Friday, October 15, 2010


Just finished reading Dracula the other day. Absolutely loved it. Why?

1) It's a great story. Yeah, it might not have the pace of a modern novel, and the fear factor might not be up to current standards, but it is still one hell of a story.

2) I loved getting a taste of Victorian culture. I am a history (and economics) teacher and was fascinated by the insights into the technology, language, and thought depicted in the novel. One of my favorite examples were the blood transfusions given to Lucy by Dr Van Helsing. Lucy receives three direct blood transfusions from three different men, and blood typing receives nary a mention. Van Helsing also comments on the potent nature of "male" blood and the positive effect it will have on the weakened Lucy.

3) I feel like I filled on of the many missing gaps in my "must read" list. Dracula is a book I think every fantasy, horror, or thriller fan has to read at some point. It was also the first epistolary novel (it consists entirely of journal entries, letters, telegrams, and newspaper clippings) I have  ever read. I had no idea the novel took this form when I picked it up. A cool reading experience.

So what didn't I like? I only have one major complaint about the novel, and that has to do with the (human) characters. With the exception of the insane Renfield, the main characters ridiculously, boringly good. The five male protagonists were uniformly intelligent, brave, and morally upright. The women, Lucy and Mina, were kind, helpful, and supportive, at least until Lucy turned into a vampire. Mina was the perfect, supportive wife, studying stenography and memorizing train schedules to aid her husband in his law career. Adding a few character flaws would have made the story a lot more interesting and could have potentially added a lot of tension to the story.

Overall, I highly recommend Dracula. Read it!

Bonus question: How does Dracula die? Don't cheat and look it up, just tell me how you think Dracula dies.


  1. It's been so long since I read it, I don't even remember. But you make me want to read it again. It's one of the few classics I really enjoyed (also one of the few I read outside of school--coincidence?).

    While the fear factor might not have been as intense as current horror novels (don't know, don't read many), there were definitely a few scenes where I was terrified. Of course I was 12 at the time ;-)

  2. Motivated by the pleasant experience of reading Dracula, I've now started Frankenstein. Slooow start, but I'll stick with it. I've been told it is a better novel than Dracula. We'll see.

  3. I can't remember how he died either. Weird. Let me take guess in that they burn his coffin . .

    I didn't know the story was written in journal form either when I picked it up. That style was a little uncomfortable at first, but I did manage to get into the overall story.

    Reading that was so long ago, I hardly remember the exact story; just the feelings I took away. The sublety of horror was chilling. Bram took ordinary superstitions of the time and worked it around an intense, emotional fear.

    The character development lacks by todays standards, true, but for its time zone, I think the personalities were probably ideal.

    I liked your review. And the reminder of how genre's change over time. I'm with the others, I think I'll put this one back on my TBR list.


  4. Q: How did Dracula die?

    A: He didn't.