Dracula

Dracula

You can find an alternative cover edition for this ISBN 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 chapt...

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Title:Dracula
Author:Bram Stoker
Rating:
ISBN:0393970124
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:488 pages

Dracula Reviews

  • S.A. Parham
    Aug 13, 2007

    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.

  • Martine
    Aug 05, 2008

    '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

    , 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

    , 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

    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

    , Mr Stoker. I mean,

    .)

    Linguistic inaccuracies aside (there are many in the book),

    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

    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

    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,

    deserves all the praise that has been heaped on it. I still think it could have been better, though. Much better.

  •  Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
    Nov 03, 2008

    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.

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    Sep 28, 2009

    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

  • Jonathan
    Sep 15, 2011

    Dracula: the very name instantly brings to mind visions of vampires, stakes, garlic and crucifixes. But when I bothered to read the novel I realised, sadly, 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

    Dracula: the very name instantly brings to mind visions of vampires, stakes, garlic and crucifixes. But when I bothered to read the novel I realised, sadly, 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 in my mind. And that is what the titular character of this novel is.

    I say novel, but I 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 more 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 first thought I had upon re-reading this were: oh I see the annotated version's notes show some awesome things! For instance I could see the contradiction in how all along the characters had spoken of how organised their notes were and then Stoker himself made errors in logic and with the dates to indicate that perhaps the narration was not so reliable. Which interestingly is how the book ends: with the narration indicating that it did not matter who believed their convoluted story.

    My second thought was that I could see all the references to other texts. Hamlet, Homer and the various poets of the time (there was some reference in an essay attached to the story that perhaps the older version of Dracula - when he has gone without blood - was based on Oscar Wilde much as how Robert Louis Stephenson based his Long John Silver on William Henley)

    My third thought was that I could see why I loved this book the first time I read it. The image of a bestial vampire like Dracula sucking the life out of victims to continue his un-dead existence is so metaphoric for the very idea of evil. Evil can be seductive, it can look appealing but ultimately it leads only to a sort of un-dead experience in which you seek to gain satisfaction and purpose through draining others of their vitality. And in this case it is an evil which can only be driven out through holy means (it is interesting that there are many allusions to the Bible in the actual figure of Dracula - is he meant to be represented as a sort of anti-Christ spirit?)

    My fourth thought is that this is an incredible classic that has to be read to be understood. The little flaws in it make it more appealing and humanised if anything and the tragic nature of its story causes its readers to be both appalled by the villain (who is unforgettable) and to feel sorrow for the victims. As mentioned above: vampires are not meant to be messianic figures (the true message of Dracula I think) but they instead represent the very opposite of holiness and virtue*. While Dracula is not the first vampire novel it is perhaps the greatest as it shows the vampire as a truly malevolent and brutal figure (not a sparkly heartthrob but a killer). As

    inevitably altered the idea of the fantasy genre so too Dracula undeniably changed the idea of the vampire.

    A later fifth thought is about religion and Dracula. I read recently in a book about fantasy how Dracula 'blasphemes' against Christianity. I disagree. I think the book reveals an aspect of what sin does to man in the aspect of the un-dead vampire. The idea that a man under a curse is doomed to suck the life out of others. Because blood is symbolic of life and ultimately life is what Dracula takes because, well, he's a selfish old devil. To be honest I don't care about the reinterpretations, the interpretations of this book. It's a solid horror story that can be read by anyone.

    *used in Dracula in its true archaic form to indicate a link to spirituality

  • Carmen
    Feb 09, 2014

    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

    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

    . :)

    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

    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

    .

    Let's talk about Mina Murray-Harker.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Or what about this gem:

    LUCY:

    An appetite like a cormorant. Welp, that's a new one.

    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?

    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.

    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.

    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.

    88%

    and

    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

    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.

    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*

    PRO-CATHOLIC

    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. ;)

    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:

    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:

    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.

    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:

    ...

    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!

