After the eerie subtlety of Henry James’s Turn of the Screw it has come as quite a shock to be confronted by the chilling, violence of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
A bit of context for this reading:
As a child nothing terrified me so much as vampires. The viewing of a 10 second snippet of Interview with the Vampire at the age of 7 was enough to keep me awake at night, and a Goosebumps book or two had me convinced that vampires were everywhere. I even became convinced on a holiday to visit extended family that our hosts were all vampires, particularly my tiny 4 year old cousin. Because if there was anything that my brief education of vampires had taught me, it was that they had no quarms feeding on the young. Even to this day, and I consider myself to be a skeptic, I still find myself hiding, unusually well for a less than petite, 6 foot oaf, under my doona and looking over my shoulder at night after reading or watching anything involving vampires.
So I may be more susceptible to this particular variety of gothic horror than others. I have tried to read Dracula several times with limited success.
In short I am a wuss so please remember that when reading this.
Back to the novel at hand:
I would describe Dracula as a brutish but inventive example of the genre. The mix of realism and horror, combined with the use of journals and letters rather than a more direct narrative approach gives the impression of the tale unravelling as you read, which is what you expect from a good story, but with Dracula the unravelling is a bit more like barbed wire than yarn cutting and catching the reader as it goes. Flawed metaphor… I totally get that, but hopefully you see where I’m going with it.
One of the revelations upon this reading of Dracula is the strength of the character of Mina for the time Bram Stoker was writing. Actually there are quite a few progressive gems to be found within the text that I only found this time around.
High point: Mina and the strength that she shows and is acknowledged for.
Low point: A few random acts of barbarism that serve no narrative purpose.
Grim moment: Renshaw replicating a sadistic food chain in his cell in the asylum
Funny moment: The old man saying that old legends, ghosts and superstitions are “nowt but air-blebs”
♤♡♢♧ morgan mushroom ♤♡♢♧