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Dracula (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 9 Sep 2004
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"Those who cannot find their own reflection in Bram Stoker's still-living creation are surely the undead."
When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes a series of horrific discoveries about his client. Soon after wards, various bizarre incidents unfold in England: an apparently unmanned ship is wrecked off the coast of Whitby; a young woman discovers strange puncture marks on her neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the 'Master' and his imminent arrival. In "Dracula", Bram Stoker created one of the great masterpieces of the horror genre, brilliantly evoking a nightmare world of vampires and vampire hunters and also illuminating the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.See all Product description
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Ever since John Polidari expanded on the piece by Lord Byron and gave us 'The Vampyre' the reading public has been fascinated by the whole vampire idea. Bram Stoker's novel isn't the most literary tale ever written, but who really cares, as it is still great. Written as letters, journal and diary entries we are slowly allowed to see the whole story. Dracula himself we never hear from. We don't know what his ultimate plans and lusts are, which gives it a much more frightening aspect than if we did. Of course the underlying tale has more than a whiff of erotica. Dracula goes for young virginal women on the whole unless he needs a quick drink or needs to convert someone for his uses. The blood taken from the throat is obviously symbolic of a woman's hymen being broken, and Stoker was probably influenced by Sheridan le Fanu's classic short tale, Carmilla for this hint of eroticism.
Arguably Dracula is the most famous vampire tale as well as one of the best and until 'Interview With A Vampire' came along there weren't really that many vampire tales around, whereas today everyone seems to be writing one. Included in this novel are scenes of blood transfusion, which at the time was a novelty, but of course don't try this at home. There is no account taken for blood groups here, and so it is lucky that no one dies from them. If you only read one vampire tale in your life, then this has to be it.
Dracula as a character is not actually in the book a great deal, the same as any other version I have read. However, the difference with this version is that the group of characters whose diaries and journals make up the the text discover their task at hand from a starting point of blissful ignorance, making their gradual realisation even more horrific. The later edited versions don't seem to cover the same spectrum, and lose some of the impact.
Although this was a free book I paid the extra to have the audio attached to it - highly recommended!
Whether you're a fan of Dracula or have never read, or thought about reading, the book before, then I recommend this version for your kindle library. As the book is free, I also encourage you to pay the £2.39 for the audio; you won't regret it.
Well, that’s exactly the thought that made me want to post this review. I’ll start with the confession. I managed to make it to the ripe old age of 27 without having ever read Dracula. The proper novel. I have read a lot of authors in this genre, Anne Rice, Rachel Caine, Stephenie Meyer, Laurell K Hamilton, Charlaine Harris etc etc. Not to mention the countless movie’s. I would say in some ways I’m addicted to this genre yet I had never read the proper Dracula *hangs head in shame*.
So anyway, to the review. The reason I wanted to review this book is because it is actually amazing. Published in 1897, you would expect this novel to be stuffy and uptight, full of complicated language that is no longer in use, or that you cannot get your head around (*cough – we have all read classics like this, don’t deny it!). This is different, it flows so well, it’s exciting, and despite the many retellings I did wonder at one point which way the story would go.
The story is what we all know in love. The young, dashing, soon to be wed, Jonathan Harker visits Count Dracula to sort out some paperwork. However he soon works out that Castle is not all it seems and neither is the enigmatic Dracula. Soon Lucy begins sleepwalking nightly and each day feels more and more retched, can the intelligent Dr Abraham Van Helsing save her? What about poor Mina, Harkers fiancée, who also starts to suffer in a similar manner?
So there you have it, probably the same review others have made regurgitated in a prosaic manner, but hopefully it may inspire just a few individuals who are undecided to read this book and see if they agree.
The storyline remains the same, but here the tale is simplified and shortened. The book presents several colour illustrations, and these certainly does add to the narrative, as the art usefully depicts the most important aspects of the story.
For anyone interested in taking a first, tentative step towards understanding the plot of 'Dracula' then this is a useful book. It was originally published in the mid-1980's. At the time, I purchased the companion Ladybird book Frankenstein (Ladybird horror classics). It's only more recently that I acquired a copy of 'Dracula'. I recommend both.
This is a wonderful horror classic!
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