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Dracula: Black Illustrated Classics (Bonus Free Audiobook)

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How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations Tablet and e-reader formatted Original & Unabridged Edition Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic Bestselling Novel Short Biography is also included Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. Famous f How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations Tablet and e-reader formatted Original & Unabridged Edition Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic Bestselling Novel Short Biography is also included Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to move from Transylvania to England so he may find new blood and spread the undead curse, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Dracula has been assigned to many literary genres including vampire literature, horror fiction, the gothic novel and invasion literature. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, he defined its modern form, and the novel has spawned numerous theatrical, film and television interpretations.


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How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations Tablet and e-reader formatted Original & Unabridged Edition Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic Bestselling Novel Short Biography is also included Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. Famous f How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations Tablet and e-reader formatted Original & Unabridged Edition Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic Bestselling Novel Short Biography is also included Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to move from Transylvania to England so he may find new blood and spread the undead curse, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Dracula has been assigned to many literary genres including vampire literature, horror fiction, the gothic novel and invasion literature. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, he defined its modern form, and the novel has spawned numerous theatrical, film and television interpretations.

30 review for Dracula: Black Illustrated Classics (Bonus Free Audiobook)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Two things about this book: 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 protecti Two things about this book: 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.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    this was all i could think about whenever they talked about dracula's dirt boxes lol this was all i could think about whenever they talked about dracula's dirt boxes lol

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Terrington

    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 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elle (ellexamines)

    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 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. Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    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 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    Dracula is a truly timeless MASTERPIECE. Believe it or not, I am still unable to review this, one of my very favorite novels of all time. I annotated my most recent time reading it, in the hopes that it would help when it came to composing my final thoughts. Alas, what I am really struggling with is the idea of little ole' me 'reviewing' a masterpiece. I guess my goal is more to compel people to pick up this amazing piece of world literature and give it a shot, as opposed to providing an analysis Dracula is a truly timeless MASTERPIECE. Believe it or not, I am still unable to review this, one of my very favorite novels of all time. I annotated my most recent time reading it, in the hopes that it would help when it came to composing my final thoughts. Alas, what I am really struggling with is the idea of little ole' me 'reviewing' a masterpiece. I guess my goal is more to compel people to pick up this amazing piece of world literature and give it a shot, as opposed to providing an analysis of Stoker's work. We all know in reality a full review will never come. Regardless, have a gander at this The Lost Boys gif, a movie greatly inspired by Dracula: Full review or not, I am so happy to have reread this for the 3rd time. Dracula is a book I will continue to reread periodically for the rest of my life. If you haven't read this yet, please give it a go, it may surprise you. You may think you know this story...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    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 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. Dracula rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    S.A. Parham

    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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Caz (littlebookowl)

    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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    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 forma 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

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    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 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

  12. 5 out of 5

    Martine

    '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' '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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Julia Ash

    A classic literary masterpiece!!! 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." and then... "But my feelings turned to repulsion and terror when I saw the whole man slowly emerge from t A classic literary masterpiece!!! 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." and then... "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.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    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 fo 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. Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  15. 5 out of 5

    JV (semi-hiatus)

    "There is reason that all things are as they are, and did you see with my eyes and know with my knowledge, you would perhaps better understand. [...] But there are things that you know not, but that you shall know, and bless me for knowing, though they are not pleasant things." Nothing lasts forever. Or so they say... at least for this particular being with protuberant teeth itching for yet another slice of an extra rare slab of steak and some bloody juice. Isn't it a wonder that, once, there "There is reason that all things are as they are, and did you see with my eyes and know with my knowledge, you would perhaps better understand. [...] But there are things that you know not, but that you shall know, and bless me for knowing, though they are not pleasant things." Nothing lasts forever. Or so they say... at least for this particular being with protuberant teeth itching for yet another slice of an extra rare slab of steak and some bloody juice. Isn't it a wonder that, once, there was this great and noble race, full of humanity and yet they become a blight upon the land, transforming into the deadly scourge that blots out all hope and becoming the very figure that we dread and detest? "Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are; that some people see things that others cannot? But there are things old and new which must not be contemplate by men’s eyes, because they know – or think they know – some things which other men have told them." If you were to read the haunting subtexts that lie within this novel, it's imminently disturbing. Is it enough that we create our own monsters or that we are monsters ourselves? For if humans were to be given these: immortality, power, youth, and ever-lasting beauty, the world would eventually plunge into never-ending darkness. Acquire the lot of them and what you will find is a soul devoid of humanity, only to be filled eventually with malice and greed. Stare at the mirror and one would hardly see any reflection at all. Monsters exist and they do come in many seductive forms, one of them is but the nosferatu. Soon you'll be mesmerised by its gaze that you'll eventually drop everything (your pants or knickers included) and submit yourself as a tasty little morsel that robs you of your very essence. Yet again, some fancy the modern version of the vampir like the shining, ever so shimmering Edward Cullen. Hoomans are curiouser and curiouser indeed! Audiobook rating (narrated by Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren, Susan Duerden, John Lee, Graeme Malcolm, and Steven Crossley): Narrative voice & style - ★★★★★ Vocal characterisation - ★★★★★ Inflexion & intonation - ★★★★★ Voice quality - ★★★★★ Audiobook verdict - ★★★★★ (Exquisite performance, superbly brilliant, a must-have!)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Henk

    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 frustrate 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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Luffy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 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 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.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Justin Tate

    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. Dra 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.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    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' 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. (view spoiler)[Also, yeah, Dracula's brides totally eat a baby... at least that is strongly implied. (hide spoiler)] 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: 5/5 stars

  20. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    "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 v "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.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lea

    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 wro 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 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 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 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.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    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. . 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. .

