Friday, December 3, 2010

Stoked About Dracula

Just finishing Dracula, the 1897 novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. The copy I’m reading is a free book on my Kindle and my reading it was inspired by a Biography channel profile of Stoker I watched around Halloween. At the time he wrote it, Stoker was a business manager for the Lyceum Theater where he was enamored with actor Henry Irving, who was contemporaneously famous and popular, and whom Stoker envisioned as playing Dracula in a theater version of the book. As it turned out, Irving didn’t think much of the story and apparently felt it wouldn’t be worthwhile to stage. The book was researched and written over an approximate seven years, while Stoker was busy staging Lyceum productions and catering to the needs of Irving, his idol. The book is written in an epistolary form—as a series of letters, diary entries, and a couple of ships' logs. The language is thick with planning deliberations for eliminating Dracula, Victorian proprietary concerns (shall I, or shall I not), and concerns about “protecting the delicate nature of Mina”—a main character in the plot who turns out to be smarter and tougher than they think. The book is a bit of a trudge to read, but is worthwhile. It is a classic.

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