
These are pretty much the first words spoken to Jonathan Harker, one of the heroes of Bram Stoker's Dracula, upon his arrival at Count Dracula's castle in Transylvania, just minutes after a nightmare journey through the landscape of gothic horror: darkness, howling wolves, flames erupting out of the blue, frightened horses. Within a few days of his arrival, Harker will find himself talking of the Count's 'wickedly blazing eyes' and 'new schemes of villainy' and have some hair-raising encounters with the man who is now the world's most famous vampire: 'The last I saw of Count Dracula was his kissing his hand to me, with a red light of triumph in his eyes, and with a smile that Judas in hell might be proud of.' Several adventures involving sharp teeth, mirrors, garlic, crucifixes, bloody-mouthed corpses and big stakes will ensue.
The above quotations should make it abundantly clear what kind of book Dracula is. It's sensation fiction, written nearly half a century after the heyday of that genre. It's a cross between an epistolary novel, a detective novel and a save-my-wife story, and it's full of scares, horror and disgust, all described in a lurid tone that befits the subject: the living dead. Or the Un-Dead, as the book's other hero, my countryman Van Helsing, calls them.
Sadly, Van Helsing is one of my main problems with the book. While I love his heroism, his 'Let's-do-it' attitude and his unceasing struggle for Mina's soul, I find him entirely unconvincing as a Dutchman. I wish to God (with a crucifix and everything!) that I could switch off my inner linguist and appreciate the story for its narrative qualities rather than its linguistic aspects, but Stoker has Van Helsing indulge in so many linguistic improbabilities ('Are you of belief now, friend John?') that it quite took me out of the story, again and again and again. I'm aware this is not a problem that will bother many readers, but I for one dearly wish Stoker had listened to some actual Dutchmen before making the hero of his story one. Then perhaps he also would have refrained from making the poor man mutter German whenever he is supposed to speak his mother tongue. ('Mein Gott' is German, Mr Stoker. I mean, really.)
Linguistic inaccuracies aside (there are many in the book), Dracula has a few more problems. For one thing, the bad guy doesn't make enough appearances. Whenever Stoker focuses on Dracula, the story comes alive -- menace drips off the pages, and the reader finds himself alternately shivering with excitement and recoiling in horror. However, when Dracula is not around (which is most of the second half of the book), the story loses power, to the point where the second half of the book is actually quite dull. In addition, the story seems a little random and unfocused. Remember the 1992 film, in which Dracula obsesses about Mina Harker (Jonathan's wife) because she is his long-lost wife reincarnated? That conceit had grandeur, romance, passion, tragedy. And what was more, it made sense. It explained why Dracula comes all the way from Transylvania to England to find Mina, and why he wants to make her his bride despite the fact that she is being protected by people who clearly want him dead. In the book, however, Mina is merely Jonathan's wife (no reincarnation involved), a random lady Dracula has sunk his teeth into, and while this entitles her to some sympathy, it lacks the grand romantic quality the film had. I guess it's unfair to blame an author for not thinking of an improvement film-makers later made to his story, but I think Stoker rather missed an opportunity there.
And then there's the fact that Stoker seems to be an early proponent of the Robert Jordan School of Writing, meaning he takes an awful lot of time setting the scene, only to end the book on a whimper. The ending to Dracula is so anticlimactic it's rather baffling. Did Stoker run out of paper and ink? Did he want to finish the story before Dracula's brides came and got him? I guess we'll never know.
Still, despite its many flaws Dracula is an exciting read (well, the first half is, anyway), and Stoker undeniably left a legacy that will last for centuries to come. In that respect, Dracula deserves all the praise that has been heaped on it. I still think it could have been better, though. Much better.
Los libros rara vez me provocan carcajadas y nunca miedo, algún desasosiego quizás, pero miedo nunca, por lo que no me ha extrañado que este tampoco me lo produjera. Por el contrario, sí me han sorprendido las pinceladas de humor que aparecen de vez en cuando (“las mujeres parecían guapas, si no te aproximabas a ellas”) o la descripción que hace del conde y que contrasta tanto con la iconografía cinematográfica. La verdad es que soy incapaz de imaginarme a Drácula con bigote y con manos anchas y dedos regordetes. También me ha llamado la atención, aunque no me ha sorprendido dado el sexo del autor y la época, la ilimitada admiración que las señoritas sienten por el género masculino y, en comparación, la poca estima que demuestran por el propio.
En conjunto, pese a la metedura de pata con temas como las transfusiones, demostrando así el gran desprecio por la ciencia que el autor sentía, o algunos hechos de la trama no bien justificados, o ese final que pareciera como si el autor, por la noche, con ganas ya de irse ya a dormir, la rematara deprisa y corriendo, me ha entretenido, sin más.
