Dracula the very name instantly brings to mind visions of vampires, stakes, garlic and crucifixes But when one bothers to read the novel they may realise how twisted modern vampire fiction has become.Vampires are not meant to exist as 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 inspires the very image of a villain to the mind And that is what the titular character of this novel is.The word novel is not used lightly, but 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 And 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 than an indication of man s own cursed nature and that unless he is delivered he must suck life from others around him Ultimately only the righteous can destroy the darkness that serves to drain life.The Rest of this Review has been moved to my new site The Write Stuff Visit my site to read the remainder of the review and any new reviews. Two things about this book 1 It is a really great and creepy story that deserves classic status2 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 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. I find Victorian horror so interesting because it s a clear 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 So the result is that this book is SO fucking weird because if you look at the subtext for than a second it s Bram Stoker s internalized homophobia playing out, but then he accidentally makes every single one of his characters read as deeply bisexual We ll get into this in a second, as I did promise I was going to weave in excerpts from my essay on queercoding in this novel my favorite paper you have written for my classes english teacher who has had me for a year But first, I want to promo this book to you I absolutely loved the very wide cast of characters Jonathan is such a good man and I d honestly trust him with my life Mina is absolutely iconic on every way Also, this bechdel test passes, although just barely, as Mina and Lucy talk about men a lot than their very lesbian natures would imply Lucy is a fantastic character as well she s just trying to live her life and date three men and one woman at the same time, and becomes a demon for her struggles She was too iconic for Victorian literature, clearly Even side characters like Quentin are endearing oh, by the way, Quentin is an actual unironic parody of Americans, and I find that hilarious And the other thing about this book is that it s really creepy The atmosphere is absolutely spellbinding, the epistolatory narrative perfect to create a sense of tension and foreboding While all of the characters have some amount of common sense, we are given information they often are not we see the dark side in otherwise innocuous details Lucy s section is honestly the most terrifying of the entire book in the best way So let s talk about queercoding, because that is what I ended up analyzing about this novel I just want to introduce that with this actual quote from Jonathan Harker s point of view, referring to Dracula How dare you touch him, any of you How dare you cast eyes on him when I had forbidden it Back, I tell you all This man belongs to me Beware how you meddle with him, or you ll have to deal with me The fair girl, with a laugh of ribald coquetry, turned to answer him You yourself never loved, you never love Then the count turned, after looking at my face attentively, and said in a soft whisper Yes, I too can love you yourselves can tell it from the past Well, now I promise you that when I am done with him you shall kiss him at your will Now go go I must awaken him, for there is work to be done I actually cannot overstate enough that this book is a very weird reading experience Bram Stoker waffles back and forth between finding Dracula terrifying and finding him fascinating the characters both fear him and pity him As with a previous influential vampire of the time, he represents the fear of reverse colonization and the fear of sexuality at once Indeed, it is widely believed that Stoker s inspiration for this character was a man he knew and cared for deeply I find this alternately sad and interesting But I don t think Dracula is meant to represent one man he is a stand in for the fears and fascination Stoker felt over Victorian society, over the new status quo, over himself Queercoding does not mean a character is gay, necessarily, or villainized specifically because they are gay it simply means that the character falls into audience stereotypes of queer people This tends to occur via three major avenues 1 flamboyant or feminine bodily presentation in men or masculine presentation in women 2 association with sex, often in a lewd or perverted way and 3 explicit or implied same sex attraction This happens with the character of Dracula a lot in this novel Dracula is thin bodied, often associated with sexual imagery, and definitely does not have platonic feelings for Jonathan Harker Towards the end of the novel, we even receive this lovely line your girls that you all love are mine already and through them you and others shall yet be mine my creature, to do my bidding and to be my jackals when I want to feed 365 In this context, Dracula seems to be expressing attraction to women as a means of getting to their men In the time Bram Stoker was writing, the audience would have associated gender noncomformity with gayness thus, a character who presented as gender noncomforming would typically be presented as bad Gay, bad, straight, good Yet while Stoker certainly plays with the trope of the queercoded villain, the message of Dracula is not quite so black and white Mina and Lucy each, despite often having roles in the domestic spheres, end up wielding far power within the books than male characters, and Mina especially is often coded as breaking away from gender norms of the time She is presented as the practical member of her relationship with Jonathan and the better planner, a role that would typically go towards the male partner She is explicitly described as having a man s brain as a compliment Mina is also fairly easy to read as queer herself her relationship with Jonathan is strangely sexless, she is described as staring at a very beautiful girl multiple times and I m me so I read into that, and perhaps most glaringly, her relationship with Lucy is easy to read as having romantic undertones oceans of love and millions of kisses, Lucy writes to her friend 117.I really hesitated to put this in the review, because it sounds so weird out of context, but there is also a scene where Mina is forced to drink Dracula s blood The imagery is that of corruption, with Mina s white nightdress being stained with blood Metaphorically, this suggests that Mina, above all of his victims, carries a piece of him the purest character of the novel losing her spiritual purity to the queercoded villain The audience expectation is surely that she will fight against her inner darkness read queerness in order to defeat Dracula Yet Mina s newfound strength is not entirely presented in a negative light in fact, Mina s new mind reading powers which, yeah, are very plot device y serve as the means by which Dracula is eventually defeated While Dracula is too far gone to live a happy life, perhaps characters like Mina, and for that matter Jonathan, are not.All this is to say that vampires are gay now, and also apparently Katie McGrath played Lucy once and she was and in love with Mina, and Mina was Heterosexual, and honestly that s just so completely not valid Mina Harker is sapphic and I do not accept slander NBC I am horrifiedTW villain queercoding, sexual assault, and uh everything that comes with vampires existing, basically.Blog Goodreads Twitter Instagram Youtube Managed to finish this Second time studying, but first successful read through.I enjoyed it this time around, mainly because I actually read the last quarter or so of the book, which was the most enjoyable in my opinion. 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 like bro love flowing around And 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 getting snacked on by the evil Dracula at the time.It was quite the love fest I m not buying it, 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 catsSo, 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 Be warned, 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 give him a kitten already, Doc The second half of the book was only slightly engaging to me, but at least there was a bit of urgency to it at that point Van Helsing was onto 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 mathand 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 gals lost their wholesome looks and became wanton hussies with throaty voices and pouty lips Holy shit 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. 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 vampires in Victorian London his attempts are thwarted and he and his kind are exterminated But, the novel is so much 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 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 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 , 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. You can find an alternative cover edition for this ISBN here and here.A rich selection of background and source materials is provided in three areas Contexts includes probable inspirations for Dracula in the earlier works of James Malcolm Rymer and Emily Gerard Also included are a discussion of Stoker s working notes for the novel and Dracula s Guest, the original opening chapter to Dracula Reviews and Reactions reprints five early reviews of the novel Dramatic and Film Variations focuses on theater and film adaptations of Dracula, two indications of the novel s unwavering appeal David J Skal, Gregory A Waller, and Nina Auerbach offer their varied perspectives Checklists of both dramatic and film adaptations are included.Criticism collects seven theoretical interpretations of Dracula by Phyllis A Roth, Carol A Senf, Franco Moretti, Christopher Craft, Bram Dijkstra, Stephen D Arata, and Talia Schaffer.A Chronology and a Selected Bibliography are included. 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 yearsand 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 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 Englandand 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 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 than one why we wish so badly to laugh at this book It does what it does very, very welland 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 groupand I still like it LOL 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.