Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Bram Stoker (1847-1912)

Bram Stoker (1847-1912) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve read this novel several times over the years and have seen several movies based on the book.  The one I liked most was Francis Ford Coppola’s version of 1992 even though it had Winona Ryder in it – she did a good job on it.  But I particularly liked Gary Oldman as Dracula.  I felt he captured both the attractiveness and the horror of the character.  Even Keanu Reeves managed to do a good job of the innocent Jonathan Harker.

Now of course I’m reading it with a different purpose and am well into it.  Doing some background reading on Bram (Abraham) Stoker I find he excelled at mathematics as did Charles Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll and he also had an interest in European myths which he studied – this in common with the Grimm Bros.

He was a friend to Sheridan La Fanu, writer of Gothic horror tales.  Not surprising then that he wrote Dracula.  I suspect this is something Professor Eric S Rabin who is running the course I’m doing, has no doubt planned.  After all, next week we have to read Frankenstein.

So what is there about Dracula that is interesting?  Maybe the mythical relationship with Vlad the Impaler? Or the way women are characterised (Mina is a lot stronger that Jonathan suspects)?  Or the way eastern European myths about vampires and werewolves are wrapped into the story?  Of course, there are always sexual aspects if one wants to go there.

I will have to keep reading.  So far I am rather taken with Count Dracula.  The man is centuries old, lives in an old broken down castle yet still is able to provide Jonathan Harker with wonderful meals, a warm bedroom and a delightful library to peruse.  He makes beds and clears tables.  Odd for a Count, a man who fought the Turks. Quite a capable and sensitive guy really. Also, I’ve never been enamoured of Harker, a young man, a solicitor and an innocent.  He doesn’t seem to ask enough questions of the people he meets in his travels when they obviously warn him of danger.  Maybe I shouldn’t look at this novel with 21st century eyes but there are times I just want to shake him and say ‘wake up dummy!’

Oh well, onward and onward and maybe something interesting will come up to write about by next week Tuesday.

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5 comments

  1. Kris · August 6, 2012

    This sounds like a fascinating course. I’m really enjoying you updates and insights into some of these classic works. Looking forward to catching up before too much longer & talking about some of these books.
    Kris

    • Cat Sheely · August 6, 2012

      I know this is stuff you did throughout your uni degree but it’s the first time I’ve attempted it. Trying to get a thesis, argument and outcome between 280 and 320 words is quite hard and really testing my abilities. Luckily I like drabbles LOL.

      Cat

  2. Phill Berrie · August 6, 2012

    Hi Cat,

    Dracula is one of my favourite books. I love the way it can be so thrilling even when it is written in the past tense, journalistic style (Is that the right term?) so that you know the person writing the scene has survived the event.

    I also agree with your observations on Jonathan Harker. Mina is far to good for him, in my opinion ;-).

    Have you read any of the recent adaptations (Fred Saberhagan’s are my favourite) where they explore the possibility that the relationship between Dracula and Mina are greater than that of a predator and its prey?

    Enjoy.

    Phill Berrie.

    • Cat Sheely · August 6, 2012

      Hi Phill, No I haven’t read that adaptation but it sounds an interesting premise. I will go and look it up. Thanks 🙂

      Cat

      • Phill Berrie · August 6, 2012

        The one I like the best is ‘The Dracula Tapes’ by Fred Saberhagen. It is a re-telling of the story of Dracula from the Count’s point of view. Saberhagen finds the holes in the original book and makes a love story of it. An excellent read.

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