Dracula by Bram Stoker was April’s read for the book club and one that surprised many of us that were introduced literary to the Count for the first time. Most of us were aware of the Count through countless tv and film, although none of us had watched a full production or were sure that these were a true representation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Bram Stoker wrote the book in 1897, having spent 7 years researching European folklore and stories of vampires. Dracula was the first full length vampire novel that set the prescient for a whole generation of vampire inspired novels and films and even crept in to recent fantasy novels such as Game of Thrones.
The story is told in a series of letters, diary entries, newspaper articles and ships logs and although this was a different format to what we were used to, some found this annoying and wished the narrative would just get on with it! The wording was also a little dated but to be expected considering it was written in 1897. We considered that perhaps this was a little ahead of its time and how terrifying it must have been for people to read it for the first time, all those years ago (reminiscent of when the War of the Worlds was first played on the radio).
Out of all the diary entries, it was the two girls entries that became the most annoying and even more annoying was Stoker’s description of them, very antiquated! We wondered if those two girls were reminiscent of the types of girls that were in the social circles that Bram Stoker moved within (he was a theatre critic in London). However we conceded that women are still very much portrayed in the same vein in this type of genre today.
In terms of the character of Dracula, it was thought that Stoker very much played the character in the background of the story and it was the diary entries of the other individuals that were the main crux of the story.
The locations of the story also played a vital part in creating the atmosphere of the story. Transylvania was picked possibly because of the folklore that existed and that Stoker had researched. Whitby primarily as this was a holiday destination of Stokers, but one in which you could see how a writers imagination could run away with him.
Finally we considered if this was worthy of being a ‘classic’ of which a description being was a book accepted as being exemplary or noteworthy. As Dracula was the book that spawned a legion of Vampire related adaptations , I think the answer was an unquestionable yes!