I sent Brian to Half Price Books a week or two ago to pick me up a book, “Dracula,” by Bram Stoker. I sent him to get this book because, during a bout of reading ennui, I had accidently grabbed “The Historian” from my bookshelf. This led to me picking up “Vlad the Impaler” to read along with it. At this point, I decided that I might as well go to the most famous purveyor of vampire lore in the modern world: Bram Stoker. I sent Brian to HPB instead of going myself so that only one book, instead of four or five I haven’t got the time to read, would come home.
I had a couple of preconceived notions about “Dracula.” First, I thought it would be nice and fairly short, like “Frankenstein.” After all, how much could there possibly be to say about this monster? Evidently I was forgetting the lesson of the 676 pages of “The Historian.” I also imagined that “Dracula” would be readable, and not much more. I believed that it would enrich my theme read, but not that I would enjoy it for itself.
However, I was completely incorrect in my assumptions. I’m not sure how long a traditional copy of Dracula is, because mine was an annotated edition, “The Essential Dracula,” and was some 445 pages long. Luckily, my other assumption was just as mistaken. Although Stoker started to slip a bit as the book went on, the beginning of his story is extremely consuming and I was hooked almost immediately. It was always a struggle to decide whether I’d rather pick up “The Historian” or “Dracula.” “Dracula” often won.
I found most of the annotations extremely helpful. Some of them I skipped over, such as those describing this or that street in London which Stoker had described, but others helped me understand many of Stoker’s references and meanings that I might have otherwised glossed over. Actually, even the ‘boring’ footnotes helped me gain an appreciation for just how much research Stoker did to give his story of feeling of realism, which I think is part of what makes his story so horrifying. Instead of taking place somewhere mystical-seeming out in the forest somewhere, the majority of the action takes place in real, 19th century London.
I was surprised how much I really enjoyed this book and would actually recommend it.
Buy “The Essential Dracula” on Amazon:The Essential Dracula