Dracula has been a classic that’s long been on my TBR pile. I never much got around to it, though, as I the pile is continuously growing. Thanks to my summer Topics in Literature course, I’ve finally been able to sit down and enjoy the novel, and it brings me great excitement to share my review with all of you.
For those who don’t know, and if you don’t where have you been living all this time, Dracula is the vampire novel known to man. It is, in a few words, the prototypical vampire which means, all other instances of vampires, whether it be movie, story, or tv show, were essentially built from Count Dracula, and that Dracula is the “first” vampire. I have my own views on this matter, if it were up to me, I’d say the vampires in The Vampyre by Polidori, and Carmilla by Le Fanu should be the prototypical vampires as they much more represent those we see today in novels, movies, and television, but I cannot deny, after reading Dracula, seeing the pure mastery of the text for it’s time.
If you’ve seen my Goodreads or Amazon review already, you’ll known that I only gave the novel a 3/5 star rating. This is because while I enjoyed reading the story, I’d be lying if I said it also didn’t put me to sleep quite a few times. This is because there are a lot of descriptions, and parts where it just drags on, and on, and on. Every chapter is at least half an hour long, and with 27 chapters that makes for a lengthy novel; so, if you read the text, don’t feel bad if you doze a few times here and there, you aren’t the only one trust me. Not that you shouldn’t read Dracula. In fact, I implore you to pick it up. Stoker does a magnificent job in portraying the scenes and settings for his reader to visualize.
“The Windows were curtainless, and the yellow moonlight, flooding in through the diamond panes, enabled one to see even colours, whilst it softened the wealth of dust which lay over all and disguised in some measure the ravages of time and the moth.” — Dracula, pg. 26
This is merely one instance of a fascinating description by Stoker, where he uses diction as a weapon, making way for these vivid images in the reader’s imagination. Also, I know this was a given for the time and easily written, but I love the dialogue and style of speaking. I believe I touch on this aspect in another book, but speaking style is such an important characteristic of any story. This was huge for me in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco.
“Friend John, forgive me if I pain. I showed not my feeling to others when it would wound, but only to you, my old friend, whom I can trust. If you could have looked into my very heart then when I want to laugh; if you could have done so when the laugh arrive; if you could do so now, when King Laugh have pack up his crown, and all that is to him–for he go far, far away from me, and for a long, long time–maybe you would perhaps pity me the most of all.” — Dracula, pg. 127
At first, if can be difficult to grasp the meaning behind the text, I’ll admit to having to re-read a few pieces here and there to comprehend the meaning, but when you come to understand it, you can appreciate the complexities of the language. Comparing it to today, someone probably would have written something like, “It’s because I trust you, John, that you can see me laugh at such a time, but even then, if you could see inside my heart, you’d pity me most of all.”
While we’re on style, I absolutely loved Stoker’s style of writing throughout the entire novel. He takes a stance, presenting the reader with multiple POV’s through journal entries, newspaper clippings, and telegrams, feeding us this intricate story where all the characters come to life off the page. We’re not limited to just one person; we also see this style in the classic Frankenstein, another book on my TBR pile. This gives the characters more of a voice, as each one has a unique way of writing, leaving way for their backgrounds to come to the surface while also adding a layer of suspense to the novel. The reader never knows what will come next, except that at this moment, we know the character writing the entry is safe. It leaves us with a desire to continue on, hoping that those we’re invested in are doing alright, and are in good health. I wish I saw more of this style in books today, as it can lend to a unique take on storytelling and character dynamic.
Side Note: Van Helsing’s first name is Abraham, I never knew this, but the moment it’s spoken in the book, my first thought was “Is this why people made Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter?”
I loved reading Dracula, and even more I loved having time to analyze the characters in the text for my response in class. The novel is such a topic for discussion in the Gothic novel category that it would almost appear as infinite. If people are interested, I’ll post my response to the text in a blog sometime. You can also find a copy of the book on Amazon. On that note, I believe it’s time to wrap up this post. I hope you enjoyed reading; let me know your respective thoughts on the novel if you’ve read it! Until next time.
All the best.