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Dracula
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Dracula
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Of the many admiring reviews Bram Stoker's Dracula received when it first appeared in 1897, the most astute praise came from the author's mother, who wrote her son: "It is splendid. No book since...
Of the many admiring reviews Bram Stoker's Dracula received when it first appeared in 1897, the most astute praise came from the author's mother, who wrote her son: "It is splendid. No book since...
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  • Of the many admiring reviews Bram Stoker's Dracula received when it first appeared in 1897, the most astute praise came from the author's mother, who wrote her son: "It is splendid. No book since Mrs. Shelley's Frankenstein or indeed any other at all has come near yours in originality, or terror."
    A popular bestseller in Victorian England, Stoker's hypnotic tale of the bloodthirsty Count Dracula, whose nocturnal atrocities are symbolic of an evil ages old yet forever new, endures as the quintessential story of suspense and horror. The unbridled lusts and desires, the diabolical cravings that Stoker dramatized with such mythical force, render Dracula resonant and unsettling a century later.

Excerpts-

  • From the book Chapter I
    Jonathan Harker’s Journal
    (Kept in shorthand.)

    3 May. Bistritz.1–Left Munich at 8:35 p. m., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late. Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse which I got of it from the train and the little I could walk through the streets. I feared to go very far from the station, as we arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible. The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East; the most western of splendid bridges over the Danube,2 which is here of noble width and depth, took us among the traditions of Turkish rule.
    We left in pretty good time, and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh.3 Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale. I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem., get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called “paprika hendl,” and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians.4 I found my smattering of German very useful here; indeed, I don’t know how I should be able to get on without it.

    Having had some time at my disposal when in London, I had visited the British Museum,5 and made search among the books and maps in the library regarding Transylvania: it had struck me that some foreknowledge of the country could hardly fail to have some importance in dealing with a nobleman of that country. I find that the district he named is in the extreme east of the country, just on the borders of three states, Transylvania, Moldavia and Bukovina,6 in the midst of the Carpathian mountains; one of the wildest and least known portions of Europe. I was not able to light on any map or work giving the exact locality of the Castle Dracula, as there are no maps of this country as yet to compare with our own Ordnance Survey maps;7 but I found that Bistritz, the post town named by Count Dracula, is a fairly well-known place. I shall enter here some of my notes, as they may refresh my memory when I talk over my travels with Mina.

    In the population of Transylvania there are four distinct nationalities: Saxons in the South, and mixed with them the Wallachs, who are the descendants of the Dacians; Magyars in the West, and Szekelys8 in the East and North. I am going among the latter, who claim to be descended from Attila and the Huns. This may be so, for when the Magyars conquered the country in the eleventh century they found the Huns settled in it. I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting. (Mem., I must ask the Count all about them.)

    I did not sleep well, though my bed was comfortable enough, for I had all sorts of queer dreams. There was a dog howling all night under my window, which may have had something to do with it; or it may have been the paprika, for I had to drink up all the water in my carafe, and was still thirsty. Towards morning I slept and was wakened by the continuous knocking at my door, so I guess I must have been sleeping soundly then. I had for breakfast more paprika, and a sort of porridge of maize flour which they said was “mamaliga,” and egg-plant stuffed with forcemeat, a very excellent dish, which they call “impletata.” (Mem., get recipe for this also.) I had to hurry breakfast, for the train started a little before eight, or rather it ought to have done so, for after rushing to the station at 7:30 I had to sit in the...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 27, 2015
    This full-cast production is a masterly depiction of the Victorian gothic ethos in Stoker’s classic tale. Told through a series of letters and diary entries, the novel begins when Count Dracula lures a young English lawyer named Jonathan Harker to his castle in Transylvania under the pretense of a real estate transaction, but Harker soon discovers the count is a vampire and the diabolical intent in the real estate deal. It falls to the resourceful Professor Van Helsing, along with a handful of intrepid heroes, including Harker and his fiancée, Mina, to stop the count’s evil plans. The readers each have a distinctive voice for their characters and do a perfect job of conveying the emotional content of the assorted letters and diaries. Jamie Parker’s portrayal of Harker is particularly stirring, especially as the character slowly pieces together the horrific truth about Dracula. Alison Pettitt succeeds at providing a gamut of emotions for the voice of Mina throughout the story. Each reader hits the mark with precision. For anyone who has never read (or for anyone looking to revisit) this classic tale of gothic horror, this is a fine way to do so.

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