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VINE VOICEon 11 July 2009
A mate of mine always relates a story pertaining to our childhood where when he was off playing army or cowboys and Indians , I and whoever I could persuade at the time, were off playing vampires -hiding in tree's though what that has to do with vampires is anybody's guess. Vampires have fascinated me since I first came to these shores in only kidding , since I was very small. The Hammer Dracula films left an indelible imprint on my fermenting but feverish imagination and as soon as I was able to afford it(paper-round money ) I bought Bram Stokers 1897 novel .Even my unsophisticated teenage mind knew it was dealing with a literary classic and having re-read again it recently for the first time in a long time my unsophisticated adult mind has come to the same conclusion .It a gothic masterpiece, it's a horror masterpiece fact lets just say it's a masterpiece.
The novel is told in an epistolary style , that is the novel is mainly composed of journal entries and letters written by several narrators who also serve as the novel's main characters . It seems unnecessary to go over any of the plot only to say that as well as mining European folklore and stories of vampires, Stokers novel also explores the role of women in Victorian culture, conventional and conservative sexuality, immigration, colonialism, superstition and the cutting edge (then ) of medical science and theory's .
The Victorians viewed it ostensibly as a rollicking adventure novel but it only received the attention and notoriety we take for granted nowadays when the film industry picked up on the appeal of vampires lore. And talking of lore it is oft mentioned that Stoker used Vlad III Dracula (or Vlad the Impaler ) and Countess Bathory as inspirations for the novel .
Whatever his inspiration Stoker created a distinctly memorable character in the rapacious Count but rather like Thomas Harris did with Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs made the character hunting the villain just as memorable. Van Helsing is at one and the same time a man of science familiar with the latest trends and technologies yet is also open to the existence of a supernatural being , which of course hard men of science would mock and eschew.
Even though the main character is not in the narrative as much as we would like the book has a beautifully and expertly realised air of creepy tension and is thick with atmosphere. I sat at my computer desk for a good fifteen minutes struggling to think of another novel that so adroitly conveys feelings and situations as palpable as Dracula and eventually came up with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (Wordsworth Classics): Or, the Modern Prometheus ( bit lame that I know ) and another vampire novel ,and a sadly overlooked at that Skipp And Spectors wonderful The Light at the End. I'm not a big fan but Stephen Kings Salem's Lot is pretty replete with dread heavy ambience too.
Vampire fiction has been badly served of late with lightweight vampire as bleached hotty fare like Twilight (Twilight Saga) .Yet for every work of lightweight fluff like that here is something wonderful like Let the Right One in that comes at the genre from a withering new angle.
Fair to say though that Dracula is the king of the vampire and that Bram Stokers book is still , 112 years on ,still the king of vampire novels.
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on 13 May 2012
i was very surprised by this book, held in great suspense all through the book i could hardly out it down at times. Dracula is a name everyone is familiar with and all the vampire lore we see today all stems from this book in which the Count as captivated readers imaginations ever since and continues to. from the start the reader will notice a very different writing style to any other, the whole book is all written as a series of journal entries, letters and newspaper clippings from its principle characters and this gives it an incredible feeling like as if you are actually reading their very journals as you get lost in the story. the story builds over time, along with the suspense, at times it can feel like its dragging on but your are kept in mystery much of the time and that is what pushes you to keep reading as you never know how its going to turn out. this version has a great introduction (don't read it before the book) which explains the themes of the book and how the idea for it came to the author. while the characters do lack dept that though prevents from getting drowns in minor details and allows you to concentrate on the story itself which in parts will have you totally engrossed in it. a fantastic book that should be read by all just merely for the sake of reading a book that all have heard of but few have actually read.
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on 24 November 2012
This is a wonderful edition of a classic novel, beautifully produced and presented. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this hardback book was packaged; it comes in a sturdy, red slipcase which is in turn housed in a nice, protective box. You would have to be extremely unlucky for this to be damaged in transit.

I don't really have much more to add to existing reviews, except to say that this really is a must-have edition if you are a collector or even if you just like the novel. I already have two other copies of Dracula and purchased this as an investment as it is sure to become a sought after item in years to come. I think this quality product is well worth the asking price.

Please take a look at the photos I submitted to get a better idea of what is included in this beautiful package.
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on 14 January 2011
i downloaded this ebook as an excuse to play with my new prezzie!! and because it was free, after it was downloaded i read it first out of all the downloaded books mainly to get it "out the way" how wrong was i!!! this is probally one of the best books i have ever read the whole story builds pace as you go along and the last third i could not put down anyone out there want a fun very well written brilliant story read this
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The font does not appear to be larger than usual in this book but it is printed on smooth white pages which helps it to stand out and there is a space between each paragraph. It is better than peering at minute text on the yellowish rough pages that cheaper books seem to come with so it was definitely worth paying a little more for this edition, plus the cover appealed to me more than a ghoulish alternative. It is slightly larger than an average paperback. There are so many vampire themed books about now that it is time that we read the original one! One of an interesting selection of esoteric books in the Forgotten Books collection.
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on 1 December 2014
I first read 'Dracula' when I was 17 or 18 and I remember really enjoying it. Twenty years' later I thought I'd reread it. Big mistake. Stoker conjures up some terrific individual scenes and the opening few chapters documenting Harker's time at Castle Dracula are superb. For me it starts to fall apart about halfway through when the plot begins to run out of steam. Some of the subsequent events feel like word-spinning but the biggest criticism I would make now is the two-dimensional characterisation. The men are mostly insufferable, stiff-upper-lipped Victorians, trembling with suppressed emotion or weeping with wonderment at the plucky bravery of Mina Harker. Mina herself is almost angelic in her sweet virtue and holy nature. Everyone is utterly wonderful to everyone else, and it sort of starts to grate. I also found the attempt to mimic Van Helsing's Dutch accent really very trying towards the end.

