Classic book review: Bram Stokers Dracula

Edvard Munch - The
Vampire

Abraham “Bram” Stoker wrote Dracula in 1897. Bram Stoker was an Irishman working in a London Theatre, the Lyceum, when he wrote this novel. Apparently he wrote other works, but Dracula is the only one commonly read today.

The novel is in the form of journal entries and letters, telling of the vampire Count Dracula and involving hypnotism and other occult interests. The Count, as Bram Stoker envisioned him, is a white-haired military commander type, with a bushy moustache and bat-like cloak.

I must say I found this a cracking read, much more entertaining and involving than the previous two novels I read, Frankenstein and The Picture of Dorian Gray. The book is very suspenseful, being very discrete with what information it reveals and the nature of the dark forces at work.

The blurb on the back of the book includes:

When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries in his client’s castle. Soon afterwards, disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked; strange puncture marks appear on a young womans neck; and a lunatic asylum inmate raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. In the ensuing battle of wits between the Count and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing into questions of identity, sanity and the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.

As the format of the book contains news articles and diary entries from different characters the plot line is slow to reveal itself, lots of different thoughts and tangents slowly resolving together. Obviously some of Stokers own opinions come through in the opinions of his characters, the place of women and how men value them so, American resourcefulness and English perseverance, superstition and occultism amongst eastern Europeans.

If you come to this book free from too many preconceived ideas from Buffy, Anne Rice or bad black and white movies, you will be taken on a most enjoyable ride.

3 Replies to “Classic book review: Bram Stokers Dracula”

  1. No, I’ve not seen the movie Nosferatu. From what I can see it is based on Dracula but they tried to change enough of the plot to avoid copyright payments, so it is a bit different. Some of the characters seem to have been combined and the ending markedly changed. It also appears to have added to Dracula’s powers and weaknesses.

    But the basics are there, the boxes of earth, the unmanned ship, the pure wife back home. But I think the mystery and suspense has been replaced by horror, in the main.

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