Bram Stokers Dracula

13 Dec

I’ve always been an avid fan of Dracula movies, ever since I was a child. I have watched many versions, from those which starred Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee to Leslie Nielson and Marc Warren. Funnily enough though, I have no interest whatsoever to watch True Blood, Vampire Diaries or the global phenomenon that is Twilight.

You might think that with this fascination, I would’ve read the novel already. But no, it’s only taken me all these years to actually read the book from cover to cover and I must say, I had mixed feelings about it. As I have watched so many film versions, I was expecting it to be a darker tale with a  lot more blood guts and gore. But instead, what I read, was a relatively camp, theatrical story. I didn’t even realise that the novel was written in journal/diary form and taken from the different perspectives of the main characters involved!

The first part was quite lightweight and I was quite impatient to read how Dracula was to be introduced. When he did appear, the first sighting at Whitby, he was almost an illusion. It was very “romantic” in a sense, and the sense of gothic-horror was foreboding. I enjoyed reading about the young Miss Lucy and the several proposals. I liked the strength of Mina Harker and how she appeared to have intuition and foresight, I empathised with her husband Jonathan who felt entrapped in Draculas castle. I wasn’t keen on the many descriptions about the man eating flies and spiders and understand why some directors would choose to edit him out in the film versions. I don’t really think it added to the plot.

What did surprise me, however, is that although Dracula and his ship is first sighted at Whitby, the majority of the drama or where he is based, is London. So that in itself was disappointing. Another thing which irked me slightly is that when Van Helsing arrived, I felt the story became somewhat disjointed and his speech was almost like riddles (or maybe that was due to the fact Bram was trying to capture the speech and mannerisms of a foreign man?)

Draculas three “Muses” alluded to some form of eroticism, glamour and  fantasy. They appeared and disappeared like exposed women in a harem. Only to be staked to death at the end…

In  effect, we only see or know Dracula exists because several of the main characters mention him in their journals. More than one witness and we know he is “real”. Dracula doesn’t really do anything more than just appear and disappear like a bad villain in a Victorian pantomine. He might as well be twirling his moustache and swishing his cloak about…It comes as no surprise that the author had a fairly theatrical background.

In comparison to todays more grahic novels, Dracula as a piece of literature is quite tame. The manner in which Van Helsin et al planned, plotted and spoke about Dracula, other characters, events and incidents  left me feeling bemused. They would have deep, meaningful conversations and the next sentence will be about what to have for breakfast!

It really was a case of light and shade in the telling of the drama. From being secretive, providing molonogues, shock, shame. love. betrayal, passion, hatred, death…Touching on themes such as Womens Rights, immigration, superstition and spirituality/religion, Dracuala the novel had it all! but I suppose when it was written, it entranced and enchanted the readers…  and since then, it has done the same, including me, and no doubt, will continue to do so for millions of readers today and for many years to come.

The Learned Kat

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4 Responses to “Bram Stokers Dracula”

  1. booksnlibraries December 20, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    So in the end you weren’t that impressed by the book?

    • thelearnedkat December 20, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

      Hi. thanks for reading my blog. I’ve only just started blogging…I enjoyed reading the book and glad that I did as it now means I can now read Frankenstein and other similar classics without relying too much on the movie versions. So, it allowed me to be more open minded about my future book choices.

      • booksnlibraries December 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

        Frankenstein is a good complement to Dracula – I read that book in high-school and couldn’t stop until I finished it:) Happy reading and blogging about what you read:)

      • thelearnedkat December 20, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

        Thank you 🙂

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