Dracula Paperback – 26 Oct 2013
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About the Author
Abraham "Bram" Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912) was an Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula. During his lifetime, he was better known as personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned. Early life Stoker was born on 8 November 1847 at 15 Marino Crescent, Clontarf, on the northside of Dublin, Ireland. His parents were Abraham Stoker (1799–1876), from Dublin, and Charlotte Mathilda Blake Thornley (1818–1901), who was raised in County Sligo. Stoker was the third of seven children, the eldest of whom was Sir Thornley Stoker, 1st Bt. Abraham and Charlotte were members of the Church of Ireland Parish of Clontarf and attended the parish church with their children, who were baptised there. Stoker was bedridden with an unknown illness until he started school at the age of seven, when he made a complete recovery. Of this time, Stoker wrote, "I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years." He was educated in a private school run by the Rev. William Woods. After his recovery, he grew up without further major health issues, even excelling as an athlete (he was named University Athlete) at Trinity College, Dublin, which he attended from 1864 to 1870. He graduated with honours as a B.A. in Mathematics. He was auditor of the College Historical Society ('the Hist') and president of the University Philosophical Society, where his first paper was on "Sensationalism in Fiction and Society". Early career Stoker became interested in the theatre while a student through a friend, Dr. Maunsell. He became the theatre critic for the Dublin Evening Mail, co-owned by the author of Gothic tales Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. Theatre critics were held in low esteem, but he attracted notice by the quality of his reviews. In December 1876 he gave a favourable review of Henry Irving's Hamlet at the Theatre Royal in Dublin. Irving invited Stoker for dinner at the Shelbourne Hotel where he was staying. They became friends. Stoker also wrote stories, and in 1872 "The Crystal Cup" was published by the London Society, followed by "The Chain of Destiny" in four parts in The Shamrock. In 1876, while a civil servant in Dublin, Stoker wrote a non-fiction book (The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, published 1879), which remained a standard work.
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Top Customer Reviews
I urge anyone who hasn't read this classic to pick up a copy and read the original of all vampire novels.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The women are ridiculous. They are not human. They are as two dimensional as I've seen anywhere. They are just there to "stand for" an idyllic sweetheart. They are perfect. They have no personality at all. They are mannequins.
The men aren't particularly differentiated either, except with a broad brush. This isn't a "great author". He's more of a great storyteller.
I like the fact that the climax, the big finish, the big showdown, is handled so quickly. There's only one second of confrontation, when the Count opens his eyes and gives that nasty look. That's all he has time to do. It's not like one of those stupid movies that drag out a car chase or something. The whole book is building to the clash between good and evil, and the clash itself is over in a second. Why do I like that? Because it shatters a cliche. Adventure movies drag the climax out, and horror movies don't even give you an ending because the monster is coming back in the sequel, and probably even coming back in the movie you're watching because you think he's dead but he's not, but here in Dracula the bad guy is done, his ticket is punched, thank you very much, have a nice drive home.
I think the biggest fault in the book is that the heroes are so inept at protecting the victims, the two poor angelic girls. It's comedic how the good guys leave them alone, allowing Dracula at them. Hey, stupid, Sweet Sue is going to get bitten by the vampire, you idiot, so stop ignoring her. We can see it coming a mile away. You're supposed to be so smart, Van Helsing. I wouldn't let you babysit. You'd be watching tv while the vampire sucked all the blood right out of the baby in the other room.
Still, I gave the book 5 stars. It's a very well told story that held my interest every step of the way. Renfield is a great supporting character. I guess behind Dracula, Renfield is the most interesting character in the book. He eats flies and spiders, and he's a terrific philosopher.
If I re-read the book some day I might find myself rooting for Dracula because the good guys are kind of insipid. But how often does the bad guy win? Very rarely. The bad guy won in Chinatown, but come on, how much of a chance did Sauron really have?
I think I have to say that in this case, the 1931 movie is actually better. I like Bram's writing; it's definitely classic and makes you think (and even look up a few words here and there), but I'm not particularly fond of the ENTIRE book being told in diary form. I feel like that limits the reader. The Count has a presence in the beginning of the book, and then he fades away. We hear of some of his actions here and there, but I was really hoping he - since the book is about him - would have had more to say, at least. He's not even a 'main character' when you look at the book as a whole. Most of the time, you have NO idea what he's doing, save for a few mentions in the main character's diaries. Maybe this was Bram's plan; it just isn't what I was expecting or hoping for.
I do think that the movie could have done a better job with Van Helsing. He had such a lovingly kind demeanor in the book and seemed a bit of a grouch in the movie. I was surprised at the contrast there.
I've read other people's accounts of 'chills'...maybe I'm "desensitized", but while enjoyable, I can't say I ever got chills. I know it's considered horror, and a couple things fell into that category, but I don't know if I'd consider the entire book horror. Maybe I was just thrown off by all the diary writing. Maybe if it had been told properly, the scenes would have come across differently to me. I felt like the entire book was nothing more than a second hand account. It was just odd.