Está claro que la novela tiene la gran virtud de haber creado el mito de Drácula, lo que no está al alcance de cualquiera. Y sin embargo, el personaje fue manifiestamente mejorado con posterioridad.
Por cierto, Luis Alberto de Cuenca, nos cuenta en el prólogo de mi edición que la idea de crear al rey de los vampiros le surgió a Stoker tras cenar un indigesto centollo.
Here's an example of Stoker's writing, from Jonathan Harker's journal shortly after he was taken prisoner by Count Dracula in his castle:
"I looked out over the beautiful expanse, bathed in soft yellow moonlight till it was almost as light as day. In the soft light the distant hills became melted, and the shadows in the valleys and gorges of velvety blackness."
"But my feelings turned to repulsion and terror when I saw the whole man slowly emerge from the window and begin to crawl down the castle wall over that dreadful abyss, face down, with his cloak spreading out around him like great wings."
add to this...
"I saw fingers and toes grasp the corners of the stones, worn clear of the mortar by the stress of years, and by thus using every projection and inequality move downwards with considerable speed, just as a lizard moves along a wall."
Wow! What writing. I gave this five stars, I mean, who wouldn't? It is also in my favorites bookshelf. A must read for classic horror.
Dracula is a spooky story which begins with Jonathan Harker, an attorney who travels to Transylvania to help his client, Count Dracula, purchase a home in London. However, Dracula is behaving strangely. Will Jonathan make it out alive?
Holy smokes! This book is B-O-R-I-N-G! No wonder there are so many Dracula books and movies because almost anyone else could have done it better!
The book itself has an interesting format—it is told through various characters’ journals, telegrams, and letters.
But---oh, the writing style! Huge, long, gigantic paragraphs! Dracula reminded me of The Scarlett Letter because, although it did have some interesting elements, it was so long and drawn out. If the filler was cut out, it would have made a compelling short story.
“Friend John” was mentioned so many times…….
This is a book that is so poorly written that I am confident that I could write something better. Apparently, I am not alone in this thought as there have been many, many other versions.
I watched the 1992 film adaptation of Dracula as a teenager, (mainly for Keanu Reeves) and believed it to be close to the source material. Wow, is it not! As an avid horror reader, I still hadn't read Dracula until now, and actually thought it would be romantic 😆 Dracula is a proper nefarious villain, he's not lusting after Mina here. (No sparkly vampires, either, but that's a different book...) This novel was great, it's a classic for a reason and was a cracking finale to my 2022 reading year!
This is a classic monster tale I have enjoyed before, but could not wait to revisit as the season is rife with haunted ghouls and bloodthirsty readers!
Young solicitor Johnathan Harker finds himself travelling through the Hungarian countryside and into Romania, on his way to a castle in the heart of Transylvania. There, one Count Dracula awaits Harker and proves to be an odd, yet amenable, host. Seeking to finalise a land deal in England, Harker and Dracula talk long into the night, though the former feels that there is something odd about his host. It is only when numerous unsettling things occur that Harker realises that Count Dracula is nothing like any man he has met before and eventually escapes the confines of the castle.
Back in England, Harker’s fiancée, Mina, and her close friend, Lucy, are going through their own ordeals. Lucy Westenra suffers through significant bouts of sleepwalking. The two women travel to the seaside to clear their heads, but Lucy encounters someone the reader knows to be Dracula during one of her nocturnal jaunts and is eventually discovered with two minuscule puncture holes on her neck. Unsure of what to do, Westenra is sent to see Dr. Johnathan Seward, one of her suitors and director of the local mental hospital. When Dr. Seward cannot deduce all of these symptoms, he calls upon the renowned Dr. Abraham Van Helsing in Amsterdam to consult.
The Dutchman arrives and begins some of his early queries. He is highly interested, though cannot be completely sure that he has a diagnosis of yet. Slowly, Lucy begins to fade from this mysterious neck injury and eventually died of her injuries, though her body transforms into a vampire of sorts, paralleling some of the actions Count Dracula is known to have been committing.
Van Helsing works with Seward to locate the body and it is at this time that the Dutch doctor deduces that there is something eerie at work. Studying the situation before him, Van Helsing proposes the seemingly barbaric act of driving a stake through Lucy’s heart and then decapitating her, which is the only way to ensure that her spirit will be freed, according to some of his research and ancient lore.
Done with that issue, but still needing to resolve the larger concern at hand, Van Helsing gathers a group to hunt down the Count, who seems to have taken up residence in England, and drive him back to Transylvania. Lurking in the dark and gloomy areas of Eastern Europe, Van Helsing prepares for the fight of his life, armed with only the most basic medicaments, in hopes of slaying this monster once and for all.
Stoker lays the groundwork for a truly bone-chilling tale that has stood the test of time. I would highly recommend this to anyone who has the wherewithal to delve deep into the heart of a sensational 19th century story of horror and mayhem.