  23. 4 out of 5

    emma

    Another case of me starting a review with no idea how to rate it. This book was…a ride. I think my professor put it best when he said, “Dracula is either really good or really sh*tty.” Okay, yes, I’m paraphrasing, but only a little. https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co... 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 Another case of me starting a review with no idea how to rate it. This book was…a ride. I think my professor put it best when he said, “Dracula is either really good or really sh*tty.” Okay, yes, I’m paraphrasing, but only a little. https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co... 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.)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michael || TheNeverendingTBR

    Now I understand why this is such an iconic and influential book, I thought it might be a difficult read due to the way it's written through journals and letters written by the main characters but it just flowed easily, it was very suspenseful and I was always curious to what was going to happen next. Published in 1897 and it's still not dated, I think this is essential reading for horror fans of any generation. Now I understand why this is such an iconic and influential book, I thought it might be a difficult read due to the way it's written through journals and letters written by the main characters but it just flowed easily, it was very suspenseful and I was always curious to what was going to happen next. Published in 1897 and it's still not dated, I think this is essential reading for horror fans of any generation.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I highly recommend reading this to any fans of the vampire genre. It is a commitment and investment for the reader, but it is worthwhile. While Dracula is not the 1st vampire novel/story, it has firmly established many of the conventions of the vampire genre. I must say that no movie version I have watched does this justice. Bram Stoker's Dracula might have been a somewhat faithful rendition, but it took unforgivable liberties with the relationship between Mina and Dracula, and downplayed the de I highly recommend reading this to any fans of the vampire genre. It is a commitment and investment for the reader, but it is worthwhile. While Dracula is not the 1st vampire novel/story, it has firmly established many of the conventions of the vampire genre. I must say that no movie version I have watched does this justice. Bram Stoker's Dracula might have been a somewhat faithful rendition, but it took unforgivable liberties with the relationship between Mina and Dracula, and downplayed the deep, abiding love between Mina and Jonathan. In addition, it portrayed Dracula as a seductive, lovelorn and sympathetic character. He is none of these. Dracula is a complete and utter fiend. He is unrelenting evil, and I spent this whole book waiting for him to get what he deserved. I love the use of letters and correspondence to tell the story. It added an authenticity to this story by revealing the narrative through written details of events. One would think that this would create a distance between the reader and the story, but strangely it does not. Instead it infuses the story with a human element, as we see things unfold through the eyes of the humans who witnessed everything. In addition, the diary entries from Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray (soon to be Harker), Lucy Westenra, and John Seward show the emotional impact of the characters to the horror of Dracula. Dracula is very much a Victorian work. It is clear what the mores were at that time in reading this story. It is also evident how society is changing as time speeds towards the 20th Century (this book was published in 1896). The attitudes towards women as sweet, beloved creatures who should be loved and adored is very much in evidence. However, Mr. Stoker took the time to show that Mina has a powerful role and usefulness beyond what was expected of her as a woman of her times. In fact, she plays a very pivotal role in this story. Because of the connection between Dracula and herself, she cannot be relegated to a second class citizen in this story. In addition, her view of the situation shows much about how Dracula managed to wreak his reign of terror over poor Lucy and how devastated Jonathan was from his early encounter with Dracula. Mina turns out to be a real heroine in this story. She is very resourceful, and her methods are a great help in the process of understanding what Dracula is, and tracking him down. I felt for her when she was under his thrall, because her love for Jonathan was true, as well as her abhorrence of the evil of Dracula and how it had affected her. Those scenes added a psychological component to the horror element in this book. This book is not a thrill a minute book. It might be a horror story, but it's also a crime novel, in that the group composed of Drs. Van Helsing and Seward, Jonathan and Mina Harker, Quincy Morris, and Arthur Holmwood spend much time trying to track and defeat their prey, Dracula. Readers should approach this story with this in mind. There are some moments that are truly unnerving and scary, all the same, but they are used with good effect. I would be reading right along, and then something really scary would happen all of a sudden. When my heart rate went back to normal and I fell back into the procedural-type