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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula is one of the few horror books to be honored by inclusion in the Norton Critical Edition series. (The others are Frankenstein, The Turn of the Screw, Heart of Darkness, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The Metamorphosis.) This 100th-anniversary edition includes not only the complete authoritative text of the novel with illuminating footnotes, but also four contextual essays, five reviews from the time of publication, five articles on dramatic and film variations, and seven selections from literary and academic criticism. Nina Auerbach of the University of Pennsylvania (author of Our Vampires, Ourselves) and horror scholar David J. Skal (author of Hollywood Gothic, The Monster Show, and Screams of Reason) are the editors of the volume. Especially fascinating are excerpts from materials that Bram Stoker consulted in his research for the book, and his working papers over the several years he was composing it. The selection of criticism includes essays on how Dracula deals with female sexuality, gender inversion, homoerotic elements, and Victorian fears of "reverse colonization" by politically turbulent Transylvania.

This was when I found out that Bram isn't the first person who wrote a novel about Vamps (written in the English language), it was actually John Polidori titled Vampyre in 1819 and he somewhat based it on Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. But dear old Bram's 1897 had the first world-wide popularity. But they do have something in common, they both introduced Vampires as evil blood thirsty, immoral, cunning and ruthless characters. Bram however brings out the Christian symbolism of the legend, the Vampires fears of the cross and communion wafers, and severe deadly allergic reactions to garlic, the blood bonding, etc. That being said, Dracula is a perfect mirror image of Satan. I'm sure everyone have seen the movie Constantine which stars Mr. Keanu, well like the devil Dracula, has the Catholic warrior named Dr. Van Helsing. The father of all Vampire slayers, for me the original vampire/human super hero of all time. The ultimate center of the story: Saving the soul of Mina Harker. I love reading this book, not only because it's classic, but because all roots from today's vamp books are based on this one, although now most Vamps get the upgrade, like immunity to holy water, crosses and such, living off sucking only on animal blood, unfairly gorgeous for a dead being, etc. What I also like about this book was the fact that Stoker did not really describe a violent scene and he definitely did not stress the erotic elements that all Vamps seems to posses. Plus the dark exotic place where the book takes you, Transylvania, Bulgaria, Munich, Budapest to name a few. This book is also written Victorian style meaning it was composed in an old-fashioned diction, so yeah it was a it hard to understand and a lot of reader did not care to venture in. I have to read it twice, but it was totally worth it. Oh and as far as movie adaptations, I went with Nosferatu the original 1922 film waaay creepy and of course the black and white color scheme helped a lot. Mark Schreck as Count Orlok was no Tom Cruise (Lestat) but he did an awesome awesome job. The difference between the movie and the book: in the move Count did not make any new Vamps but he kills his victims, causing to blame a plauge that ensued chaos.

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