I am still kicking myself that I waited so long to read this sensational piece of fiction. Surely one of the early stories that has fostered such a strong tie between Dracula and Hallowe’en, Bram Stoker’s work provides the reader not only with thorough entertainment, but leaves a shiver up their spine every time they enter a dark room.
With a cast of powerful characters, Stoker weaves his tale in such a way that the story never loses its momentum. Harker, Seward, and Van Helsing are all well-crafted and provides powerful contrasts throughout the narrative, while Count Dracula is not only eerie in his presentation, but also one of the scariest villains in 19th century literature.
There need not be outward descriptions of gore and slaying to get to the root of the suspense in this novel, which seems to differ from much of the writing in the genre today, where gushing blood and guts pepper the pages of every book imaginable. The narrative is also ever-evolving, helped significantly by the journal-based writing that Stoker has undertaken. The reader is transported through the story using these varied perspectives (and some press clippings), rather than a straight delivery of the story from a single point of view. This surely enhances the larger package and does much to provide the reader with even more fright, at certain times.
There are surely many stories taking place here, some of which deal directly with the issue at hand (read: Dracula), while others seem to solve themselves throughout the numerous journal entries. Whatever the approach, Stoker captivates the reader such that there is a strong desire to know how it all ends and if Van Helsing lives up to his more colloquial moniker of ‘Vampire Hunter’.
I wish to add for those who wish to take the audiobook approach, as I have done, the Audible version, with a full cast (including Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, and John Lee), adds yet another dimension to this story and should not be discounted.
Kudos, Mr. Stoker, for such a riveting piece. I can only hope to find the time to read some of your other work, as well as that of your descendants, who seem to want to carry the torch and provide more Dracula for the modern reader.
Dracula, the book, struck a chord with me. In it was a fight between good and evil. Modern vampires have great seduction powers. I never liked that. I also didn't like vampires in many Urban Fantasy books. The Hollows series spring to mind. The greatest change in the villainous vampires arises in Anne Rice's books. It was a perfect case study of an idea done to the death.
In Dracula, several people record their impressions. I 'pretend' to know that the women in the books, Lucy and Mina, have the same voice. Maybe the men are slightly different. They possess greater vocabulary, such as Lord Godalming's, and Jonathan Harker's recollections. Van Helsing, being a foreigner has his mistakes in grammar, and therefore has the most unique voice.
Throughout the book, we don't see the vampire Dracula triumph much. Except maybe when he turns Lucy into an undead. But even then, through the guiding hands and the knowledge of van Helsing, she is freed from her shackles. But Jonathan escapes from his imprisonment. And the vampire cannot settle in London. He was found out by our 'A-team' and had to flee for his life. He expresses baffled malignity.
It is the testament to Bram Stoker's neatness that I could follow most of the story. And I'm in awe of his mind, which chronicles the entire story via journal entries (or phonograph recordings in the case of John Steward), all of which are dated. I don't mean outdated, but dated, day after day. And I mourned the death of Quincy Morris, gallant to the end, dying with a smile on his lips.
The entire book defies what happens in movies and series (of which latter I've watched only True Blood). Most people don't read books regularly. So their idea of the vampire comes from horror movies. And Boris Karloff and especially Bela Lugosi as vampires are etched in the minds of most people. I don't think cinephiles will get any influence from the 1992 movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola. That was a mess. The book still stands proud. As it should. Thus ends my review on 02 Sep 2018.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
The start was intriguing enough but around halfway, after one of the main characters died, it’s just the 19th century equivalent of conference call after conference call on how to destroy Dracula How can woman help loving men when they are so earnest, and so true, and so brave! And, too, it made me think of the wonderful power of money!
Quite contrary to what I'd expected beforehand is that Dracula is not that creepy. The book is almost soap like, in how the friends of Lucy are constantly frustrated in their efforts to protect her and how Renfield escapes from the mental asylum all the time. Also the structure of diary entries, telegrams and letters diminishes any tension one might feel, since apparently the people writing lived to tell the tale. For anyone curious, the 1992 film which is on Netflix is quite close to the book if 400 pages of Victorian fiction is a bit too much.
What I did like and found a bit frightening were the passages of how the boat Demeter loses its crew, being isolated and far away from any help. And sleepwalking is tapping into some unconscious fears as well. Chapter XXV with the mind connection between one of the characters and Dracula reminded me a lot of the link between Harry and Voldemort Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. But for the rest there is not much to really call this a horror novel.
Only halfway the book the speed picks a bit up, with four blood transfusions (I hope the patient was bloodtype O) and four burials in a few chapters. But after this point the book just falls into endless deliberations on how to beat Dracula, on bringing facts already known to the reader together and some questionable decisions to keep information from the group by Van Helsing.
