Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a classic piece of Gothic fiction that has been re-imagined and adapted many times over in film, books, comics, anime and computer games. It helped to make Whitby the infamous centre of gothic culture that it is today and it is often seen as one of the seminal pieces of vampire fiction. Published in 1897, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is as popular today as it was a hundred years ago.
The book tells the story of the titular character, Dracula, Count of Transylvania and his desire to purchase property in London. Jonathon Harker, the man charged with aiding Dracula in his acquisition of property, uncovers some terrifying truths at the castle, while back in England, disturbing incidents unfold; An unmanned ship crashes off the coast of Whitby, a young woman is drained of blood and an inmate at an asylum raves about the arrival of his master. As the story unfolds a determined group of men seek to find the truth and bring an end to the horror that has befallen London.
The story is told from the first person perspective of each character through their diaries, letters, journals and memoirs. There is also the odd section that details events via the means of a newspaper article. This was quite different to any other story I had read previously read so I found it quite unique and refreshing. It did, however, mean that I knew that whoever was narrating the current section would not meet their demise or else they would not be able to narrate it.
As well as the story there are several sections essays that may interest fans of the author and book. The start of the book includes a preface written by Christopher Frayling, an introduction by Maurice Hindle, a section on further reading (which covers Bram Stoker, Dracula and vampires), A Chronology of Bram Stoker’s life and a Note on the Text which explains a few minor changes made from the original. The appendix includes Bram Stoker’s correspondence with Walt Whitman, his interview with Winston Churchill, his essay on censorship and Charlotte Stoker’s account of the Cholera Horror in a letter to Bram Stoker.
I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who likes vampire fiction due to the undeniable impact it has had on the genre. But more than that, it is a great gothic tale that presents interesting ideas about life and death as well as the nature of insanity.