'Dracula', as an idea, is superb and, as I said, some of the scenes are iconic but rereading it with older eyes I can't but realise that the book isn't actually that well written or that well plotted. It's undeniably a cultural classic but more, perhaps, for what it started than as a work of literature in its own right. As a piece of writing, 'Frankenstein' is far superior.
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Ever since its publication Bram Stoker's Dracula has always stayed in the public imagination. Although The Beetle initially sold more copies than this book, Marsh's novel eventually fell into the black hole of forgotten books, whereas Dracula still reigned. Like the sightings of aliens that followed such B movies as The Day The Earth Stood Still and others, Dracula caused vampire scares throughout Europe into the early 20th Century. With it being filmed so many times, both for the cinema as well as the TV, and stage adaptations that are still being made this century, as well as a plethora of publishers having it in their catalogues this story is set to remain with us well into the foreseeable future, indeed until the end of time.

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.
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on 3 July 2003
Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' is probably one of the most influential (and therefore possibly one of the most important) books ever. Apart from the numerous direct imitators (from Anne Rice to 'Count Duckula') the seeds of 100 years of the horror genre are sown in this book.
The story is familiar to everyone, although perhaps not in all its details, but this doesn't in any way detract from reading the book. It is incredibly atmospheric (especially the first half, when Dracula is still a somewhat mysterious and seemingly invincible foe). The scenes in Transylvania and Whitby are genuinely spooky and although we know that the vampire Dracula is behind it all, the ignorance of the characters leads to a feeling akin to the helplessness you feel in the cinema when you just want to warn them what is coming next, but can't. This cinematic feeling runs through the book, perhaps because it has been so imitated, but also because of the slightly hammy feel of the whole thing. This is not a book with a deep underlying philosophy (such as 'Frankenstein') but a very simple David versus Goliath, good versus evil theme. The only message is that dead people who walk around killing live people are bad. It is truly the progenitor of all schlock horror.
No-one would accuse Stoker of being a great writer. The book does lose some atmosphere when Van Helsing starts to plot Dracula's downfall (i.e. as soon as the vampire becomes less than invincible) and tries clumsily to maintain it by Mina Harker's slide towards undead status and the resultant race against time. Stoker's characters are also heavily romanticised, with the men repeatedly declaring their platonic love for the 'wonderful' women (who don't do feminism a power of good) and breaking down in tears at the beauty and horror of it all. His attempts to report local dialect are awful, saved only by the fact that because the story is told in diary form, we can blame the diarists rather than Stoker himself. The diary entries also stretch credulity but sumltaneously lend a little gravitas as Stoker pretends that they are real records of the events. Finally the ending is huge anticlimax, with a protracted chase lasting nearly 100 pages finsihing up in a confrontation between Dracula and his pursuers which lasts barely 2 pages.
This is a real B-movie of a book but, like a good B-movie, it sucks you in to its style and ends up being more satisfying than a badly done A-movie. It should be read for the first 100 pages alone, and so that you discover where all those myths come from. It is deservedly imitated, and a classic because of its style, rather than content. Read this, then go and watch 'Evil Dead', or anything starring Vincent Price and you can see instantly where it all came from.
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on 22 March 2007
Dracula is without doubt the prime vampire novel. Bram Stoker writes with tension and passion, forfeiting overly gruesome images for restless tension. This novel is a must for lovers of 'horror', but equally can be read as a historic representation of late 19th Century culture. A literary classic.
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VINE VOICEon 24 August 2009
Surprisingly "Denn die Toten reiten schnell" or "For the dead travel fast" is more than an opening line to this tale of love in the dangerous moon light. After watching several Drac movies and a few Nosferatu's, I pretty much though I had a handle on the genera. Little did I know what a wonderful world of mystery and suspense that Bram Stoker opened up for me.

The story is told mostly third party though the papers, diaries, and phonograph recordings (on wax calendars) of those people involve in a tale so bizarre that it almost defies belief. The general story line is that of a Count that plans to move to a more urban setting (from Borgo Pass to London) where there is a richer diet. There he finds succulent women; something he can sing his teeth in. Unfortunately for him a gang of ruffians (including a real-estate agent, asylum director, Texas cowboy and an Old Dutch abnormal psychologist) is out to detour his nocturnal munching. They think they have Drac on the run but with a wing and a prayer he is always one step ahead.

Of more value to the reader is the rich prose chosen by Stoker as he describes the morals and technology of the time. We have to come to grips with or decide if we can perform the rituals that are required to eliminate vampires verses the impropriety of opening graves and staking loved ones. The powers in the book differ from the movie versions in that they are more of persuasion and capabilities to manipulate the local weather. At one point the Dutch Dr. Van Helsing, is so overwhelmed by a beautiful vampire laying in the grave that he almost for gets why he is there and may become vamp chow.

All in all the story is more in the cunning chase. And the question as to will they succeed or will Dracula triumph. Remember "For the dead travel fast."
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