In general Bram Stoker his writing is quite readable but also overdramatic and not very subtle. The themes and moral are simple: central is how the male forces of science (Dr Seward), aristocracy (Arthur), no-nonsense Americans (Quincy) and spiritistic Dutch lyricism (Van Helsing) are needed to face a threat. They even compare themselves to Crusaders, going to the East to destroy evil. That the girl with the man brain (When most we want all her great brain which is trained like man’s brain, but is of sweet woman) is ignored and shut out after she helped them, and that the valiant men ignore all the signals, is overly convenient just to move the plot towards its all to clearly set up climax, is unfortunate.
Interesting for a decidedly post-Enlightenment book written around 1900 is the oversized role of religion and class society, one of the men being a Lord getting anything required done with ease, including obtaining client records and breaking in somewhere, while meanwhile everyone is bribed for inquiries all the time.
In the end I found that, in the Appendix of the Penguin Clothbound edition I read, Charlotte Stoker (his mother) writes much more eloquently about the terror of a Cholera epidemic than her son does in the whole book about the supernatural. Those short pages feel strangely like a precursor to the later The Plague of Albert Camus, while Dracula itself feels a lot more similar to the overdramatic, constructed and convoluted Wuthering Heights of Emily Brontë.
Dracula seems to be one of those love-it or hate-it type books, but for me it is all love! The opening chapters alone provide some of the most gripping, suspense-inducing, edge-of-seat anxieties I've ever read, all leading up to a delightfully queer twist with a male character stepping in for the traditional Gothic heroine.
Jonathan Harker fulfills the damsel in distress role quite suitably, being locked away in a remote castle and forced to navigate the domineering personality of his captor. Dracula is reminiscent of Montoni from Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho, particularly in the way he has control over Jonathan's sexual well-being. When the three weird sisters close in on an unaccompanied Jonathan, Dracula stops them at the last second, saying “This man belongs to me!” before Harker “sank down unconscious."
Outside of Jonathan getting his chance to faint like the best of Gothic women, this dominating dialogue can't help but have a sexual undertone. There's just something about a vampire's possessiveness, affixation with tender neck flesh, the nocturnal visits and dangling appeal of immortality that make them hot, hot, hot! Some readers may read terror in these lines, but I think it's hard to deny at least some titillation at Jonathan’s situation of total submission. Anyway, it is possible to have two feelings at once. Horror and eroticism may seem like polar opposites, but I think they go together like PB&J.
Dracula’s female selections also get to experience this ethereal mixture of terror and desire while under the vampire’s spell. Lucy dazedly roams the midnight hour in her nightgown, meeting the "king vampire" for a moonlit rendezvous. Mina, too, the novel's surprisingly dynamic female star, a rare treat in 19th century lit, goes so far as to engage in a bizarre perversity of sucking upon Dracula’s bleeding breast. Though she claims to be induced to such behavior by a trance, one wonders how much arm-twisting or brain fog was necessary. If we are to see the vampire’s bite as sexually desirable, symbolically or literally, perhaps these creatures of the night are less monster and more orchestrator of dreams. After all, Dracula is a convenient outlet for taboos to be explored, experienced, and excused from public shame. Something like that might have been especially appealing to a sexually repressed 1897 audience.
Despite being the most famous and enduring vampire novel of all time, Dracula remains a must-read classic. You won't be surprised by some details because Stoker's vampire "rules" are public knowledge by now, but that doesn't make the novel any less thrilling, enticing, and occasionally shocking. There's some really gruesome moments that totally caught me off guard. Also, the epistolary storytelling device works well. There's a lot of subtleties hidden in the diary entries that slowly build horror—arguably too slowly—and the effect is notably more realistic and more chilling than even the novel’s impressive reputation had me expecting. So happy to finally check this read off my bucket list!!
PS: For Stephen King fans, IT is so clearly modeled after Dracula that it's almost shocking. Every beat of this classic appears somewhere in King's book, with Dracula and Pennywise sharing many traits and the power of working together being a major theme. The way the monster controls side characters is also familiar. Renfield and Henry Bowers share a lot in common, for instance, as do Mina and Bill's wife.
Over the years I've somewhat fallen out of reading classics, which is a damn shame as I typically enjoy the process of reading them even if I don't end up liking the book. In an effort to kick-start the process of reading them again on a more regular basis, I've decided to go with one I should have crossed off my list decades ago given my love of horror.
Dracula has been portrayed in so many different ways from all the different forms of media. He's been suave, sexy, violent, heroic, demonic… he's even been cute and cuddly.
(Picture of my actual copy of the book along with one of my daughter's plushies)
So, it was an interesting experience, going back and seeing Stoker's original intent. So what was he?
I think he could best be described as an ever present entity who is only seen for around 30 pages or so. He has such little "screen time" for a title character and yet he's felt in every scene. He's a predator, something lurking in the shadows the entire time and the reader is just watching as those around him slowly piece together what he's doing.