narrative, another creepy moment would occur. Thus, my investment of diligent reading paid off, for those scary moments were quite suspenseful. Readers should also be aware that the characters tend to be along sentimental lines. They are good, decent people. They cry and feel sorrow. The men might be brave, but they are not afraid to break down and sob out their anguish. I admired each of the protagonists that I was supposed to admire: Mina, Jonathan, John/Jack Seward, Van Helsing, Arthur, Quincy, and the poor, unfortunate Lucy. Each of them invest their heart and life into tracking and destroying the beast. This might strike a modern reader as being too good to be true. But in the historical context, I didn't have trouble with it. I might expect different characterizations for a modern vampire novel. I found that issues that I had with the recent movie adaptations of Dracula did not exist in this novel. Mina is not played as the good, innocent foil for the sexually adventurous and slightly wanton Lucy. Lucy is a sweet girl who was preyed on and destroyed by Dracula. Mina is not a fickle woman who would abandon her true love for the seductive wiles of the vampire Dracula. That always bothered me about the movies. I didn't see why poor Lucy was deserving of what happened to her. Even if she had been a wanton, I couldn't say she deserved her demise at Dracula's hands. Reading about her decline, death and resurgence as a vampire was extremely difficult, not to mention the effect it had on the loved ones she left behind. Additionally, I dislike how throwaway the love that Mina had for Jonathan is portrayed in the movies. I'm glad it was not this way in the book. Renfield is a character who has been played for laughs in many of the Dracula adaptations and knockoffs. In the original novel, he is a character to be pitied. He was seduced by Dracula, subsequently losing his reason. There are glimpses of his formerly formidable intellect and sanity, as well as a sense of right and wrong that shone through, causing me to feel sorry for him. Particularly when he warns Seward not to keep him in the Asylum. If only Seward had listened. Drs. Seward and Van Helsing are physicians and men of science with profound respect for each other, but who tend to look at situations differently. Dr. Seward is very much a rationalist. He tries to approach Lucy's strange illness from a completely scientific perspective, yet Dr. Van Helsing is a learned man who is trained in modern medical science (as well as a pioneer in medicine), but gives credence toward the ancient beliefs, and whose knowledge is shored up by his faith in God. The struggle that Seward faces in having to accept that Lucy's demise is due to a powerful supernatural entity is evident as we read his journal entries. Van Helsing is seen through the descriptions of the diary entries of Mina, Jonathan, and Seward. I found Van Helsing quite the character. Without a doubt, he's my favorite in this book, although I found some of his lines hard to read because of the fact that it is written as though English was his second language (which it was). He is a man of compassion, although with a tendency towards bluntness. I like that he's able to think his way out of difficult situations, but also relies on faith against his demonic enemy. The movies tend to emasculate Jonathan, but he is a very strong character to have survived his imprisionment in Dracula's castle, with his body and his sanity intact. His conviction to protect Mina at all costs, despite knowing the depths of the power of his enemy speaks to me. He might not be a he-man, but he is definitely a worthy man mate for Mina. Arthur Holmwood is a noble, yet he is not protrayed as a prig. He is very down to earth, and willing to do his part to destroy Dracula and to see justice done for his beloved Lucy. I admit I tended to picture Cary Elwes (an old crush of mine who played Holmwood in Bram Stoker's Dracula) about 50% of the time. He definitely rose to the occasion, despite the seemingly insane ravings of Van Helsing about Un-dead creatures, and the need to drive a stake through the heart and cut off the head of his beloved. Quincy Morris embodies the Texan spirit in the very best of ways. His devotion to Lucy and later Mina causes him to risk his life in the struggle against Dracula. Don't look for a sexy creature of the night in this book. Dracula is a horrid, evil beast. When he meets his demise, I didn't feel one iota of sympathy. I was cheering instead. It's refreshing to read about evil vamps without any charisma for once (and this from a paranormal romance fanatic). This book is a delicious work to have read. I'm glad I attempted it when I could fully appreciate its genius. I freely admit when I read it in high school, I wasn't ready for it. It took me the better part of the week, but I found myself eager to keep reading, despite the somewhat antiquated language. I wanted to see how things would unfold. You might think, "Well Dracula is old hat. I've seen many vampire movies. It's all the same." I'd tell you, not so. You should read this book if you're a vampire fan. You will find a resonance that is lacking in most of the modern vampire fare, with its classic setting, genuine characters, and the tangible essence of the unearthly evil of the vampire. And to think that Stoker wasn't quite as glutted on the rich milk of the vampire legends as us modern vamp fans are. Maybe that's why this book felt so authentic to me.

