>Bram Stoker – Dracula


Whenever I pick up a book in a bookstore, I have 2 routines: I first read the little synopsis at the back of the book and then I look at the table of contents.  I do this even for books I’ve researched thoroughly and fully intend to buy.  No wonder my trips to the bookstore end up being upwards to 2 hours even if I only come out with one book……. When I read the back of the book, I wasn’t all that excited.  I thought Dracula would be a book about the origins of Dracula, much like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is about the origins of Frankenstein, rather then merely a book featuring Dracula.  When I read the table of contents of Dracula, I really wasn’t excited.  The whole novel seems to be written through journal entries and letters.  The last book I read that had this format was Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights which I didn’t enjoy at all.  Personally I think it’s a very poor, confusing substitution for exposition, but I know I am in the minority here.  That was also the reason why I didn’t read Oscar Wilde’s biography.
As luck would have it, this is one book that I neither read the back of the book nor did I read the table of contents at the bookstore before buying.  Had I done so, I very possibly might not have picked it up.  But as it is, I bought the book so I might as well read it.
When writing a book through journal entries and letters as Bram Stoker did in Dracula, odd things are bound to happen.  For example in one journal entry by Dr. Seward, a protagonist of the book, is writing about the events that happened earlier in the day, an attendant suddenly comes into his room and tells him about an emergency that he must see to right away.  How do I know this?  Dr. Seward wrote about it in that very same journal entry.  If there is an emergency going on, do you really have time to write about how someone came to get you?  And then at the end write, “I must go at once…..”
Anyways, as I feared, Dracula was not about the origins of Dracula.  It briefly talked about who Dracula was before turning into a vampire, but not why or how he turned into one.  In fact it wasn’t even made clear if Dracula was the very first vampire.
I’m sure you have all watched the movie, “Van Helsing” with Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale.  I myself must have watched it over 2 dozen times.  I actually thought Van Helsing was a character made up for the movie, but it turns out he was actually a vampire hunter in Dracula (Yeah, I’m not well versed on my vampireisms).
Ok I have no idea what happened but the last 1/4 of the book or so the grammar was absolutely horrible.  Let me give you a brief snippet of the book to show what I mean,

“How know you it?” I ask
“Of course I know it……….Have not my Jonathan travel it and wrote of his travel?”

These are two people who previously spoke perfectly, so it’s not like Stoker is trying to match a particular dialect or whatever.  It’s not even a matter of mixing up past and present tense which is expected when writing in the format Stoker wrote in.  It’s simply bad grammar.  It is as if the last 1/4 of the book was left unedited.
What Dracula is good at is describing how we kill vampires, what their limitations are, etc.  Even if you are already familiar with them (as I was), it is still nice to read about them in this format.  Another thing good about this book is that it reveals what the original quotation of, “Don’t cry over spilt milk” is.  Turns out the original quotation is, “the milk that is spilt cries not out afterwards”.  Reminds me of a George Orwell essay written about grammar and writing in “modern” times.
Well there isn’t much more to say about the book.  Not really worth reading unless you are really into vampires in my opinion.  Even then, it’s not very exciting.  Wow, I do believe this is my first book where I actually recommended not reading.

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6 Responses to >Bram Stoker – Dracula

  1. StephanieD says:

    >You spent two hours in a bookstore and only came out with one book? What self-control!

  2. >Oh this particular trip I came away with a dozen which is actually the reason I didn't read the table of contents or back of the book – just ran out of time. The sad part is even after the dozen, I had to goto another store to pick up another book that the first bookstore didn't have. Definitely no self control lol.

  3. >That's really nice of you. Thank you.

  4. Jeanie says:

    >I read this book during my trip in Europe. I thought the book was quite engaging as a suspense tale once you get past the beginning (maybe that's because I was sitting in trains and have nothing else to do). If you want to read a book that explores more on the origin of Dracula, you can try The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.

  5. >I will definitely check out The Historian. Thank you.

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