I can only imagine that when this originally came out in 1897 that it caused a stir. While slow paced, it's frequently disturbing even by today's standards, particularly some of the scenes early on in Dracula's castle and some later when our heroes are staking out (pun intended) a graveyard.
I confess, I'm not personally a big fan of epistolary novels. I majored in English and have read quite a few, but it's not a style that usually appeals to me. As silly as this may sound, I find I like it most in where it incorporates modern technology, such as chat logs or texts as it creates a multi-media aspect through current means of communication… as such I actually love what Stoker did. He did 1890s equivalent, as there are diary entries, telegraphs, newspaper articles and even transcriptions of phonograph recordings. In fact, one of the most fascinating aspects of the novel to me was how prominent then current technology was, with descriptions of light-bulbs, recordings, blood transfusions and rapid transit through trains all aiding our heroes. This is in many ways a book about science conquering the dark and superstitions (though as Van Helsing is quick to note, sometimes superstitions have their reasoning and should be taken into account with science). It's a rather fascinating look at the topic.
My biggest surprise while reading (other than some of the frightening content), the thing that I will no doubt take away with some awe is that the book contains a cowboy. Yes, a cowboy. He's not a joke character, he actually serves a purpose… but there's a random cowboy in the vampire hunt. I recently while looking this up on the internet (to find out if anyone was a shocked by said cowboy as me and WHY DIDN'T THEY TELL ME) found this gem and will close my review with it:
I've grown to appreciate this more with age - especially as I've put more distance between myself and the time I studied Dracula at school. But I still think it's overrated. Dracula isn't nearly scary enough, Jonathan Harker is a wet mop of a protagonist, Mina is annoying and the best character [spoiler alert!] gets killed less than halfway into the book. .
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I want to finish the year with the review of one of my favorite books of the reading year, one that I thought heavily about after reading it.
Dracula is a widely known classic story, one that is engraved in our culture and one that inspired and still inspires numerous pieces of art. One can say that we are collectively attracted to Dracula, and vampires in general. What does make this story more appealing to the whole civilization, in the Victorian era, as well as in the present time?
Stoker wrote Dracula in 1897, at the end of the Victorian era. The Victorian era is famous for the progress in the field of science, men of the era relying on logic and reason in the strive for the synthesis that will explain how does that the world function, and liberate us from diseases and suffering. At the same time, strict morality and obedience to social and religious conventions were prominent. Everything that deviated from decency and established values had to be disguised and ruthlessly suppressed in order to maintain the idea of the progress of civilization. In the Victorian era, science and religion worked together to free civilized man from the destructive aspects of nature.
At the same time, there is the rise of gothic literature and the birth of the horror genre, as the art rose from the repression. This is the response of romanticism to the age of reason and the Enlightenment, but also puritanism and religious austerity that accepts only certain characteristics of men. Gothic genre rises as both compensation and exploration of taboos and forbidden topics and impulses. Gothic writers express their unconscious preoccupations of the collective - sexual passion, aggression, murder, death, decay, incest, curse, madness.
Here, Dracula finds its important spot. Dracula is a predator that is between the world of the living and the inanimate, he has strength and longevity, is immortal but only as long as he consumes the physical, mental, life energy of others. In that way, he represents the anti-thesis and archetypal opposition to Christ, who gives his blood to others in order for them to have eternal life. Christ rejuvenates and redeems body, soul and spirit, while Dracula is the living dead that curses body, maddens soul and corrupts spirit, a dead creature that has lost its spirit and soul and therefore is not subject to moral and ethical norms and conventions. Therefore, through him, we are free to explore taboo and psychoanalytically significant topics: repressed sexuality, oral sadism and necrophilia. Dracula is the repressed collective darkness in the world that is enlightened by both reason and Christ.
Dracula has the characteristics of 19th-century villains; he is a stranger, lives far away in a foreign land (home and homeland were sacred in the victorian era), he has bestial elements (pronounced, sharp fangs) and is very much connected with the natural world (he manages wind and storms, and summons wolves). At the same time, he is a mysterious, absent protagonist; like an optical illusion, Stoker finishes him in the mind of the beholder; we learn about him solely from the reports of others and their subjective perception. The Count is poorly defined - indefinite, almost intangible, he changes forms, is elusive, connected only with the underworld, seen in the night, lives in the darkness of the unconscious - he is created from one's forebodings, imagination and projections. The central part of the story is how correct, moral characters react to him. Jonathan, Lucy, Mina - for everyone he has a different role, and the multiplicity of his character is evident.
Count Dracula and his brides operate through fascination, seduction, enchantment, obsession, loss of soul, madness - all dissociation and suppression of consciousness through overbearing unconscious elements. They are a threat from the underworld, a threat to life and the conscious world. The sexual element is prominent and present, let us remind ourselves that Dracula goes to night visits to women, where they participated in the bodily fluid exchange, while the vampire brides are much less subtly erotic and seductive.