  26. 4 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    Almost every author will fall into one of two camps: the active, and the reactive. The active author looks at the world around them and decides to write about what they see. They sit down and think: "I'm going to write a story, the subtext of which will provide my analysis of Victorian sexual mores". They then construct the story around this theme, creating characters to show different aspects and constructing a plot which moves from general observations to specific insights. Then there are the r Almost every author will fall into one of two camps: the active, and the reactive. The active author looks at the world around them and decides to write about what they see. They sit down and think: "I'm going to write a story, the subtext of which will provide my analysis of Victorian sexual mores". They then construct the story around this theme, creating characters to show different aspects and constructing a plot which moves from general observations to specific insights. Then there are the reactive authors. These tend to sit down to write a story without necessarily thinking about what the characters or story mean. Reactive authors will often still touch on the same themes as active authors, but instead of deliberate explorations, we get the author's gut reactions. In the Late Victorian, one of the ideas that concerned many authors was the 'New Woman', who was a proto-feminist: she was active, controlled her own life, considered marriage a partnership instead of a master/subservient relationship, took pleasure in her own sexuality, and took part in traditionally male activities, like science, writing, and carousing. Since Stoker is a reactive author, we do not get a deliberate analysis of the New Woman: we don't get a view of how she came about, of what drives her or differentiates her, or of what she might mean for the future of sexual politics. Instead, we get the reactive view: a certain thrill in the sexual freedom she represents, but in the end, she is condemned for being frightening--she is too difficult to control, she does not fit in. The reactive view is nebulous, switching back and forth, never getting to the heart of the matter. Stoker does not include the New Woman because he understands her, but because she troubles him. This applies equally to his other recurrent themes: foreign vs. British identity, homosexual and other non-familial desire, scientific innovation, and ancient mysticism. He includes these things not because he has some insight to reveal to the reader, but because they are concepts he cannot cease bringing up. They are a part of his world, and so he depicts them. These depictions shift and change with his reactions: homosexuality is first condemned, then pitied, then hinted at enticingly, then condemned again. It is one of many things which Stoker desires to speak about, to puzzle through, something which both intrigues and unsettles him, which he cannot help but return to whenever he considers humanity. It is a habit formed by deep emotional connections and powerful memories. He is lost somewhere between the grotesque fall of his former friend Oscar Wilde and his lifelong worship of Wordsworth, whose celebration of homosexuality was an open secret. Unlike Byron, Shelley, and Polidori, who inspired Stoker's tale of Gothic horror, Stoker is not certain what he thinks about the world he lives in. He does not have a philosophy or a voice, he is just a man trying to make it through a world which he cannot come to terms with. It is not an ideal situation for his characters, who must shift with the movement of the tides. The only consistent personality is Van Helsing, who is too ridiculous and overblown to get lost in the text. The others all move from one extreme to the other: now subverting Victorian ways, now upholding them. The longer the story goes on, the more they become a collection of names, losing any distinct identity. Though Stoker works in broad strokes, the characters are not unsympathetic or stupid, but they are there to serve the story, wherever the winds may list. Dracula, himself, is mostly absent: our heroes try to create an identity for him with their fears and assumptions, but none are very certain that their assumptions about Dracula are correct. They point out several times that their own violent hunt for the count is not terribly civilized or sane, and may not be any more justified than Dracula's own need to feed. What carries them along every time is their own self-righteousness--but coming from such scattered, unsure characters, it is hardly a convincing justification. There is a lot of elbow room in reactive books, because there is no distinct heart to the story, no central philosophy driving it--which appeals to a certain breed of academic: Stoker touches upon most of the controversial topics of his day, but never creates any definitive view of them. Things are truly open for interpretation, and the critical works in this collection take full advantage. First Dracula is homosexuality, then he represents a gender switch, then he is the capitalist monopoly which destroys fledgling British Utopian Socialism--and certainly, all these are unconscious influences on Stoker, but it is too much to say that Dracula is any one of them. He is a collection of fears, insecurities, desires, and popular topics thrown in by Stoker as they came to him. Most of the critics seem to recognize that Stoker was no great thinker--just an average, well-off, educated man with some talent for flowing prose. This being the case, it feels silly for them to declare one argument or another fundamentally sums up the text. Many think a declarative style lends strength to a somewhat vague analysis, but as a New Historicist, I prefer the critic give the author only as much credit as seems warranted. That isn't to say there isn't a great deal to be gleaned about the period from Stoker--indeed, his insecurity often reveals much more than he intends--but we can only learn as much as we might from talking to the average man of the period, as opposed to studying the expert opinion of an 'active' author. As a story, it is entertaining, and the reader may be surprised at how different the original vampire is from the one we are now familiar with. There are some aspects of the book that I think would be interesting to see in film, but there are many other winding, long-winded passages which are better left out. The book goes rather slowly in the middle, maintaining roughly the same conflict with no new developments, and we are reduced from several different epistolary views to a more-or-less streamlined, neutral voice as the bland heroes grow more uniformly alike. The conclusion is rather abrupt, and we never do get to a real showdown to match all the buildup of Dracula's many-faced evil, but this makes sense. Since Stoker is unsure precisely what he means to get at with his book, we can hardly expect him to create a viable, satisfying conclusion. The ending is certainly final, but it is not a decisive advance upon the book's themes, but a safe retreat to normalcy. As all horror authors must, Stoker reaches for his own fears and insecurities