Wednesday, September 21, 2016

MARIAH's TAKE on Dracula by Bram Stoker (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Genre:
Gothic Fiction
Horror
Publish Date:
June 6, 2004
(Originally published 1897)
Publisher:
Barnes & Noble

Introduction and Notes by:
Brooke Allen

Synopsis:
The most famous and seductive evil in Western Literature, blood-thirsty Count Dracula has inspired countless movies, books, and plays. But, few, if any, have been fully to Bram Stoker's best-selling novel of mystery and horror, love and death, sin and redemption.

Written in the form of letters and diary entries, Dracula chronicles the vampire's journey from his Transylvania castle to the nighttime streets of London. There, he searches for the blood he needs to stay alive - the blood of strong men and beautiful women - while his enemies plot to rid the world of his frightful power.

In Dracula, Stoker created a new word for terror, a new myth to feed our nightmares, and a character who will undoubtedly outlive us all.

Overview:
Dracula, by Bram Stoker, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

♦ New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholar
♦ Biographies of the authors
♦ Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
♦ Footnotes and endnotes
♦ Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
♦ Comments by other famous authors
♦ Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
♦ Bibliographies for further reading
♦ Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate

All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influencesbiographical, historical, and literaryto enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

Count Dracula has inspired countless movies, books, and plays. But few, if any, have been fully faithful to Bram Stoker's original, best-selling novel of mystery and horror, love and death, sin and redemption. Dracula chronicles the vampire's journey from Transylvania to the nighttime streets of London. There, he searches for the blood of strong men and beautiful women while his enemies plot to rid the world of his frighful power.

Today's critics see Dracula as a virtual textbook on Victorian repression of the erotic an fear of female sexuality. In it, Stoker created a new word for terror, a new myth to fee our nightmares, and a character who will outlive us all.





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**About the Author**
Bram Stoker was born Abraham Stoker in 1847 in Dublin, Ireland. His parents were Abraham Stoker and the feminist Charlotte Mathilda Blake Thornely. Stoker was the third of seven children. In 1878, Stoker married Florence Balcombe, a celebrated beauty whose former suitor was Oscar Wilde. They had one son, Irving Noel.

Stoker is the author of one of the English language’s best-known books of mystery and horror, Dracula. Written in epistolary form, Dracula chronicles a vampire’s journey from Transylvania to the nighttime streets of London and is a virtual textbook of Victorian-era fears and anxieties. Stoker also wrote several other horror novels, including The Jewel of Seven Stars and The Lair of the White Worm.

Bram Stoker died in 1912, and was cremated and his ashes placed in a display urn at Golders Green Crematorium. After Irving Noel Stoker's death in 1961, his ashes were added to that urn. The original plan had been to keep his parent's ashes together, but after Florence Stoker's death her ashes were scattered at the Gardens of Rest.

For more about Bram Stoker
  

*About Brooke Allen*
Brooke Allen is a book critic whose work has appeared in numerous publications including The Atlantic Monthly, The New Criterion, The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, and The Hudson Review. A collection of her essays, Twentieth-Century Attitudes, was published in 2003.

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*My Thoughts*
I wonder how many of my friends go back and read non-YA books… Stab it in the heart, cut its head off, carry around a silver cross, and don’t forget a garlic wreath, the classic literature of Dracula is the backbone of modern vampires. A piece printed repeatedly over one hundred years later, it will continue to be a source of entertainment. At least, it was entertaining for me. It’s a bit slowly paced, which will put some people to sleep, in comparison to books in this day and age but it was still an adventure. Written in the form of journal entries, letters, and telegrams, I could earnestly become fond of characters in the book despite the gap in generations.

Meant to be read at night, to give the reader chills, this Gothic horror describes scenery beautifully in detail with the use of metaphors and creates a fearful mood. While reading, Dracula allowed my mind to visualize the Counts castle alone in Transylvania and an eerie mist over the horizon of the ocean.

Stoker’s characters put all of their feelings and observations into their entries. A symbol of virtue and the strength of women in the late 1800’s, Wilhelmina Harker is a sweet, dutiful housewife but she is a real heroine of her time helping in any way she can to defeat the Count. I actually found it rather annoying, like “Do you have any flaws? No? Okay.” It’s not like she would have been written as a vampire huntress in the 1890’s. Upon reading Professor Van Helsing’s account of the events leading to the Counts demise, he was portrayed as a rambler. A highly intelligent rambler, evidenced by his various titles "MD, D.Ph., D.Litt., etc, etc,"[1], he was by no means boring to those who are willing to listen.

There are various parts of Dracula where religious virtue and sexual abstinence are mentioned but I’m not here to give you an analysis of a classic, you can go to Sparknotes for that. I’m here to tell you that this story will never get old. While Stoker did not invent the vampire, it is good to know the origin of the modern vampire from recent movies such as Underworld, Van Helsing, and 30 Days of Night. I recommend Dracula for those interested in Gothic horror.

[1] Stoker, Bram. Dracula (PDF). Ch 9, LETTER, ABRAHAM VAN HELSING, MD, DPh, D. Lit, ETC, ETC, TO DR. SEWARD 2 September. p. 162.

My rating:


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