Jonathan is a young hero that embarks on a journey into the unknown, a distant castle in "one of the most cruel and least known parts of Europe." This is an area beyond the ordinary, where something unusual will almost certainly happen - "every known superstition in the world is gathered in the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the center of some imaginative vortex." He is on a heroic journey to the land of the unconscious where the rules of the rational do not rule and the past, superstitious, irrational, supernatural still retains power.
“...And yet, unless my senses deceive me, the old centuries had, and have, powers of their own which mere “modernity” cannot kill.”
Is important to note that Jonathan is on the verge of maturity - he is engaged, he has passed the final exam that qualifies him for the profession, his boss has expectations, so he has to step into adult roles and responsibilities. Jonathan needs to complete the formation of ego and adult identity to function in the real world; the moment he meets his shadow in the figure of Count.
Interestingly, the Count does not attack him, only keeps him as a prisoner in his castle- even protects him from predatory vampire brides. In Jonathan's case, they are more dangerous than Dracula - they have greater opportunity to besiege and enchant victims as men, have more open sexual magnetism and predatory sexuality (unlike Dracula who creates confusion and comes with a deception that is not elaborated). Dracula and the Brides represent the negative counter-sexual aspects that seduce and offer a lot but take autonomy in the process - through enchantment capture the person in the unconscious. Here Jonathan's desire to have sex is transformed into an attack through denial; attraction and love in repulsion and sadism. Repressed sexual desires turn into morbid signals that point to a constant association of sadism and fear - normal sexuality in repression tends to regress to an earlier form, the first of which is oral sadism. The attitude towards vampires represents the aggression, hatred, and fear toward the object of desire we tend to demonize. Vampire brides also represent the Madonna- whore complex that is engraved in Victorian society - where a woman being sexual equals woman being demonic and evil.
In Jonathan's case, Dracula is a much more concrete character than in, for instance, an encounter with Lucy, we get his most detailed descriptions. He is a mature person with whom Jonathan has the most communication and contact, Count is here in the archetype of the Wise old man who rules a wild, dangerous area, who has knowledge, precision, organization, clarity and separation - a Logos that protects him from the Eros of women. Let us not forget that Jonathan sees only himself in the mirror when Dracula is behind him which insinuates that Count is essentially a part of himself and that realization alone causes disintegration and madness.
Lucy is a changeable character, the only one in the novel who was both a human and a vampire, and her physical and mental state fluctuate throughout the story constantly - she is excited and restless; she amuses herself with the erotic possibilities of three husbands and loves the attention of men. In the strict Victorian era, she is conditioned to dissociate her sexual feelings and strong libido from the conscious mind. Her unorthodox desires can find their expression only in altered states of consciousness - trance, sleepwalking and dreams, all of which precedes the Count's attacks. Lucy is not at peace with herself - she has somewhat a hysterical personality structure with deep internal conflicts. During the day she has to have the innocence and purity that are mandatory for women in the era, but during the night, her restlessness, erotic side of the mind, sensuality come out. She has an ego/persona imbalance between the real identity and social role she has to play and is ultimately lost between the night and day, conscious and unconscious self.
In Lucy's case, Dracula is a negative undifferentiated Animus - seducer, even though the relationship is never shown and she has no memory of him or his form. Dracula is a catalyst for change to the possession of the unconscious- her conscious ego is afraid of change - she is overwhelmed by unconscious content - the weak ego cannot assimilate the content of the shadow without being overwhelmed by it.
Lucy has no positive masculine figures to counter Dracula's erotic animus - only men who are sexually interested in her. Mina is for her Logos - reason, judgment, differentiation - when Mina leaves her there is no more objectivity or escape from unconscious eros. Being a divided character, with a weak ego, she succumbed and gave up conscious control, allowing the vampire/unconscious/shadow to dominate. Her ego was challenged beyond what she could handle and instead of the assimilation, it was shattered and destroyed.
Lucy ultimately experiences triumph as a sexualized vampire, takes the blood of more men, a being of flesh, the underworld and the night- Eros, Id and the shadow have won and taken over her identity, destroying her conscious will and persona.
“She seemed like a nightmare of Lucy as she lay there; the pointed teeth, the bloodstained, voluptuous mouth—which it made one shudder to see—the whole carnal and unspiritual appearance, seeming like a devilish mockery of Lucy’s sweet purity. ”
Mina had by far the most successful encounter with Dracula. Mina has mental balance, so she can compensate and integrate unconscious content presented by a vampire attack. More integrated than Lucy, her sense of self is well developed and she is well adapted to reality, more firmly rooted in society - she is engaged, has a teaching job, learns new skills that allow her to maintain an active role even when attacked by Dracula. She wants to be as equal as possible to Jonathan, she is practical, active, brave, and has shown that she can deal with uncertainty, fear and distress with firmness. Opposite to Lucy that has a passive role, waiting for a savior, Mine has an active role throughout, she determines her destiny with her abilities. Her sole source of meaning is not sexuality and men, even though she is accomplished through a stable male-female relationship. Mina has a balance of Eros and Logos; feelings and reason; she is a character who has already progressed on the path of individuation, of formed identity.