to drive his story along, but he is not a self-searching man, so when he comes to the time for an ending, he instinctively rejects all of the vague things which unsettle him, trying to do away with them suddenly and violently, as befits a man who is out of ideas. And so, the showdown the story deserved is absent--we never face Dracula in his own domain, under his own power. His dark castle remains shut up, and the mystery of who he was and what motivated him is left unconquered. Due to one of the many small errors which permeate Stoker's text, even the conclusion can be called into question. Though we are assured that life has returned to normal, that things are now safe again for the straitlaced Victorian family--that homosexuality, feminine power, foreign influence, and pagan mysticism have all been destroyed--the assertion rings hollow, because Stoker never deals with any of these fears. He never manages to meet them with the right tools to overcome them. In the end--and as we always suspected--Dracula is simply too pervasively perverse for the upright Victorian man to kill, because as an average Victorian man, Stoker simply doesn't know where to strike. Like too many conservative thinkers, he has cultivated his own naivete by avoidance until he cannot comprehend how to oppose his enemy. So Dracula lives on in our world, growing in power, his vast array of subversive powers getting stronger with time. He withstands the full force of Victorian ideals, then outlasts them, watching them crumble. It shouldn't have been surprising: as Byron, Polidori, and Shelley all hinted, it wasn't Dracula who was the myth, but Victorian morality. It isn't heroic to oppose sex and death, it is tragic: strike them as hard and as often as you like, then watch them rise again. And so Dracula does.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    No man knows till he experiences it, what it is to feel his own life-blood drawn away into the veins of the woman he loves. This seems to be my first time reading Dracula, and I LOVED IT. I say "seems" because I swear I've read it before. However, that would have been ages ago. Or a byproduct of seeing 10 million different Dracula interpretations before the age of 20. o.O So it was fresh and relatively new to me. I was surprised by the twists and turns. I thought I would be able to reasonably pre No man knows till he experiences it, what it is to feel his own life-blood drawn away into the veins of the woman he loves. This seems to be my first time reading Dracula, and I LOVED IT. I say "seems" because I swear I've read it before. However, that would have been ages ago. Or a byproduct of seeing 10 million different Dracula interpretations before the age of 20. o.O So it was fresh and relatively new to me. I was surprised by the twists and turns. I thought I would be able to reasonably predict the whole plot - and I couldn't. Let's talk about major issues, because review space is limited and I believe everyone knows the basics of the plot. Evil vampire, blood-sucking fiend, lives in Transylvania, moves to London, and fucks with the wrong people. (Did NOT know who he was fucking with, as Riddick would say. LOL) You know the drill. Besides having 217 status updates - with many quotes continued in the comments, I had copious notes and also a running list of vocabulary words that I learned from Dracula. :) I very much enjoyed this reading. :D You can tell from all my status updates and huge pile of notes. Sometimes I'd only read one or two pages in a day and just let them simmer inside me. I've been thinking about Dracula non-stop for about 11 days now. *evil grin* It was a perfect October and/or Halloween read. I had this absolutely jaw-droppingly gorgeous leatherbound B&N edition. Yum. It's been my constant companion these last 11 days. I didn't leave home without it! LOL I sometimes think we must be all mad and that we shall wake to sanity in strait-waistcoats. MAJOR ISSUES We seem to be drifting to some terrible doom. FEMINISM Ah, ha ha ha. You knew I'd start with that, right? :D This book is full of explicit sexist bullshit. Non-stop explicit sexist bullshit. Yes, I understand that this was 1897. Please don't lecture me in the comments about presentism. I was surprised the sexism was so very blatant. There is a lot of talk - by all characters, male and female, about "brave men" and "weak, poor women who are just frail creatures" who "can't stand strain" and should be shielded from the world and from the truth. Men are praised for being strong and brave and if a man is particularly brave, he's described as all man. Let's talk about Mina Murray-Harker. "Mrs. Harker is better out of it. Things are quite bad enough for us, all men of the world, and who have been in many tight places for our time; but it is not place for a woman, and if she had remained in touch with the affair, it would in time infallibly have wrecked her." At first I was very angry with Mina. She holds sexist myths and sexist beliefs very close to her heart. She even blames Eve and the "apple" for women's "inherently sinful nature" at one point! I hate that shit. Disgusting. I could not resist the temptation of mystifying him a bit - I suppose it is some of the taste of the original apple that remains still in our mouths - so I handed him the shorthand diary. Both Mina Murray-Harker and Lucy Westenra are complete angels: good, sweet, pure, kind, "motherly" beings whom men (almost literally) worship. Lucy gets three marriage proposals in one day, and even the men she rejects swear undying devotion and fealty to her. Mina fares just the same. Every single male who comes into contact with these women prostrate themselves and declare their undying devotion. And not in a sexual way! There's a need to have a woman to protect and champion and care for. And she provides her services as a stenographer, a shoulder to cry on, and a cheerful and beautiful presence to boost the men's spirits. Now, you may think that this book is a sexist piece of shit, but I was actually surprised and impressed with Mina. She's smart, capable, and features prominently in the book. Van Helsing praises her as having "a man's brain." She drives the coach, she figures stuff out before the men do - and she wants to be included in everything. Which brings me to another point. A very large subplot here is the interaction of Jonathan Harker and Mina. Once privy to Jonathan's every thought and experience, Mina's position shifts when the other men encourage Jonathan to stop talking to Mina about vampires and the work they're doing to hunt Dracula completely, leaving her in the dark and cutting her out of their once coed meetings. Jonathan does it, convinced it's the right thing to do, although he feels inside that it's wrong somehow. This is the man who, just before proposing to Mina, states that there should be no secrets or hiding between spouses and gives her his journal so that she knows all. "Wilhelmina... you know, dear, my ideas of trust between husband and wife: there should be no secret, no concealment." He knows somewhere deep inside that making her an outsider in this is deeply wrong. But he does it - and is punished severely for it. After