Publisher and Publication Date: Norton Critical Edition. W. W. Norton & Company Ltd. 1997. First published in 1897.
Genre: Fiction. Horror.
Audience: Readers of horror and vampires.
Rating: Very good.
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The Norton edition is based on the original text.
The story itself starts on page 9 and ends on page 327.
The book begins with 17 pages of content material and preface. Starting on page 331 through page 488 is historical background, critical reviews, adaptions to film, theories about the story, a chronology timeline for Stoker, and a bibliography.
The story is told in letters and journal entries by several characters.
A young man from England, Jonathan Harker, is the first person who tells their story. He became a guest of Dracula at his castle on the border of Transylvania and 2 other states. The castle is located in the Carpathian mountains.
When Jonathan reaches the town of Bistritz he stays in the Golden Krone Hotel. The landlord and wife plead with Jonathan not to go on this journey to see Dracula. Jonathan thinks their behavior is “ridiculous.”
The first several pages of the story read like a travel log. However, Jonathan is at the castle a short time when he is troubled about this strange place and Dracula.
This is the 2nd or 3rd time I’ve read Dracula. In the past, I’d been impacted by the films telling the story of Dracula. I was enticed to view Dracula as a character who was partly human; albeit taken over by a horrible curse. I viewed Dracula in an almost romantic-soiled-cursed-to be pitied creature. This time I do not have the same views. I see Dracula as a predator and murderer. There is nothing charming or romantic about him. There is nothing to be pitied. He is calculating, manipulating, a seducer, tempter, groomer of the innocent, and a stalker. He is the description of a sexual predator/abuser and murderer.
I take issue with critical reviews stating Dracula was written secretly about repressed sexual appetites, because I don’t read minds and I don’t know what Stoker was thinking when he wrote Dracula. It is fun for some people to wonder and write critical articles explaining why an author wrote a certain story-I can understand their role. The articles in the Norton edition are interesting to read what might have been the reasons for Stoker writing this story.
The women in the story are described as innocent and desirable, or fearful and desirable. Mina is the female character who shows intelligence, responsibility, courage, and loyalty. She is a character who demonstrates heroism. She is a person who is admired by the other characters.
I’m not a fan of stories in the form of letters and journal entries. It makes it difficult to become apart of the story. Dracula is different. I believe the breakup (the word I’m using to describe the entries) helps give the story an anticipation of the horror taking place. It creates an atmosphere of mystery. It creates a disunity and discord. And, some of us really like organized thought and proper behavior!
Is the story scary? Yes and no. It is disturbing. It is strange. It is shocking and grisly.
Some examples of themes in the story: marriage, courage, death, bravery, perseverance, and abuse.
Dracula is a story with both internal and external conflicts. The external conflict is Dracula, the vampire who is a predator looking for victims. The internal conflicts are not as easy to spot. Some examples of internal conflicts: moral dilemma, view a person or creature in reality (the reality of who they are), and to take the “life” of a horrible creature.