“That wonderful Mrs. Mina! She has a male brain ... and a female heart. ”
Although she has done most of the work of synthesis of knowledge about Dracula, she is forced by men to stand aside- they no longer need her, she is too valuable to expose her. Her ability, intellect, curiosity, all of it must be repressed to fulfill the role of an obedient Victorian woman. Mina is forced by men to play the role of damsel in distress, of a fragile passive woman with which she does not resonate at all.
"Even though it was a bitter pill for me to swallow, I couldn't say anything but accept their chivalrous care for me."
When Mina has to suppress the authentic parts of herself, her psychic balance is endangered. There she meets her shadow in the Count. But, in Mina's encounter with Dracula, she does not stay unconscious - Van Helsing hypnotizes Mina and extracts the important pieces of information from her subconscious that help to capture and defeat Dracula. Through the conscious exercise of the rational, in a process similar to psychotherapy, awareness of the unconscious manages to outwit and control the unconscious instinct of Dracula.
Mina manages to keep her ego identity but pities and understands the Count - and in him her own dark and destructive parts that she partially integrates (she is the only character that drinks Dracula's blood). In a way, she feeds off her shadow, but in the process destroys Dracula's aspects that cannot be integrated, that are ultimately overpowered by positive aspects of masculine figures in her life. She is, what Campbell calls, the master of both worlds, she has authentic individuality that is connected with the unconscious, even in the darkest realms, but also she remains functional and integrated into society that gains from her maturation.
Even though the novel is called Dracula, Dracula is not a central figure. Dracula lives in each one of us representing the otherness- parts of ourselves that are not allowed by society, drives, impulses and wishes that we cannot admit to ourselves. What Dracula is, depends on us - the dark egoistic sadist that feeds of suffering and others' life force, the seductive demonic lover, the wise old man. The sexual libertinism and unbridled violence, emotional, grotesque, irrational - Dracula is in complete contrast to the man of reason and morality, yet so infinitely attractive to him. Dracula is also Trickster that will appear when we pretend to be something we are not, to unveil hypocrisy and show our true face. Above all, Dracula is elusive and indestructible, the symbol of transformation and initiation into another kind of existence and the constant reminder that if we are looking for Dracula's darkness, we will find it in our own reflection.
"Children of the night what music they play" ; Jonathan Hawker hears those chilling, famous words from the inhuman appearing Count Dracula, in the remote Castle Dracula , Transylvania (Romania) . What started out as a simple real estate deal by an English solicitor and a foreign nobleman, becomes a blood sucking nightmare. The shell shocked Jonathan is imprisoned by the creepy Count, a " person" you wouldn't want to see in a dark alley on a moonless midnight walk. Three strange , bizarre , but very beautiful women, brides of Dracula, the weird sisters, are in his room looking not quite real. When Dracula arrives also, they fade away.... into nothingness . Next day the Englishman can't decide if what he saw last night was a dream or fact... Either way the terrified Mr. Hawker escapes , as if his life depended on it, not caring about those eerie wolves , surrounding the building and disappears... Back in "civilized", safe England his fiance Mina on vacation in Whitby, is visiting her sick, good friend Lucy Westenra, she becomes very pale too, almost like ill Lucy who is losing blood, why ? Dr. Seward with the help of Dr.Van Helsing an expert in little known diseases, gives her Lucy, four transfusions, still she becomes weaker, and small punctures are spotted on Miss Westenra's neck, what can they be? A gruesome Bat is seen flying outside the window, lurking about waiting for who knows what... mists come into poor Lucy's room... Dr. Seward, the head of an insane asylum, has a star inmate named Renfield he likes keeping busy, by eating flies and spiders. Something unnatural is disturbing the disturb man. Renfield even attempts to kill the good doctor. On the continent the dazed Jonathan, is found in a hospital in Budapest, disclosing events, in his journal, read by Mina when they get him back home..Dracula is seen by Hawker in England, or was this man, the undead fiend , actually the Count? Better speak to Dr. Van Helsing, who they say has read about vampires and is an expert on the subject. This old Dutchman doesn't mind getting his hands dirty....The novel has inspired countless films, books and television shows...the endless flow of vampires stories more than a century after this classic was published.There is an obvious reason for this phenomenon...It still scares people ...in an entertaining manner... The historical figure was a Romanian Prince, Vlad 111 or Dracula, ( son 0f Dracul, the Dragon) 1431- 1476, known as the Impaler, an alias he acquired , and well deserved too...for his bloody treatment of captured soldiers...guess what he did to... his many enemies, by the thousands...he is a national hero.
