Christina on Dracula by Bram Stoker


Christina on Dracula by Bram StokerDracula by Bram Stoker
Published by J S Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
Pages: 338
Format: Paperback
four-stars
EDITORIAL REVIEW: *Dracula*, by **Bram Stoker**, is part of the *Barnes & Noble Classics** *series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of *Barnes & Noble Classics*: New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events Footnotes and endnotes Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work Comments by other famous authors Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations Bibliographies for further reading Indices & Glossaries, when appropriateAll editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. *Barnes & Noble Classics *pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works. ** *Count Dracula* has inspired countless movies, books, and plays. But few, if any, have been fully faithful to **Bram Stoker**'s original, best-selling novel of mystery and horror, love and death, sin and redemption. *Dracula* chronicles the vampire's journey from Transylvania to the nighttime streets of London. There, he searches for the blood of strong men and beautiful women while his enemies plot to rid the world of his frightful power. Today's critics see *Dracula* as a virtual textbook on Victorian repression of the erotic and fear of female sexuality. In it, Stoker created a new word for terror, a new myth to feed our nightmares, and a character who will outlive us all. **Brooke Allen****** is a book critic whose work has appeared in numerous publications including The Atlantic Monthly, The New Criterion, The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, and The Hudson Review. A collection of her essays, *Twentieth-Century Attitudes*, will be published in 2003.

The classic book Dracula has been on my to-read shelf for forever. I finally came across the book at a book sale in Fairfax County Public Libraries and read it this year… what an eye opener it was! Compared to Hollywood portrayals, I clearly did not know the whole story of Count Dracula.

To begin for those of you unfamiliar with the book and tale, Bran Stoker presented the story through a composition of letters, memoirs, telegrams and similar communications. His main characters he tells the story through are: Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray, Lucy Westenra, Dr Seward and Van Helsing. The tale begins with Jonathan Harker off to visit the Count on business in Transylvania. From there, the story progresses to the tale of Dracula some are familiar with: he travels to London, targets individuals in the town to give them the fateful bite on their necks, and has certain weaknesses such as the cross, garlic and other items. While Dracula’s presence affects the characters in Stoker’s story, they plot to banish him from London and destroy him once and for all.

Now, some may ask why Hollywood portrayals made the story different from what I expected?

  1. I did not know the book was written through a series of first-hand perspectives (letters, memoirs, etc) That was new and limiting to the story interpreted by others.
  2. I always thought there was something more sensual… more sexy about Dracula. I did not get that feeling reading the story. Instead, I felt the creep and danger in his character.
  3. His image when I first met Dracula in the book is FAR from the way Hollywood portrays Dracula… Stoker described him as:

a toll old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere.”  (20)

HOLD UP… a WHITE MUSTACHE?! And he was OLD?!

Now, I understand Dracula does appear younger when he arrives in London. But seriously… a white mustache?  Later, when Dracula is in London, he was described as:

“a tall, thin man, with a beaky nose and black moustache and pointed beard…” (186)

Now that is more like it. Yes… he got younger, this description is one many of us our more familiar with. One of my FAVORITE TV series was NBC’s “Dracula” with Jonathan Rhys Myer. This description of the beard and mustache fit his character much better here. But see what I mean on some of the other favorite Dracula’s from the past?

Dracula 1

Jonathan Rhys Myer – NBC Dracula – Image from www.facebook.com/draculaatnbc

Dracula 2

Bela Lugosi – Dracula (1931) – Image from Wikipedia and in public domain

Dracula 3

Christopher Lee – Dracula (1958) – Image from Wikipedia and in public domain

Besides appearances (and praise to NBC’s portrayal from me… but shame on them for canceling my favorite series) … let’s face it: Dracula is still a terrifying concept. After years of watching Dracula movies and TV shows, dressing as a vampire for Halloween, and especially this whole vampire craze in literature and movies today, I am so glad I finally had the opportunity to read Bram Stoker’s classic.

As you can guess, I highly recommend this book simply because it is a classic and the writing style is unique. Pair with a glass of red wine (my choice: a Norton). Take it in and don’t forget to surround yourself with garlic before you sleep, and do not welcome in strangers. Oh yeah, and if you look in the mirror next to a friend and do not see their reflection next to yours… run.

pj - christina