that, Mina once again resumes an active role in the groups activities - as it should be, her fighting by their side. Even though it may have been unintentional on Stoker's part, I was overall pleased with how things turned out, especially for a book written in 1897. Is this a feminist text? NO. It is not. I don't want to give you the wrong idea, it is NOT. But how about I file it in the 'not as bad as I thought it was going to be' category on the topic of feminism? :) BAND OF BROTHERS On thing that I loved about this book was the men and the men's relationships with one another. You have Jonathan Harker - Solicitor who is the first in the novel to encounter Dracula. I thought he was a complete ninny and think Mina could have done much better in picking a husband, but oh well. Quincey P. Morris - Texan. Rich. Very fond of guns and shooting things. "I believe in my heart of hearts that [Morris] suffered as much about ----'s death as any of us; but he bore himself through it like a moral Viking. If America can go on breeding men like that, she will be a power in the world indeed." Dr. John Seward - Psychologist who runs a mental asylum. Smarter and more badass than either Morris or Harker or Holmwood. Practical and straightforward. I always thought Mina should have married him instead of that nitwit Jonathan Harker. Ugh. Arthur Holmwood - Rich. Engaged to Lucy Westenra. "What can I do?" asked Arthur hoarsely. "Tell me, and I shall do it. My life is hers, and I would give the last drop of blood in my body for her." Or what about this gem: LUCY: I have an appetite like a cormorant, am full of life, and sleep well. An appetite like a cormorant. Welp, that's a new one. Arthur says I am getting fat. Arthur can go fuck himself. What is this, James Bond? Fuck that shit. Dr. Abraham Van Helsing - Badass name for a badass man. This was the only man I was interested in in the book. Intelligent, ruthless, gets shit done - but is still a kind, loving and polite person. He's a lawyer AND a doctor AND a vampire expert AND an expert at breaking-and-entering. This is who I would be making eyes at if I were in London at the time. ;) Good with consent, has a strong conscience, and has lots of experience. ;) Very attractive. ;) ANYWAY. What is my point of listing all these men? So you can discuss whether they are a.) nitwits or b.) worthy of kissing? LOL No. I mean, obviously I am always going to discuss that. But, the reason I'm bringing up the men here is because of their close friendship. Holmwood, Morris and Seward served together in Korea, for crying out loud. Excuse me? Yeah, I know. It makes the book sound more like it's taking place in the 1960s or 1970s than the 1890s, but that makes it all the better. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The name's Plissken. Stoker making these men brothers-in-arms (in more ways than one!) adds a fine nuance to the novel. People who have fought together have a unique bond and trust with each other, and I think that makes these men in particular teaming up again once more - all the more potent. They unconsciously fall into their old rapport and positions, and, led by Van Helsing, make a stellar team. Mina says that perhaps we are the instruments of ultimate good. MONEY As I was reading this book, I was thinking "rich people." *shaking my head* Then I was so surprised and pleased when Stoker chose to mention this not ONCE, but TWICE. Thank God! this is the country where bribery can do anything, and we are well supplied with money. 88% and Oh, it did me good to see the way that these brave men worked. How can women 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! What can it not do when it is properly applied; and what might it do when basely used! I felt so thankful that Lord Godalming is rich, and that both he and Mr. Morris, who also has plenty of money, are willing to spend it so freely. For if they did not, our little expedition could not start, either so promptly or so well equipped, as it will within another hour. 93% So it IS mentioned. Being brave and willing to die fighting vampires is one thing, but it's almost worthless without money for supplies, transportation, and constantly bribing people for information the way our heroes had to in this book. I'm so proud of Stoker for bringing this up. Good job! BLOOD SUCKING VS. TRUE HORROR Anyone who knows me knows that I hate HATE erotic bloodsucking. However, I did not find the bloodsucking in this novel to be erotic at all, and therefore was undisturbed by it. I know that in 1897 this would be considered very erotic bloodsucking - but in 2015, to a pretty jaded vampire-fiction-reader, not so much. This was a relief to me, I was able to read the blood-sucking sections of the book without being too grossed out. It was more like animals feeding than anything sexual. However, this book DID surprise me by making me genuinely horrified and grossed out. But it wasn't the bloodsucking, it was the vampire killing. I have a real thing, apparently, against mutilating and desecrating dead bodies. The scenes of "we're going to open up her coffin! We're going to stake her through the heart! Then chop off her head, cut out her heart, and stuff her mouth with garlic!" were making me ill. It was very horrifying and gross to me. I felt like they were violating the corpses and violating the very sanctity of death by doing this. I was rather shocked, I had no idea I even thought sanctity of death was a belief of mine until they were gleefully beheading cadavers. o.O Anyway, that was the true horror of the novel in my eyes. Not the vampires. CARNAL VS. PURE; LUCY & MINA VS. THE BRIDES Oh my gosh, Stoker never shuts up about women being either pure angels of mercy or carnal wanton beasts that need to be destroyed. Madonna/whore complex TO THE MAX in this novel. Very frustrating. When the Brides approach the men seductively, the men are all over that. Jonathan is ready to strip down and party when the brides show up kneeling in front of him and licking their lips seductively, and Van Helsing himself is not unaffected. They totally want those women on some level. But if it's Lucy or Mina or a woman who is supposed to be their "pure wife and mother stereotype," the men react with revulsion and disgust when lustful tendencies are shown. Good luck on Jonathan and Mina ever reproducing if Jonathan's reaction to Mina coming on to him is one of horror and revulsion. He probably only wants to have sex with all the lights off and missionary position, ten-thrusts-and-then-roll-off-her kind of thing. Probably with his eyes screwed shut the whole time. Poor Mina. I told her not to marry that ninny! And Lucy, goodness gracious. She was a bit sexual even as a "pure maiden," fantasizing about marrying three men at a time and shit, thank goodness she (view spoiler)[died (hide spoiler)] before having sex with Holmwood. I can't imagine she'd be happy in that marriage. He called her fat - what an asshole! And you are going to be SO SICK of the word "voluptuous" by the end of the novel. Stoker uses this word 12 times in this novel and it gets seriously annoying. Sometimes it's multiple times on the same page. It's as if he doesn't know of another word to describe