This book is quite a feat, either way. You can read essentially ANY THEME into this novel: good and evil, race, religion, gender, science, wealth, power, abstinence, war, colonization. More, probably, but it’s a Monday and I had four hours straight of math tonight and I’m sleeeeepy. Anyway, that all sounds peachy keen, right? Emma, I imagine you saying, what do you mean it could be shitty? Look at all those themes! It’s the great Irish novel, maybe! I know, imaginary reader. I hear ya. But there are things about this book that are even weirder than that quasi-sex scene. (The joke is that you can’t tell which one. There are a million symbolic moments of characters gettin’ it on. Truly wild.)
BUT OKAY. It’s not just that there are a bajillion themes. Because that would be cool. No, it’s that you can make an argument for either side of every theme. Sexist or feminist; condemning religion or supporting it; racist or accepting; et cetera et cetera. The book is also straight up teeming with stuff like repetition that can either be thematically significant or just a bad job. (Can you imagine being the editor of this book? “Uh, Bram?…Hey buddy. So, you use essentially the same passage describing Dracula’s powers three times in one chapter, so – I was, you know, wondering – are you a genius or a total dumbass?” If I achieve my dream of being an editor/publisher I’m only editing YA. Too scary.)
The upside of all this was that this book was such a blast to discuss in class. (A substantial f*cking improvement from slogging through boring old Huck Finn everyday for two weeks.) We would spend like an hour on a page, trying to discern sexism from feminism and desperately seeking homosexual overtones. (OH BOY DID WE FIND THEM, AND OH BOY DID WE LOVE DOING IT.) Anyway. In-depth textual analysis is like, my favorite thing.
This shindig was intermittently a blast (ohmygod! Vampires were fun even in 1897!) and soooo boring (ohmygod. What is up with plotlines from 1897). Still, I gotta give mad props to this book, because I read it EXCLUSIVELY by forcing myself through it in 110-page chunks in one work-study shift…and I still enjoyed it most of the time. That never happens! Sure as shit didn’t happen with Huck Finn.
The characters really sucked, but that happens a lot with classics. Weird that a handful of these endured, though. I won’t miss them even if I end up missing reading this. (It’s been a big part of my life for a while! Okay, like a couple weeks, but that’s a long time for me.)
But I do think this book is sexist, and I don’t think it’s close to perfect, and there are creepy issues with consent and metaphoric sexual assault and gender roles, and I wanted to write a paper on this book being an allegory of the battle between science and religion (religion won, guys!) but was FORCED to write on gender, the most clichéd topic of them all. Still, though, this book impressed me. (To clarify I wasn’t excited that religion won. I’m excited that said conclusion fit with my hypothetical essay.)
Bottom line: I think I liked this? I definitely recommend it. It’s cool to see what started (not actually but don’t @ me) all our cultural whatnot with vampires. (Still not that into them though. I say while technically currently reading some dumb book about them.)
I’m happy to explain why Dracula does not quite reach a 5-star high for me, but there are minor spoilers.
Surely, I’m not the only reader out there who wrongly assumed this Gothic fiction classic was written by a Transylvanian and that the plot takes place in Transylvania? It starts there, but the majority of scenes are set in Britain, and it was written by an Irishman, Abraham (Bram) Stoker.
Dracula has been on my ‘to read’ list for nearly a lifetime. Thinking back, the delays had quite a bit to do with thinking the trailers and stills from movies appeared silly and unconvincing.
I imagine this novel is likely far superior to any adaption. And talking of imagination, the author invited me to let mine run amok. He knew how to create fear and atmosphere. He achieved this in an epistolary novel – with letters, diaries and reports - and I really liked that format.
I recently watched an episode of Joanna Lumley’s travel series around the UK and nearly fell off my chair when she visited Whitby, a North Yorkshire seaside city with ruins of a moody 7th Century monastery-come-abbey, and reported these were referenced in the story. This certainly sparked my interest and bumped Dracula up the list.
I really enjoyed this read, slightly marred by a couple of lulls in the text that dragged. There was a bit of sexism too, you know, the ‘Off you go now, my dear, while the men retire to smoke cigars and talk men’s business’ type of sexism, but I was forgiving given it was written in the Victorian era, and that’s not to say there was no gutsy female who came to the fore.
I think it’s now time to give the 1992-film, with Gary Oldman in the lead, another chance.
I did not expect this reading style when I read, but I found the story made through diaries or letters exchanged enjoyably. The idea at that time must have been very innovative because even today, I find it significantly developed in its concept and ingenious! And the strong presence of the solid Catholic belief of the time makes the story very realistic! Even though I found some lengthy passages, I enjoyed discovering this world-famous book!