  • Bookworm Sean
    Feb 21, 2015

    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

    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.

    The atmosphere of the novel is unmistakably gothic. It is impossible to talk about

    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

    . 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. I could read it again and again. That’s why I purchased this gorgeous edition of it:

    Dracula rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Catriona (LittleBookOwl)
    Apr 17, 2015

    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.

  • Sarah Actually
    May 19, 2015

    Here are some thoughts on this book.

    1. I would have been all OVER this in 1897.

    2. Van Helsing needs to be quiet.

    3. I can suspend disbelief for the vampires but not for the blood transfusions

    4. I know it was 1897 and blood types weren't discovered until 1901 (according to wikipedia) but I still cannot get past it

    5. The Texan would go outside and just randomly shoot things for fun, including things sitting on windowsills of windows in rooms where live people are hanging out, so he was clearly the

    Here are some thoughts on this book.

    1. I would have been all OVER this in 1897.

    2. Van Helsing needs to be quiet.

    3. I can suspend disbelief for the vampires but not for the blood transfusions

    4. I know it was 1897 and blood types weren't discovered until 1901 (according to wikipedia) but I still cannot get past it

    5. The Texan would go outside and just randomly shoot things for fun, including things sitting on windowsills of windows in rooms where live people are hanging out, so he was clearly the most realistic character

    6. VAN HELSING. SHUT UP.

    7. Oh cool, another chapter from Mina's POV finally - oh nope it's just Van Helsing talking to her the whole time

    8. This book is called "Dracula" but it should have been called "Dracula Lite" because he was barely in it after the hilarious first few chapters where Jonathan is complaining about his bad breath

    9. Why can Dracula control wolves?????????????? Someone explain this to me

    10. I want a book about Dracula's sister wives

    11. I'm pretty sure I can still hear Van Helsing rambling about something off in the distance

    12. The men in this book were 1000 times more dramatic and emotional than the women which was amazing

    13. For real Jonathan was crying and groaning all over the place and Mina would just look at him like "...ok."

    14. Mina is a boss

    15. THAT'S NOT HOW BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS WORK. IS SHE A UNIVERSAL RECIPIENT???? YOU DON'T KNOW!!!! OMG.

  • Ana
    Nov 02, 2015

    4.5 Bloodsucking Stars!

    I’m not a big scary book fan, but I have been known to read some spooky stuff. Two books that I found most terrifying were Peter Straub's 'Ghost Story,' which is also one of my all-time favorites, and Stephen King's 'Different Seasons.' Ok the last one isn't that scary but it's my favorite Stephen K

    4.5 Bloodsucking Stars!

    I’m not a big scary book fan, but I have been known to read some spooky stuff. Two books that I found most terrifying were Peter Straub's 'Ghost Story,' which is also one of my all-time favorites, and Stephen King's 'Different Seasons.' Ok the last one isn't that scary but it's my favorite Stephen King book and I had to mention it.

    I can now claim to have finally read Dracula! It has always shamed me that I never read it but called myself a book lover and so I decided I would finally give it a try.

    I half expected Count Dracula to sparkle in the sun. But then I remembered this isn't Twilight.

    Vampires. They're everywhere, you know. They can be found in the folklore of virtually every culture in the world. There have been countless books, movies, television series and fanfiction on vampire phenomenon, yet we just can't seem to get enough of them.

    Bram Stoker's Dracula has some of the darkest characters and plot lines I've ever read. The world he has created is at the same time unique and spell-binding.

    I dare you to find me a vampire more badass than this guy-

    He is a fascinating character full of contradictions.

    Dracula is a complete monster, yet I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. His fall is tragic and wrenching, but it draws you in and makes you want to root for him even when he’s doing horrible things.

    Gary Oldman will always and I mean ALWAYS, be my number one favorite Count Dracula. It is also my favorite Dracula movie. Simply because it's directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and Gary Oldman is fantastic.

    For those who haven't yet read it... why not??