a sexual woman. Which is weird, because to me this more describes a certain body type than an attitude, but I looked it up in MW and it says that one meaning of the word is "giving pleasure to the senses," so I guess it works. I am alone in the castle with those awful women. Faugh! Mina is a woman, and there is naught in common. They are devils of the Pit! I shall not remain alone with them... MODERN STYLE This book is very readable, quotable, and enjoyable. I'm always rather hesitant to pick up a book considered a classic and written over a hundred years ago, but Stoker delivers. He uses a lot of modern wording and phrases, the book absolutely speeds along - it's never boring and he doesn't get bogged down describing the scenery for 10 pages. That being said, I learned a lot of new words reading this: it was a veritable treasure trove of vocabulary. Here's my list: Foreknowledge, missal, unpunctual, prepossessing, perforce, patronymic, saturnine, demoniac (not demonic, demoniac!), militate, fastness, outrider, fain, expostulate, adduce, agglomeration, defibrinate, trituration, presage, remonstrate, enjealous, impressment, decoction, quondam, ingress, stertorous (this is another word Stoker is hugely fond of. He uses it 9 times - get used to seeing it!), intestacy, tussock, interstice, pabulum, importunate, adduce, lugubrious, arrogate, and odium. Wow! Look at how much richer my vocabulary is now! I am a rich woman! Yay! *does a vocabulary dance* I am too miserable, too low-spirited, too sick of the world and all in it, including life itself, that I would not care if I heard this moment the flapping of the wings of the angel of death. PRO-CATHOLIC Bless that good, good woman who hung the crucifix round my neck! for it is a comfort and a strength to me whenever I touch it. It is odd that a thing which I have been taught to regard with disfavour and as idolatrous should in a time of loneliness and trouble be of help. Is that there is something in the essence of the thing itself, or that it is a medium, a tangible help, in conveying memories of sympathy and comfort? This book is strongly pro-Catholic and Catholic doctrine and beliefs are presented as the truth. Notice Van Helsing's liberal use of the Host (Wafers) - he hands them out like candy. Holy water. Etc. Even noted Protestants like Harker are wearing crucifixes by the end of the novel. I don't think this is proselytizing, exactly, but there's definitely a strong Catholic flavor and undertone to the novel. "A sensible Protestant (Harker), how can he be caught up in all this primitive Catholic superstitious madness?!!?" is pretty much the entire first third of the book. Of course, Catholicism wins the day and provides Harker and his friends with the strength and tools to defeat evil, so ending the novel on a strong pro-Catholic note. Some people claim that this book is anti-Semitic - I don't feel that it is. But one of the most enjoyable things about Dracula is that everyone reads the book differently and brings their own interpretations and experiences to the text. It's been claimed as anti-Semitic, queer, homophobic, sexual, anti-sex, feminist, anti-feminist, etc. etc. etc. Dracula and the people who fight him can be stand-ins for anything and anybody, apparently. Choose your own hot points after reading the novel. :) It's fun. You can see I chose "feminist" and "pro-Catholic," but - much like the Bible - you can twist and turn the text until it says what you WANT it to say. ;) He might kill me, but death now seemed the happier choice of evils. DRACULA IS A PETTY ASSHOLE I expected him to be the King of Vampires, not someone who enjoys playing mind games with poor nitwit Jonathan Harker. I mean, some of the things Dracula did in this novel were obviously just because he enjoys messing with Harker and tormenting him. *rolls eyes* Not exactly strong, commanding, Children-of-the-Night behavior, IMO. ATROCIOUS DIALECT Please beware that whenever any of the gang is talking to someone from the lower classes, the person will speak like this: "These bans an' wafts an' boh-ghosts an' barguests and bogles an' all anent them is only fit to set bairns an' dizzy women a-belderin'. They be nowt but air-blebs! They, an' all grims an'signs an' warnin's, be all invented by parsons an' illsome beuk-bodies an' railway touters to skeer an' scunner hafflin's, an' to get folks to do somethin' that they don't other incline to do." I have close to zero tolerance for this shit. I find it HIGHLY annoying. And what's even worse is that Stoker doesn't have to do it. Van Helsing speaks in a very distinct and "foreign" type of English, and yet Stoker never resorts to breaking down his words into atrociously spelled ones. Here's an example of how Van Helsing speaks: "He throws no shadow; he make in the mirror no reflect... He has the strength of many in his hand... He can transform himself to wolf... he can be as bat... He can come in mist which he create... He come on moonlight rays as elemental dust.. He become so small... He can, when once he find his way, come out from anything or into anything, no matter how close it be bound or even fused up with fire..." In this way, Van Helsing's distinctive voice was made clear - I could ALWAYS tell at once if he was speaking or narrating, but yet Stoker never writes out his accent in some bizarro way. I wish he'd done that for the working-class side characters! Tl;dr - SO EXCELLENT. I am so happy that I own a copy, it is going to be read and re-read over and over again, I can tell you that. I was so happy and pleased with this book - and it's so hit-or-miss with classics that I had no idea what to expect. I highly recommend this to anyone who has an interest in it. "Dr. Van Helsing, are you mad?"... "Would that I were!" he said. "Madness were easy to bear compared with a truth like this." Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha! Happy Halloween! :) P.S. Dracula has a MUSTACHE. How come that's never shown in any film?!?!?!?! P.P.S. Hey, I found something REALLY COOL. This is a National Geographic feature on a Romanian people living in the Carpathians and in the Transylvanian Alps etc. They are called the Csángó people. Here at this site: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm... You can read about them, see pictures of them, and hear them sing. It will really give you a more vivid and nuanced picture of what Jonathan Harker is seeing and hearing while traveling through Transylvania. Make sure to check out the left side in order to access Photo Gallery and Multimedia (where you can hear them singing!). Also, Map. Oh, and if you click (also on the left) Sights and Sounds: Experience life with Romania's Csángós - you can watch videos explaining stuff to you. WOW!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend. Despite being hailed "the most famous figure of seductive evil" in literature, Count Dracula proves to be neither scary nor seductive. Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend. Despite being hailed "the most famous figure of seductive evil" in literature, Count Dracula proves to be neither scary nor seductive.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paquita Maria Sanchez

