I’m reading Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” for the first time. You know what I’ll bet would suck about being a vampire? Waking up during the day and having to take a leak, but being unable to get out of your coffin.
I hope you enjoy it Tom. It is my favorite book. No sparkles there. 😉
Don’t know if you know this but a descendant of Bram Stoker, Dacre Stoker, released a book last year called The Undead. I bought it but haven’t gotten to it yet.
No, I did not know that. I’ll have to check it out. One thing that struck me about the book is the depiction of Dracula himself as kind of a repulsive creep. I’ve seen so many representations of the character as a handsome, old-world charmer that I just kind of assumed that was his characterization in the original novel.
It got me wondering. Did the characterization of Dracula as an attractive figure come about solely because of Bela Lugosi’s indelible interpretation of the role? Or is it more complicated than that?
In the introduction to his (excellent) collection “Fragile Things,” Neil Gaiman points out that the original protagonist of Robert Southey’s “The Story of the Three Bears” was an old woman. Only in subsequent re-tellings did she become a little girl named “Goldilocks.”
Gaiman speculated that members of the public simply sensed that the character needed to be a little girl, and made her one in a kind of early version of open-source storytelling. I wonder if something similar happened to Dracula. If members of the public sensed in a way that Stoker didn’t that the character was more compelling as a deadly seducer.
Hmm….I think that because the original Dracula was able to seduce Lucy and later, Mina that to them, he appeared beautiful. I think it was only in his natural surroundings and in the “old” country did Dracula allow himself to be seen as he really was. Even Harker mentions that when he spotted Dracula in town that he did not appear as he did when they had first met at his castle. I also think (and I can’t remember if this part is in the book or my own interpretation) Dracula’s looks changed according to his need for feeding too. The more I think about that, I think it was in another book I read. There are two books written (that I know of) by female authors, Syrie James and Karen Essex that recount the original Dracula story, but from Mina’s perspective! I found Syrie James’ book, Dracula, My Love to be wonderfully written and when she recounts the original Dracula story from Dracula’s perspective, she really gets you wondering if the old guy was simply misunderstood. HA! Karen Essex’s book is a bit more romantic than Syrie’s and I haven’t finished it yet.
There is also another retelling of the original story by Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian which is much like the original story. It’s brilliant and if you like the original, you will like hers as well because it’s actually a bit scary!
Anyway, as you can see, I really love a good old fashioned vampire story. I don’t think I realized until now just how many versions of the story I’ve read. LOL!
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