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'The Jewel of Seven Stars' in Penguin Classics,
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This review is from: The Jewel of Seven Stars (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)'The Jewel of Seven Stars' is an enjoyable and interesting read, but I cannot remember a text I have ever more bitterly regretted reading than the Introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of the novel by Kate Hebblethwaite of Trinity College, Dublin.
There is a printed warning to the reader that the Introduction 'discusses (the) plot in detail', so I turned to it only after reading the novel itself. What the Penguin editors omit to mention, however, is that she also discusses Stoker's 'Dracula' in a silly way and completely spoils the plot of the later novel 'The Lair of the White Worm.' Perhaps this has something to do with feminist heavyweight Julia Kristeva's concept of 'subversion' - making a damn nuisance of oneself when one is hopelessly short on ideas. Hebblethwaite's essay is, in fact, a wretched and inappropriate attempt to explore 'gender issues' in (i.e. put an artificial feminist construction on) Gothic literature in general and Stoker's work in particular.
Also included in the Penguin Classics edition of 'The Jewel of Seven Stars' are notes on the text by the same immortal Hebblethwaite. Whoever these are for, they surely cannot be aimed at the mature reader. For instance, note 2 to a reference in Chapter 1 gives a brief resumé of the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden, and note 2 to Chapter 5 explains to us what a sphinx is.
By all means read Stoker's work, but not, I advise, in Penguin Classics, and never if introduced or annotated by Kate Hebblethwaite, unless your education is pretty superficial and your interest in Gothic Romance extends to Monique Wittig and Germaine Greer.