    This was neither as bad as I assumed it would be or (nor?) as good as I eventually started thinking it could be. Much as I love receiving real mail, whether it's a letter, present, post card, or even just a book I ordered (Shucks, for me? Thanks, me!), the epistolary form just doesn't generally jiggle my jolly parts. This is especially true when a lot of what you're reading is the journals of a bunch of people you'd never even want to have passing conversations with, Dr. Van Helsing and Dr. Sewa This was neither as bad as I assumed it would be or (nor?) as good as I eventually started thinking it could be. Much as I love receiving real mail, whether it's a letter, present, post card, or even just a book I ordered (Shucks, for me? Thanks, me!), the epistolary form just doesn't generally jiggle my jolly parts. This is especially true when a lot of what you're reading is the journals of a bunch of people you'd never even want to have passing conversations with, Dr. Van Helsing and Dr. Seward being obvious exceptions. Regardless, this is one of those books that fall under my largely arbitrary and completely self-imposed "Must Read Before I'm Dead" list. In the midst of being asphyxiated by Proustian self-reckoning, I decided to take a break from being challenged and read something light. You know, like a Gothic novel about an immortal Vlad Tepes and his baby-eating whore-beasts. It's funny what pop culture'll do to ya. I'd heard over and over again that this was like the Book of Genesis for the whole Twilight romancing the undead thing that weirds me out anew with each internet-drenched day. I took this "Bram Stoker's Hawt Vampires Makin' Tender Love" idea at face-value because I've seen the Coppola flick. Remember? A lovelorn Oldman, a sexually-repressed and reincarnated Ryder, absinth, slow-dancing in a castle with candles and string-music and shit, vampire nipple-sucking, orgasm-inducing illnesses, etc. Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. Turns out, the movie's entire romantic twist on the story was really just artistic license on roids, and all Mina is to Dracula is a leisurely Sunday brunch. There is straight-up NUUUUTHING saucy here, unless you count Mina and Jonathan Harker's relationship which is about as sexy as a box of Quaker Oats. I don't mean to insinuate that I was disappointed by this difference between book and screen as, needless to say, I have yet find myself reaching for the 19th-century literary fiction shelf when I feeeeeel like maaakin' lurrrrve. Still, I think it's a distinction which inquiring minds may appreciate knowing before committing to this occasionally exciting but largely sloggy story. The good parts were great, but the last 60-ish pages-- appropriately set on a bunch of fucking boats just inching their way along the river--moved so slowly, became so tedious that I just felt like screaming "Christ Almighty, Dracula, would you just eat these fuckers already?" If you want to know whether he does or not, you'll have to suffer through the end like I did. The first half is fun, though! (Twss!!) Oh, and how dare you keep Tom Waits locked up in a cage. That's it, I'm calling your mother.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Meh, it wasn’t as great as I was hoping. Sucks too because I love this beautiful little door stopper of a book. I hugged it often! Bastards! Making something so adorable that’s going in the trade in box. Sigh. I really loved the beginning, and don’t get me wrong, it was still good ....just not fantastic for me. I’m glad most everyone else in the world loved it 😃 Happy Reading!! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

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